It can be a challenge to manage your little ones sleep and Christmas, whether you are travelling to meet family and friends or staying at home.
You have found you've just got into the swing of things at home, and now we're about to uproot everything... or your little one doesn't sleep at all, not during the day or at night and now you have to manage this with eyes watching over in an unfamiliar environment where you can't stay in pj's all day.
We've all been there, including myself. I seriously considered cancelling a family trip as I was so anxious about how it would go and the judgement about being a 'good parent' would be.
It doesn't have to be like that. There are lots of things you can do to take some of the stresses out of it, and to get back on track with sleep, it won't all be lost.
If you are thinking about making changes to your little ones sleep around Christmas time, I'd recommend holding off until you are back.
If you have already started to make changes, or simply can't put it off anymore, don't worry. It's often the case that sleep can be worse in unfamiliar environments, however having a sense of normality will really help, from taking a familiar book to singing the same song as you do at home.
Travelling by car
If you are travelling by car, the best way to still accommodate nap time is to plan to travel as nap time is approaching.
A car nap is still valuable sleep time
Scheduling a small stop for when your little one is due to wake is a great way to have a stretch and feed.
Travelling by air
There isn't a 'magic answer' when travelling by plane. It often goes one way or another.
It's one of the only times it is often best to get them to sleep by any means and not to let their sleep schedule worry you or make you anxious about other passengers surrounding you trying to force a sleep.
Snacks, screens... to keep them calm.
Arriving to your destination having survived the journey, take a moment to congratulate yourself. For more on how to travel with a baby, check out my blog.
Family and Friends
This is the hardest part.
You've arrived! All your friends and relatives want your little one awake to coo over, play with, cuddle.
And it's very hard to say, "I now need to put baby to sleep."
Don't feel guilty if you are being called "boring Mummy!"
Explaining firmly to anyone who is commenting on your little ones sleep, or asking if they should pop in to check on them that your little one needs their sleep and there is no chance you are going in and potentially waking them, that's what the monitor is for.
Being away from home or having more visitors than usual is very stimulating and having naps and quiet time is still essential.
Ask visitors to come round during your little ones awake times rather than missing a nap and landing up with a very overtired little on on your hand, meaning other naps and bedtime are much harder.
The last thing you want is to be on your way home thinking, "All I've been doing is trying to console a very tired and crying baby."
So you've just worked on transitioning your little one to their own room and now you are all sharing the room once more.
"How bad can a couple of nights be back co-sleeping in the same bed?"
Little ones can make a real association from sleeping in Mum's bed, even if one night so you want to make sure you keep things as normal as possible.
Staying the night in the same room
With room sharing, you want to make 2 spaces. Nothing too fancy, after all you're only staying a few nights, but more something like a partition or hanging blanket or muslin at a safe distance from the cot that it can't be grabbed.
Snoozeshade have an excellent travel cot shade which does just this, check out with my 10% affiliated discount, BETH10.
You may feel embarrassed that your little one just won't settle and revert back to anything and everything that used to work.
If you do, the reality is its likely they will need this repeating every time they wake naturally and could find yourself having to rock, pat, feed or replace the dummy every 1 to 2 hours during the night.
This will be a lot more disturbing for everyone than a bit of fussing and potentially some crying whilst you are supporting them to sleep at bedtime.
It's true, there are a lot of eyes watching and even commenting on your little one, and you.
It can be really overwhelming to process those thoughts, however remember what is important in those times.
You, your baby, theirs and yours health and sleep wellbeing.
Feel you need 1:1 help?
If you are in need of more nap tips, download my free guide to naps in the first year of baby, and if you are struggling and you'd like 1:1 support or to talk about my services, don't be afraid to ask.
Book a free 15 minute Discovery Call and let's see how we can work together.