Christmas is so exciting, particularly if you have just had a new baby, or is it? We spoke to our resident baby sleep expert, Hannah Love of Yummy Baby Group, to provide some super handy tips to help you and baby enjoy the festive season.
Surviving Christmas with a baby can be really challenging. Travelling, sharing a house with family, housing visitors, fitting every aunt and cousin into your schedule can be daunting at the best of times, and with a small baby it can seem impossible. Fear not though, our resident baby sleep expert, Hannah Love is here with some super handy tips to help you and baby enjoy the festive season.
It's ok to say no, just because great aunt Elsie wants to see the new baby on Christmas day doesn’t mean you need to say yes. If you want a simple Christmas, then say no to people. Arrange to see friends and other relatives outside of Christmas, say you’ll visit in the new year. If there is one time you are allowed to be a little selfish, it’s when you have a new baby! You must put you first.
If you really feel you must see close relatives or friends then maybe invite them to pop in for breakfast, or a mince pie late morning. That way they can see baby and you but you don’t need to be overwhelmed all day. You could even suggest a Christmas eve visit- to help baby put out the food for Santa, compromise is the key.
If, however you are excited to share your new baby then go for it! This is such a magical time of the year and throwing a baby into the mix can be an amazing addition, here's how to navigate travelling with your baby:
- Plan journeys around nap/ sleep times. If you have a long journey leaving early morning can help, or travel over a lunch time nap. That way baby can sleep in the car and arrive rested. If you are staying for the day only then travel back after bedtime. Take anything you need for bedtime and do the routine there and then set off in the car. Baby can sleep on the way home.
- Take advantage of helpful relatives. This is your chance for a break! have a glass of champagne without wrestling a baby :-) I know it’s often hard to relinquish that control but absolutely try to.
- Be realistic, as a ‘doer’ I know the temptation to offer to do as much as you usually do. My first Christmas with Oliver I offered to do far too much, take a break- you have the perfect excuse to turn up with nothing but baby cuddles to offer!
- Be realistic, know that timings may well be out, baby will be more stimulated, they might have less sleep and they might be grumpy at times. this is normal when having a baby, people understand.
- Remember your baby’s whinges and cries never seem as bad to anyone else- you are in tune to them. I’m sure you’ve been there with friends when they leave the room with their baby, and you hadn’t even really noticed they are crying? This is why- always seems so much worse to you!
- Have a break from routines and app’s, with so much stimulation, cuddles with relatives, travel, and new things to experience any baby’s routine will be off. Try and not let that ruin your day. This is one day in a whole year, try and go with it a little, no routine is going to be ruined in one day.
- If you are staying over then be prepared, a comfortable travel cot mattress is an absolute must. With older toddlers, Bloomsbury Mills toddler Nap Mat is amazing and includes a pillow, mat, and blanket.
- Be prepared. Although snow/ extreme weather isn’t common it does happen around Christmas time. Ensure you have essentials- especially on a long journey- extra bottles, extra tin of milk, bottle of spring water (babies can’t have mineral water), extra pouches and snacks and a couple of warm blankets.
- Relax! enjoy your baby’s first Christmas! Anything can be addressed tomorrow. Enjoy your day and let baby enjoy those cuddles and new faces.
The key to any baby being less disrupted by new surroundings is their ability to go to sleep on their own, in their cot, by themselves. Why is this such a key skill? Once your baby has mastered this then sleeping will come naturally to them. They will be able to sleep when tired, anywhere. Then you can relax. If you find your baby is fighting sleep on a regular basis, you’re needing to rock, bounce, feed or co sleep and this isn’t manageable for you then ask for help. This can be changed!
Once your baby or toddler is ‘self settling’ to sleep then the fighting, rocking, bouncing and trying to force them to nap stops. This can be achieved without ever leaving them to cry.
For more information on how to help your baby sleep well all the time, not just at Christmas, you can join Hannah's free Facebook community here