October 1st, 2021
Vacations are meant to help us relax. We go on vacations when we need to take a break from our routine. Traveling with your baby is more fun as it gives you a chance to experience new places and people together. Also, traveling is good because it helps moms to break the monotony and 'shake things up a little.
Do you know that your baby is likely to pick up new skills when you travel? Yes, this is true. A parent shared with me that her baby started walking when they were on vacation. She revealed that the baby had been practicing walking with no success. What's more exciting is that they were both there with her husband to witness their baby take her first step.
For a long time, we've been getting requests from moms on how to help their babies sleep while traveling. Parents have been asking for advice on what to pack when going on vacations with their babies. Parents have also been asking for advice on what to do and not do when traveling with their babies. Today we address your concerns and share expert tips about travel and your baby's sleep.
With some good planning, your little champion can be a calm and comfortable travel companion.
1. Plan travel time around sleep time
If possible, plan your travel around baby’s sleep time – for instance have a normal wake up or a little later wake on the day of travel and then take naps on the go, followed by an earlier bedtime to adjust for the disruptions.
Also, know that the human body is programmed to adapt to new environments. Your baby's body will want to change sleep times based on sunrise and sunsets. Daily activities are also likely to affect your baby's sleep patterns. In summary, we advise that whenever possible, travel during the day to avoid interfering with your baby's night sleep.
2. Choose sleep-friendly destinations
It is every parent's wish to tour the world with their babies. Honestly, nothing stops you from traveling to wherever place you want to. However, the sad reality is that some destinations will be supportive of your baby's sleep. You'll want to pick a destination that you'll have the most fun but still allow your baby to nap in peace.
I always prefer beach destinations and home stays when traveling with my daughter as it gives an opportunity for activities and play as well as comfort of recreating home like environment. Of course, there are no rule on where you should travel with your baby but this is what has worked for us. I also avoided traveling to places with enormous time difference to ensure the sleep doesn’t get disrupted for days!
How do you keep your baby's sleep on track while traveling?
To help address the many concerns you have about your baby's sleep while traveling or on vacation, we are sharing the following tips with you.
1. Pack the essentials
Having the all the diaper bag essentials will make your travelling with baby experience all wonderful.
The one thing you should never forget to carry when travelling with your baby is a bag for soiled clothing. Its not only hygienic but saves you from a lot of trouble.
It is also advisable that you bring with you an extra diaper and a travel size first aid kit. It's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit when travelling so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries.
You can also bring with a small foldable blanket. This will be for changing diapers on the go.
2. Recreate your baby's sleep environment
Your baby will sleep better if you create a familiar sleep environment. If possible, bring with you the things that your baby associates with sleep. For example, if your baby uses a white noise machine do not forget to carry when traveling with your baby.
Also, if your baby is used to sleeping in a crib at home do not introduce them to that big hotel bed when traveling. Such drastic changes will cause sleep disruptions to your baby. Request the hotel in advance to provide you a crib. Some cities also have baby equipment rental services and you can rent a crib using those if crib in hotel is not available.
3. Follow your bedtime routine
We all get excited whenever going on vacations. We want to do things differently from how we do them while at home. However, when traveling with your baby it's not the time to throw the baby's sleep routine out of the window. If possible, stick to your bedtime routine as much as possible. If your baby is used to brushing their teeth before going to bed, make sure they do the same even when traveling.
Whatever your bedtime routine is, never forget to say good night to your baby.
4. Different children, different rules
There is no generally accepted way to help your kid sleep better when traveling. Each child has a different sleep pattern. What works for Mohit may not work for Angela. While some children may cope with a change in sleep patterns, others may be less flexible.
So, it is entirely up to you as the parent to decide how well your child is coping with changes in their sleep patterns. Explore the different options at your disposal and decide on the one you feel works for your child.
Don't beat yourself too hard if your child doesn't play with your chosen plan.
5. Stick to the baby's sleep schedule
It's easier traveling with a baby who is not on a sleep schedule. However, if you happen to travel with a kid who's on a sleep schedule, you'll have no option but to stick to the schedule. Sleep will come easy for your baby if you stick as close as possible to their sleep schedule.
If you're traveling by car and you see your baby showing signs of being very tired, slow down and take a day to catch up on sleep. At first, it may appear like you're wasting time but eventually, this tactic will prove useful. It will make sense in days to follow.
6. Minimize noise distractions
Your baby is just like you. A cool and quiet environment is necessary for them to fall and stay asleep.
The destinations you travel to will not be always quiet. You'll be forced to spend your nights in noisy places. Here is where white noise comes in handy.
For beginners, white noise is a calming sound that is most commonly used to mask unwanted noise. It is generally accepted that white noise is a great tool to boost sleep both for children and adults. In fact, white noise is a must even for babies who find it easy to change their sleep patterns.
7. Make time for your baby to play everyday
When babies don’t get enough time to play during the day, it affects both their naps and nighttime sleep.
The trick here is to start making time everyday to let your baby play. With sufficient amount of playtime, your baby will nap better and sleep better at night. There’s no magic here, you’ll just be giving your baby some time to tire themselves out.
8. Dress your baby appropriately
Appropriate may mean different things to different people. The key here is to dress your baby in pyjamas he's used to. If the area you're traveling to is cold, be sure to give your baby warm clothing.
Whatever clothing you chose for your baby, depending on the environment, make sure they are comfortable. Sound sleep requires that your baby is as comfortable as possible.
9. Take turns, two hands are better than one
You don't have to bear the burden of dealing with naps and bedtimes alone. I mean you as the mother. In most cases, the mom is always the primary caregiver. When it comes to traveling with your baby, two hands are better than one. Let your husband help. You don't have to be the only one bearing the burden of sleep disturbances.
You'll find your vacations more enjoyable if you trade naptime and bedtime duties with your spouse or other family members.
10. Have fun!
Remember, vacations are meant to have fun and making memories. Therefore, its important not to stress too much if you are unable to follow your baby’s schedule fully on some days. Try to stick to basics on most days or every alternate day and you can get back to the normal schedule once home.
Once you are home, remember to get back to the normal schedule immediately. There may be a few rough days with all the excitement and disruptions but follow baby’s schedule and sleep training technique consistently and things will return to normal soon.
Have you recently returned from a vacation or planning to go on one? Save and share this article with anyone who can benefit. If you are need personal support, book your free 15 minutes call here to find how we can help.
We’ll continue sharing expert tips on travel and baby sleep, so be sure to check our page and social media handles.
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