Coping with a baby during the holidays


With Christmas just a few weeks away, I'm sure you have so much going on. Even in the middle of a pandemic, it seems there is always so much to do during the holiday season.

If you have a new or young baby, the holidays can be just as disruptive as they are joyful. This year, perhaps even more so. But maybe you can use the restrictions the pandemic enforces wherever you are to also give yourself a bit of a break and focus on those in your bubble.

Here are my tips for managing the holidays with a baby:

1. It's okay for you to say "no" in pursuit of maintaining your sleep schedule. You might decide to say "no" to a late night or to interrupting your baby's nap in order to arrive somewhere at a certain time, or to waking baby to say hello to relatives. If you need to say "no"—you should. Your loved ones will understand. ⁠

2. You might be inclined to let your baby nap longer during the day to make up for his tiredness caused by all the excitement. Try not to do this; your baby has an overall sleep requirement, rather than separate day and night sleep requirements. To solve the over-stimulation problem, try to maintain your baby's routine and ask friends and family members to help you by planning gatherings that work in with your routine.

3. You might be feeling nervous to interact with a lot of people given the circumstances this year. Although people might make you feel bad for it, do what's right for you and your baby. If you choose not to go to an extended family event, explain to everyone that you're doing what you feel is safest. Then you get to enjoy a laid back version of the holidays with just your closest family members. You'll probably find the break enjoyable. 

4. If you're planning on traveling across time zones this year, your baby may experience jet lag. If you're traveling for only a short while, keep your baby on her normal time zone. It might mean your hours are a bit annoying, but it will be far less disruptive to her sleep routine in the long run. If you're traveling longer, gradually move her routine by one hour a day over time before you arrive at your destination, and do the same in reverse before you return. 

5. No matter where you're celebrating, pack a baby sleep kit with the hopes of baby sticking to her normal schedule. Take dark curtains or sheets to block out light in the temporary room, take baby's pacifier or other familiar things, download a white noise app on your phone and, if you can, get a red LED light.⁠

However you spend the holidays, I hope they're happy and safe!

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