The holidays are always a busy time for families across the country … even more so for those with babies. From family gatherings to holiday parties, it can be quite a challenge to enjoy the upbeat “spirit of the season” and still maintain a consistent sleep schedule. In hopes of keeping your young one snoozing soundly, you should consider these five healthy sleep habits:
Establish a Healthy Sleep Zone. Much like adults, babies can benefit from an environment that promotes quality rest. If possible, set the thermostat between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit – as they sleep more soundly in cooler temperatures. A high-quality crib protector is also a great way to regulate temperature and safeguard your baby against potentially harmful allergens. In addition, using a white noise machine or other sound makers will also help sooth your bundle of joy and prevent them from waking up to an occasional noise. But be careful that the volume is not set too high.
Don’t overschedule yourself. With many of your family members, understandably, being excited to see your baby, it is easy to pack your holiday schedule with too many events. Give yourself permission to politely decline certain get-togethers if it’s going to interfere with your baby sleep schedule. Without carefully planning out your schedule, you could end up with an overtired infant on your hands.
Consistency is king. A regular sleep routine is critical for your baby’s sleep quality. Especially if you are staying with out-of-town family, ensuring that their bedroom feels, looks and sounds the same as their “healthy sleep zone” at home will help them drift off more easily. Additionally, maintain the same nap and bedtimes if at all possible.
Manage expectations. As you visit with friends and family, make sure they know what your baby’s eating and sleeping habits are – and courteously ask that they respect them. It’s much easier going into a holiday celebration when the hosts understand when to plan meals and other activities. And remember, all that extra attention and stimulation can be very tiring for the baby – so be sure that they have an opportunity to rest at normal intervals.
Plan your travel schedule around the baby. If you are heading into a different time zone (especially going from Pacific Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time), it may be helpful to gradually adjust your baby’s bedtime in the week leading up to travel. Once you have made it to your destination, ensure that you stay on schedule with naps and bedtime. Remember, a routine is key.
We hope you and your bundle of joy have a tremendous holiday season – filled with plenty of great sleep!