Some things are inevitable with babies: dirty nappies; delight at the first chuckles, smiles and laughs; and your newborn waking up just as you send a text saying she is sleeping like an angel (am I alone here? Do they have a sixth sense?!).
The other thing that is inevitable is change. It’s hard enough keep up with all the natural changes that happen with little people – growth spurts, adjusting to new nap schedules, teething, toilet training – let alone the external factors. Moving house, new siblings or pets joining the family (or both – hey to all the Covid mamas!), new jobs, friends or family coming to stay, holidays. Your little one might be too young to truly understand or articulate the changes but there is no doubt that even young babies notice, respond to and are affected by change.
So, like good cub scouts, we like to be prepared to help little ones sleep as well as possible through these time of change – and take the load off mamas.
Stick to the basics – but be kind to you too!
While it is great to stick to your routine as much as you can during times of change, it’s also essential that you take the pressure off yourself. Change will often bring disruption for a few days/nights (or longer) – and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean things won’t get back into a beautiful rhythm after everyone has settled. Try to stick to the basics – watch for their tired signs, keep track of awake windows – to help you through. Our Sleep Programsexplain more about the pillars of great sleep and sleep essentials.
Every 2nd day
One of our most important rules at Sleep School is the ‘Every 2nd day’ rule. We all have lives, and other responsibilities – and interests – outside of your baby. So, it’s totally expected and understandable that not every day will be following the same ideal routine of naps. If you have an ‘off’ day, especially when away on holidays, or going through a major change like moving house, don’t fret, a day of pram naps is OK, so is a shorter nap because you wanted to watch the sunset with a gelati with an older sibling. Tomorrow is a brand new day, and you can get back on track. (Read more here.)
Going on holiday?
How annoying is it when someone says ‘Enjoy your last holiday’ as you escape for a baby-moon?! It doesn’t have to be true – travelling with kids can be such fun: a chance to make memories, explore other cultures and refill your own cup. With some preparation and acceptance that holidays might look a little different to before children (perhaps more 6pm dinners out than you used to), it can also be smooth sailing!
We recommend getting super organised ahead of time – pack a favourite sleeping bag, comforter, dummy, night light, black out blinds, white noise machine – whatever it is that you know works for your little one at home, pop it in your luggage. You might spend a little more on checked in luggage (or more time cramming it into the boot!) but when you sit down for a G&T on the balcony to the sweet sounds of silence, it will be worth it.
Moving house? Moving baby to a new room or bed?
We recommend, if possible, letting little ones have one of their naps in the new room, or new house, before the nighttime sleep. This allows them to adjust to the new environment, so it isn’t a shock at night. Make sure you have their favourite and familiar sleep asspociations on hand (if you’re moving house – take it in the car in a clearly marked bag so it doesn’t get lost in the move…).
Try, as much as possible, to stick to their usual sleep routine once you’ve moved – perhaps with some extra encouragement. And if it takes a while for them to adapt – that’s totally OK and normal.
Little humans are like us – they respond to change, and sometimes they don’t like it. But, they’re also incredibly resilient and adaptable, so with a little help they can stay on track with sleep during times of change.