Congratulations! You’ve taught your little one some independent sleep skills and they’re finally sleeping through the night and taking long, restful naps during the day. This is a life-changing achievement and you should be absolutely thrilled! However, you are wondering what this means for your social life.

Do you need to say goodbye to your social life?

Does it mean you need to plan your entire life around your baby’s sleep schedule?

Teaching your baby the skills to fall asleep independently is the all-important first step, but there’s an ongoing commitment afterwards that you really need to take seriously. Carving out your schedule to accommodate for consistent, scheduled bedtimes and naps is, in some ways, can be more challenging than those first couple of weeks when you’re camped out next to the cot.

True, your baby’s not waking up five times a night anymore. They’re going down for naps like a superstar and sleeping for hours at a time. The whole family’s getting the rest they need, but it can still be tricky moulding your entire day around your baby’s naps and bedtime.

It’s time to settle into a groove and establish a consistent, maintainable pace.

Yes, your baby’s sleep schedule is going to be somewhat restrictive. You’re going to have to honour it if you want to keep up with those wonderful, restful naps and protest-free bedtimes.

Overtiredness will sabotage your little one’s sleep in a hurry.

It can spiral out of control pretty quickly. One bad nap leading to another one, leading to a lousy bedtime, and so on.

That could mean you’re going to have to miss out on some fun stuff. Fun stuff for you. Fun stuff for your baby. Less of a social life for the whole family. You might have to push a fair amount of fun aside to maintain your little one’s schedule. No sense trying to sugarcoat it, that’s the part that sucks.

That doesn’t mean that you and your family are chained to the house.

It just means there are going to be a few trade-offs.

For example, let’s say you’re arranging a play date with a friend and their only availability is during your baby’s nap time. You might be tempted to try and rearrange your little one’s schedule to accommodate the activity. Your thinking that they’d rather enjoy the activity and companionship in exchange for a slight shuffle in the schedule.

Let’s look at what that play date is going to look like if your little one’s overtired by the time they’re halfway through their play date.

Are they really going to be having any fun? Are you? In my experience, it just ends up in a lot of fussing and tears (oh my goodness I have been there, I remember one particular time! I am actually cringing thinking about it. It was really terrible! So bad in fact, it stopped me from having another play date for a long time after!).

Neither child has any fun. Neither do the parents because they’re too busy trying to settle their kids down. If you could see ahead of time that this was going to be the scenario you skipped naptime for, you’d probably stick to the schedule and arrange the play date for another time when your baby can be rested and alert.

social lifeThe same can be said for holidays and special occasions.

A day at Movie World seems like such a glorious experience that you’d be tempted to cram as much activity into it as you can, possibly skipping nap time to make sure your little one doesn’t miss out on anything. Think about this though. The next time you’re at a theme park, have a look around. For every two kids you see having a wondrous, magical experience, there’s one who’s having an absolute meltdown. I can’t say this with any kind of evidence, but I would bet my bottom dollar that those kids don’t actually hate Movie World. They’re just overstimulated, overtired, and in desperate need of a nap.

There’s the tradeoff. You miss out on some time that could be spent doing more exciting things than napping.

Although, the time that your little one does spend playing with their friends on the beach, is going to be so much more enjoyable because they’re properly rested.

To me, that’s not even a contest. I’ll take quality over quantity every time.

One other thing I’d like you to consider, and this one’s all about you for a change.

A social life becomes possible as babies who can fall asleep independently are a whole lot easier to leave with somebody else.

social lifeAsking Grandma and Grandpa to take your baby for a night is more of a gift to them than a burden if your little one sleeps well.

You can confidently and comfortably get a sitter for the evening.

Knowing that your baby will fall asleep without a fuss and won’t wake up in a fit because you’re not there to help them back to sleep.

This is one of the biggest benefits of a baby with independent sleep skills. You should absolutely take advantage of it! Schedule date nights with your partner. Have a girls night with your besties. Book a solo trip to the spa for the day (I’m booking one of these in myself, pronto!). Knowing that your baby will be happy while they’re awake and sleep peacefully for naps and bedtime gives you the option to do all of these things.

So no, you don’t need to say goodbye to your social life.

You do however, need to honour their sleep needs the same way you adhere to their feeding schedule.

With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can still book in plenty of family fun. Plenty of ‘me’ time as well of course, which is really important in my book.

Have some questions?