Have you heard of the summer sleep challenge? No, it's not a new version of the ice bucket challenge, but rather the challenge most parents of newborns seem to face once the days get longer this time of year.
While summer is a great season to get outdoors and enjoy longer days with baby, it can wreak havoc with baby's sleep schedule.
My daughter was born in the summer and I discovered some ways to allow us to all enjoy the warmer months while still getting restful sleep. Here are four tips to help baby sleep well and avoid a few common summer sleep challenges:
Summer sleep challenge #1: Making it dark inside when it's still light outside in the evenings.
While we can all appreciate the extra hours of sunlight over the summer, this can pose a sleep challenge with the added brightness coming in through the windows.
Tips: Use blackout shades to darken the room to encourage a sleepy environment for nap times and bedtime.
Summer sleep challenge #2: Finding the right temperature when the blazing sun is heating things up.
Baby does not yet have the internal system to regulate temperature nearly as well as adults can. Their little bodies can become overheated, and it's up to us to keep them comfortable and safe.
Tips: Fans can be a great help to circulate air, but should not be directly blowing on baby. Air conditioning can keep indoor areas comfortable, but it's trickier when you’re trying to enjoy the outdoors with baby.
Also, be mindful of how warm it can get inside a stroller. We've all seen a baby riding in a stroller with a light blanket draped over to keep out the sun, but did you know the temperature inside the stroller with a blanket draped over it can increase by 10-20 degrees?
Find a shady spot instead and limit baby's time outside during the peak hours of daytime sun and heat. My daughter was a July baby and we often avoided taking her out between 10-3; we enjoyed early morning or late afternoon and evening outdoor activities instead.
Summer Sleep Challenge #3: Keeping baby comfortable in pajamas for summer sleep.
You can continue to swaddle baby, but think in minimalist terms for the summer.
Tips: Switch to a lightweight, cotton blanket or sleep sack, try a short-sleeve onesie, and save the fleece pajamas for winter. Make sure that baby can rest in a well-ventilated area, with no bumpers, extra blankets, or stuffed animals.
Summer Sleep Challenge #4: Finding a summer routine that works with your sleep schedule.
You may find yourself more active in the summer and attending more social events, but that doesn't mean you can't maintain or establish the sleep schedule for baby.
Tips: Planning ahead can help alleviate stress and offer opportunities to participate in family events without sacrificing restful sleep for baby. Being flexible with plans may allow everyone a chance to enjoy summer activities.
Helping baby achieve better sleep in the warmer months may require some adjustments, but it can be a fun time of year and enjoyable for the whole family. Having winter and summer babies gave me the chance to experience extreme seasons and temperatures and made me adjust accordingly based on the needs of my babies.
When it comes down to it, sleep is a priority regardless of the season, and summer can be filled full of memories that include indoor and outdoor family time.
What summer sleep tips do you have? I'd love to hear what helped your baby transition to restful sleep in the summer months.
More Summer Sleep Articles
Transitioning to Summer: Tips for Infant Sleep Schedules - Annie Wiesman
2 Tips for Getting Kids to Sleep When It’s Light Outside - Jess Wartinger