Helping Your Baby Deal With Change
Life is full of new experiences and changes for babies - and parents too! While some of these happen naturally without much effort, other transitions can be more worrisome for mums and dads. They can also have more of an effect on babies.
Our little cherubs tend to throw us curve balls all the time. They are constantly experiencing change as they grow and learn new skills.
So what about when external change comes into the mix?
It can be nerve-wracking to make a significant change to your little one's routine, particularly when it is often difficult to manage any kind of routine at all!
Whether you are moving house, moving baby to a new room, or starting him or her in daycare, there are ways to make the transition easier on everyone.
Let’s minimise the stress for you and them and explore some great ways to tackle these changes...
Helping Your Baby Deal With Change
Going back to work and starting your little one at daycare can be a significant change for the entire family. It is particularly hard on the primary caregiver and baby. For many parents, it will be the first time they have been apart from their baby for prolonged periods since birth.
While it may be scary, there are ways to help your baby deal with this change:
Ease Into It
If possible, take a week or two to ease gradually into the transition. Start by leaving your baby for an hour one day, several hours the next, and work your way up to a full day. This gives your baby the chance to get familiar with a new caregiver and environment without being thrown in at the deep end - and it will help to build your confidence too.
Provide Familiar Items
Make sure you leave your baby with something that smells like you. It can be a pillow, comfort blanket or favourite toy. A really good one is a Cuski comforter as it helps trap smells easily due to its soft absorbent fabric.
You may also find it helpful to take your baby's usual bedding / sleep sack to Daycare allowing them to nap in something familiar and comforting from home.
Babies are extremely sensitive to emotion. If you are nervous, your baby will pick up on it and find it hard to settle. Do your best to be calm, so baby feels safe and secure.
Be Prepared For A Change To The Sleep Schedule
Once daycare starts, you may find your baby wakes up more frequently at night to begin with. This may be because they are seeking extra cuddles and attention after being separated from you during the day. Do your best to provide this. Give extra affection and reassurance. Also, do your best to ensure a consistent routine at home. Be prepared for your baby to be overtired and cranky for a week or two as he/she adapts to the new environment and copes with sleeping in a shared space. Day naps may be short for a while too so don't be surprised if your baby falls asleep on the way home.
Moving House Or Bedrooms
Maintain Your Routine
Babies can handle a surprising amount of change to their environment if their routine remains the same. Keep nap and meal times the same if possible, and the transition will be that much easier.
Whether you are shifting your baby into a new room, taking them on holiday, or moving house, familiar objects will provide comfort. Try to set up the new nursery in a similar way to the previous one. Make sure they have their favourite toys, blankets, décor or even music to make them feel at home.
Despite your best intentions, a move will probably involve some disruption to baby’s routine. A new environment comes with different noises, smells and sights. Expect your baby’s sleep to be disrupted for a wee while. Ensure that you spend extra time together during the first few weeks to reassure them that in spite of all the changes, you are still right there.
While change can be disruptive in the short term, remember that babies are a lot more resilient than we think. The most important thing for their wellbeing is a consistent routine. Plan ahead, and don’t forget to tune in to what your baby may be feeling during these transitions. Be patient, and provide comfort, familiarity and consistency.
And if you are still having trouble adjusting to your new circumstances, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here at Serene Sleep. A few simple techniques can get you back on track for a good routine.