Like many of you, my holiday season isn't feeling too festive yet. I am working, parenting, working and parenting, and I am not really sure how I am going to get my holiday game on. So to kick off the holiday spirit, I am going to offer a few little sleep nuggets to help you and your family this holiday season.
1. If you want your son or daughter to sleep through the night, then you need to help them learn at bedtime ... not at 1 in the morning (for the first time). No one likes that kind of surprise, especially a baby or a toddler.
2. You don't need to cry it out, but you do need to be consistent and confident. Whatever approach you try, do it consistently for at least 3 nights - and start at bedtime!
3. Naps and nighttime are apples and oranges - work on bedtime first and hold your baby and get cozy for naps. Let them sleep during the day so they will be ready and feeling less frazzled at bedtime. You also will feel better if you didn't listen to a crying baby all day.
4. Don't let your mother, sister, brother-in-law, babysitter (or your best friend) tell you what to do about sleep - do what feels right for you and your sleeper.
5. Travel with reminders of home for your sleeper - bring the white noise, the sheet (if you can), the lovey, and so on. Offer naps on the go and offer your sleeper a little more support if she needs it. This isn't a regression; this is a vacation (HA!*)
6. If you have a very strong feed to sleep association that you need to change, then use your partner or a beloved family member or babysitter, and let them teach your baby a new way to go to sleep. It will take about 3 nights, and you will be amazed by your sleeper's new skills.
7. Finally, give yourself a break, accept and love the 'mess'. My uncle Dini calls it, 'x-mess'. The New Year is right around the corner, and who doesn't love a good resolution?
*travel with children is a trip, not a vacation, to clarify