Finding Balance: Navigating a Social Life After Sleep Training Your Baby

July 18, 2023

finding balance: navigating a social life after sleep training - 3 moms standing around talking with babies in strollers

Congratulations Mom and Dad!  You’ve successfully supported your baby in learning independent sleep skills.  Your little wonder is rocking those long, peaceful slumbers at night and taking stellar naps during the day.  That’s a perfect reason to celebrate!  

But now that your beautiful baby is sleeping well, should you rock the boat and rekindle your social life? 

Let’s face it, over the past several weeks you have been all about maintaining your baby’s sleep schedule with rock solid consistency.  You’ve been diligent in timing those naps and bedtime with precision to guard against overtiredness and the outbursts that can ensue.  So the idea of trying to schedule any social event with friends and family may cause you some feelings of anxiety and stress.  This is normal, I too was caught in this same conundrum.  

So can you go back to your pre-baby and pre-sleep training social life?  My honest answer to you is no.  But it doesn’t mean you need to become habitual homebodies either.  

When my girls were small, it seemed that most of the social events we were invited to happened either during nap times or past bedtime.  Even the mommy and me classes seemed to be scheduled mid morning or mid afternoon.  I felt like all the Little Tumblers, Music Rounds, and Stortytime at the local library of the world were conspiring against me.  Why did everything seem to happen right when my babies rocked their two hour morning naps?   

Or let’s say a friend is scheduling a meet up with your babies for the weekend.  And the only time she has free time is right in the middle of naptime.  You may be very tempted to press your luck and see if you can nudge naptime a bit later so you can enjoy some bestie bonding time.  

Should you chance a possibly overtired baby in order to fill your social calendar?  

Let’s say you commit to the playdate and move forth with a plan “extend the wake window”.  It all starts off well and good and you are enjoying time with the friend you haven’t seen in ages. Moreover, your baby seems to be happy, engaging and loving the social interactions.  But as the playtime draws to an end and you return home to start the late nap, your baby completely loses it and lots of protest crying ensues and the battle for nap is on.  Clearly, the stretched wake window and new stimulation was just more than your baby could comfortably handle.  And now your consistent napper is fighting HARD.  

So my suggestion is that instead of committing to a playdate that will surely result in tears for your baby, try offering alternative times that will work better and host the playdate so you won’t have travel time to contend with.  This way you can keep your well rested baby happy and prevent an overtired meltdown.  

My advice for celebrating with family and maintaining healthy sleep habits.  

Now, when talking about family functions that could happen during naptime and into the evening, I’d love to share the tips and tricks that I used and have given to all of the families I supported to better sleep over the year.  

  • If it’s a party or get together that is happening close to naptime, try offering a car nap on the way to the get together or leave the party slightly early and allow for a car nap on the way home (with this option I suggest driving around for a while to get at least a 45 minute nap in). 
  • If it’s a social engagement that takes place in the late afternoon or early evening, consider bringing two cars and one parent leaving early to maintain the normal bedtime.  This suggestion I practiced with my own girls when they were small and it worked out well.  My husband and I agreed on who would leave early beforehand and it usually came down to who’s family or friend group they were from.  Believe me when I say, I’d much rather leave a party early and have a great night’s sleep than stay late and have the chance of a battle at bedtime or multiple night wakings.  
  • The last suggestion I have is if you are on vacation or visiting a venue such as a theme park.  It may not be easy to return to your hotel or home on this occasion, and this is where I recommend using something like the Snooze Shade (link includes a discount code) over the stroller.  It blocks out the sun, has SPF protection built in and is breathable.  With the Snooze Shade you can continue enjoying your day while your little one naps in the stroller. I talk more about the Snooze Shade on Instagram
  • And if it’s a super fun get together that neither of you want to miss…asking Grandma and Grandpa or a beloved friend to watch your little angel is a perfect solution. Securing a trusted babysitter is key with small children so you can nurture your bond with your significant other on date nights as well.  Heck, when my girls were small, we usually put them to sleep for the night before the babysitter even arrived.  It was the easiest money our babysitter ever made because all they needed to do was sit there while my girls slept.  Easy Peasy!

Ultimately, you do not need to give up your social life completely once you have a well rested baby with rock star sleep skills. However, you do need to honor their sleep needs the same way you ensure all of their other needs are met.  With a little planning and preparation on your part, you can still enjoy the parties and get togethers you enjoy and look forward to while making sure you keep the sleep at home.  

If you are having challenges figuring out how to make it all work, please book a call with me and we can gameplan together.  Sometimes you just need another set of eyes on a situation to gain the clarity you need to make a plan.  

Hey there!  I’m Jenn, mom of two amazing girls, Postpartum Depression and Anxiety survivor and Philadelphia’s most experienced and trusted sleep coach.  I help guide new moms to find balance and thrive in motherhood while also reclaiming their sleep.

Are you ready to get off the Crazy Train and have the whole family sleeping better? Follow the link below to schedule your complimentary consultation with Jennifer today!

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