"My in-laws are having Thanksgiving dinner right at our baby's bedtime. We feel stressed because we want to be with the family for this holiday, but my daughter will be awake, overtired, and crying during dinner. We feel like we can't go.
We will miss out on being with our family, and they will be disappointed and not seem to understand our needs for our baby and our situation. We don't want dinner to be all about us and our needs, but this situation is difficult for us".
I hear this type of family predicament often, especially around the holiday season. Family members who do not have babies or have had them a long time ago often think that parents who want to keep the integrity of their baby's sleep schedule are a tad Coo-Coo, which can lead to some stress and tension over the holiday season schedule.
It is OK for your family to want to have Thanksgiving at a typical dinnertime. It is also OK for you to want to keep the integrity of your baby's sleep schedule and not have a crying unhappy baby while you are toasting the holiday with your wine glass or pouring gravy over your mashed potatoes.
There are ways to navigate a late Thanksgiving dinner without compromising your baby's sleep or much-needed quality family time, especially after a year when seeing family was such a challenge.
Here are some tips for a successful Holiday dinner at a family member or friend's house:
When you leave to go to the family dinner, make sure to keep your baby's shades closed in the nursery and turn the white noise machine on and the lights off.
Bring a travel crib like the Guava Lotus Travel Crib and a travel noise machine like the Yogasleep Rohm.
Bring pajamas and a book.
Set up your travel crib and the noise machine in the darkest and most quiet bedroom in the house or apartment when you arrive.
Feed your baby dinner before Thanksgiving dinner.
After dinner, do a bath, put on lotion and diaper cream, and put her in her pajamas for a bit of visiting time with the family before bedtime.
Do a book and milk in the bedroom you have set up the travel crib.
Do your bedtime routine as planned and put your baby down to sleep as you would in her room or as you do on vacation.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with your family!
When it is time to go, say your goodbyes to your family before getting your baby. You want to make a stealth exit.
Bring the car seat into the room where your baby is sleeping and make sure somebody has started the car.
Pick your baby up from the travel crib with the room still dark and put her in her car seat.
Have a family member pack up the travel crib and sound machine and put them in the trunk of your car as you are putting your baby into the car.
Leave your family's house like a Ninja in the night and put her in the car
Your child will either:
a). Stay asleep in the car.
b). Wake up and be fine n the car.
c). Wake up and cry in the car.
When you get home, bring the car seat into her room, you have already set it up for her nighttime sleep.
Take her out of the car seat and put her in her sleep sack.
You can give her a little bit of milk and put her down.
There is no need for a second bedtime routine.
Your baby should do just fine!