If you’ve followed me for a while, you’d know I’m a big fan of routine! And the truth is that most of us, both adults and babies, feel more relaxed when we wake, eat and sleep at roughly the same times every day. Babies and young children can particularly find a predictable and consistent routine very relaxing and comforting. However, we don’t want your routine to be so stifling that you feel you can’t get out and enjoy days out with your little ones.
It can feel really worrying when trying to plan trips out when you’ve got their naps and feeds to think about, especially after a year of numerous lockdowns and not many opportunities to leave the house, bar a socially distanced trip to the supermarket!
So here are some tips on how to manage those classes/ playdates/ coffees/ date nights, without worrying:
- Be prepared- Babies come with a lot of stuff but don’t underestimate what you might need. Extra clothes, milk (if you’re formula feeding) and food if they’re on solids. It’s always better to be over-prepared and pack more than you may need.
- Allow for sleep- Plan in chances for your little one to sleep into your day if possible. You could aim to travel during nap times so they can still take their nap in the car seat, buggy or sling. Setting off a little earlier than needed to allow them a chance for a longer nap can help make the day flow more smoothly.
- Go with it- If it’s not possible to plan in a nap or your little one doesn’t take motion naps very well, don’t stress about it. It’s okay to let your routine go out of the window once in a while! This will not permanently ruin your little ones’ sleep.
- Plan classes at convenient times- If you’re booking regular classes or playdates, it may be easier to choose something that’s simply more convenient. Between their morning and lunchtime nap, or later in the afternoon after a (hopefully) long lunchtime nap are normally good times to head out. You could even plan in a long walk after the class so your little one can nap in the buggy if you know you won’t make it home in time. Do what works for you.
- Chill- Even if nothing goes to plan, try and chill out about it. You can always adjust bedtime or give them an extra nap that day. You could even try and anticipate what’s going to happen and give them a longer morning nap before you head out or split their afternoon nap in two.
- Remember sleep safety- If your little one is napping in the buggy, don’t cover it with a blanket or muslin as this can make them overheat. Instead, use a parasol or specifically designed breathable and air permeable shade for the buggy e.g. the SnoozeShade.
- Plan for bedtime- If you’re going somewhere and plan to be out for bedtime, you can create a mini version of your normal bedtime routine wherever you are. For example, change them into their sleep suit, and put them to bed in their pram or travel cot. Keeping things as familiar as possible will really help. Don’t forget their comforter (if they use one), take familiar-smelling bedding and take a portable blackout blind and white noise machine if that’s what they usually use
- If they need an extra feed, go with it!- Some babies ask to be fed when they’re overwhelmed, need comfort or just need to be reassured. If you’re breastfeeding, remember that you can feed wherever you want! It can be daunting to breastfeed in public the first time so maybe take a friend with you or buy a breastfeeding cover or a big muslin! Wearing a vest top under a normal top can also make breastfeeding in public a bit easier.
So please remember... it’s okay to take a day off from the usual routine. Especially after this last year, it’s so important to get out, socialise and have fun. If they don’t nap well for one day, they won’t be broken and you know that you can get back to your usual routine whenever you next can.
For more information on how I can help your little ones’ sleep, feel free to book a free chat with me and we can talk about putting a full plan together for you.