When clients ask me: “What do we do when we want to go out during our baby’s sleep time?” I ask them: “Did you not know your life ends when you have children?” Of course, this is a joke! But, as with all things “baby”, I really believe it is very important to have a good balance. We continuously ask ourselves whether our children must simply adapt to our lifestyles, or whether we should completely adjust our schedules to fit into our children’s routines and lives.
I am a firm believer that you should adapt to your baby as much as they should adapt to you. It is important (and equally challenging) to find the balance between this give-and-take relationship. An example of this balanced relationship would be to concede that it is NOT ideal for a baby to be exposed to the noise, germs and stimulation of a shopping mall in the first two weeks of life. However, is it equally ill-fitting for an extroverted mother who might be struggling with baby blues to be locked up in her house 24/7 in the first two weeks of her baby’s life. So, where do you find balance?
With the Good Night process, we encourage our clients to attempt to maintain relatively open diaries for the first two weeks of implementing the program and making changes to their children’s sleep routines. Ideally you want your child in the same sleep space and you want them to be able to sleep without interruption. However, here after, please do “have a life”. But expect that you must also respect your child’s naptime and sleep time, or bear the consequences thereof.
Here are a few tips for “going out”:
• If you are visiting friends and family, follow the exact same bedtime routine as you would at home, keep the rules consistent and the bedtime the same and allow your child to just sleep in a camping cot.
• If bathing your baby at your friends/family’s house is out of the question, complete your bedtime routine at home, and allow your baby to fall asleep in the car seat. Then take him/her out and place them in bed over once you arrive at the host’s home.
• When travelling far distances, try to schedule your trip during the time that your child needs to sleep.
• If you are travelling short distances, it is best if your child DOES NOT fall asleep for the 10 minute drive. Rather keep your child awake until you reach your destination where he/she can sleep uninterruptedly.
• In a shopping mall, lower your child’s pram in a sleeping position and limit the exposure to the light or surroundings with a blanket or pram-cover that will allow your baby to fall asleep in the pram.
The wonderful thing about getting your child in a healthy sleep routine, is that outings will be easier, as their circadian rhythms (their awake sleep cycles) will be in place and they will fall asleep much more easily in unfamiliar surroundings.
To some wonderful outings! 🙂
Petro Thamm and the Good Night team