No more fodder for gender-restricted roles, parenting is now a joint venture and for the good. But even while our idea of parenting changes, the truth is that babies are still the same. So how do we fill this gap?
Sleeping Like A Baby shows various examples of modern parenting problems with simple, priority-driven solutions. There’s even a section on travelling with babies in-flight! This particular excerpt deals with the perils of parents who want to keep up the momentum of their social life without compromising on their baby’s sleep.
Some families are more social than others and have varying degrees of obligations and priorities. Depending on your situation and family dynamic, here are some tips you could use to tweak your social life which allow you to let down your hair while also keeping the baby’s sleep routine front and centre:
In the first few years, accept social invitations that are truly important to you and offer some leeway in terms of time and day.
Become the host
Move the party to your house. Put the baby to bed, press play on the white noise, keep the baby monitor next to you and hang out with your friends and family.
Accept that your social life will change after having a baby, and that’s a good thing. It means everyone is growing up, not just the baby! Request friends and family to be flexible and accommodate celebrations at a time in the day that are baby-friendly. And while your outings may seem severely limited in the first year or so, once the baby moves to a one nap routine (at around 15-18 months) it gets a lot easier to plan visits.
If there are invitations you do not want to decline that clash with your baby’s sleep routine, take turns to go. You attend one while your spouse goes to the next one, or one that is more important to either one of you.
Get your me-time
Once your baby’s routine has settled down, go out with your friends while your partner does bedtime and bridges sleep cycles. For this to happen successfully, involve your partner in baby sleep from Day 1.
Create your ‘outing’ at home
If it’s hard to go out or you just feel too exhausted to leave home, staying in can be just as fun. Snuggle up with the latest Netflix movie or your favourite book, a tub of popcorn and your beverage of choice once your baby is down for the night. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual parties legitimate social events—go right ahead and organize your own Zoom gatherings.
It’s all a phase
Hitting pause on late-night socializing pays off in the end, we promise you. Sticking around to help baby sleep at night rather than taking her out with you when it’s her bedtime results in a well-rested child who grows to love her sleep because she is in touch with her internal cues and feels safe and cared for. As she grows, you will be able to socialize more without compromising on her sleep.
Find your tribe
In the time of social media, it’s easy to find a tribe of your kind of parents who are happy to create fun social experiences that suit baby routines. Reach out to them! Take turns to plan gatherings that work for everyone, especially the kids. We did the same and not only have we had a ton of meaningful conversations and boisterous fun, but we also made friendships to last a lifetime.
Dial down wedding worries
Weddings are not typically baby-friendly events. Try and book a room at the venue where the baby can take a nap, or fall asleep for the night with a caregiver while you attend the wedding and can go back to the room if she needs you.
A true balm for parenting and baby sleep woes, Sleeping Like A Baby is now available at every bookstore near you.