As parents, we cherish the Holiday Season and look forward to sharing these moments with our children and families all year. It is a magical time because although it may be cold and blustery out there, inside, our homes and our hearts are warm with love for each other and the power of togetherness. Most of us will host our friends and family or travel to see our friends and family who may be farther than we’d like. It is such a special time of the year; we want everything to be just right! We want to look and feel our best, we want our homes to look and feel their best, we want our children to feel and behave their best, and we want to be the best host or guest we can be. No one wants to be tired and grouchy and miss out on all the magic!
With the Holidays approaching, we, at The Baby Sleep Site®, tend to get more and more parents desperate to get their babies sleeping well by Christmas. Most of these tired parents are at the end of their ropes and I remember what it was like to feel that way. But, there is one story that has stayed with me through the years. Knowing how especially tough special occasions can be when you are tired and struggling, I thought I would share Laura’s story today.
When I first met Laura over the phone, she was a dedicated mom with adaptable 3-year-old twins and a spunky ten-month-old. The twins had been mostly easy sleepers from start. So, when Zoe came along, Laura was caught off-guard completely. With the holiday rapidly approaching, Laura desperately reached out to us, because after 9 months of grueling sleep deprivation, she needed her sanity back!
After a tough year, the low point was Thanksgiving dinner. Laura told me that because of Zoe’s sleep issues, she canceled her anniversary dinner and missed half the twins’ birthday party because she was too tired to function and Zoe would still not nap. She was feeling overwhelmed and helpless even though she had researched every sleep book out there, and tried many strategies, but she could not get her daughter’s sleep under control. That is why Thanksgiving dinner was already an occasion she was dreading.
As everyone laughed and enjoyed their delicious meal, Laura nervously clutched the baby monitor. I could hear her voice breaking as she described how she heard Zoe’s repeated cries and having to leave her guests and family in order to soothe and rock her back to sleep. Laura was exhausted; she had only three bites of dinner and hadn’t finished one conversation. She hoped no one would see the tears welling in her eyes. She knew things could not continue this way and resolved to ask for help. Laura was determined she would not miss out on one more magical moment.
Two days later, Laura reached out to us and within a few weeks Zoe’s sleep was finally on track. Just in time for Christmas! She loved sharing every holiday moment with Zoe and the twins, especially when the twins opened their present from Santa. Things weren’t perfect just yet, but Christmas was everything she hoped it would be.
Don’t be a Grinch and let sleep problems ruin your family’s holidays. Here are some tips to help make your holidays magical too.
- Simplify your routines: We love our bedtime routines with massage and bath and stories and song, but the holidays can be hectic and you may be traveling or have a house full of guests. So, have an abbreviated version of your bed or nap routine that your baby or toddler will recognize, but still get the job done in half the time 🙂
- Keep the morning nap consistent: Missed naps may happen, so you’ll want to be prepared. If you have to miss a nap, it’s best to sacrifice the afternoon, rather than the morning nap, and opt for an earlier bedtime.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself! For the majority of us, yours truly most definitely included, things rarely turn out completely perfect and that’s okay! As much as we want to be super-parents, it is important to know that it is okay not to be. Remember that all of us are under stress trying to get everything ready, too. Try not to compare yourself to other parents and focus on the things you DO have control over. Your friends and family love you for YOU! Not because of how moist the cheesecake turned out.
- Ask for help! You don’t have to go it alone! If you’re tired of struggling with sleep problems on your own and want to make the most of holiday magic, we can help!
From The Baby Sleep Site® family to yours – Happy Holidays!!