Helping you make the best of your vacation!
Traveling with a baby can make anyone anxious! We're thinking about what to pack, how they'll do in transit, how we can keep them occupied. But on top of it all, the biggest worry is how will they sleep?! Taking babies out of the comfort of their crib, their room, their home, this can throw them off and disrupt their sleep routines. However, it doesn't have to be this way. By following a few easy tips you can maintain your child's sleep routines while on vacation just as if they were home. And you can make the transition back to sleeping at home seamless.
Take the sleep stress out of traveling with just these few simple tips!
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule as Much as Possible
No matter where or when you are traveling, try and stick to your daily schedule as much as possible. Keep wake times the same, try to get in naps around your baby's typical nap time, and try and keep bedtime the same. This will vary day to day, and it's ok if you have to stray from your schedule but get back to it whenever you can. This will help your baby to know what's coming next and help avoid your baby getting overtired. They'll know when it's time for bed, or that it should be nap time.
Can't get back to the hotel/cabin/room for naptime? See our next tip.
Try to Get in a Nap on the Go
There will be days when you won't be able to get back to your room to get your baby down for a nap and that's ok! Try and get a nap on the go wherever possible. At a theme park for the day? Try and find a quiet part of the park and walk baby around in their stroller. Bring a portable sound machine to turn on to try and squeeze in a good nap on the go. Catching some rays at the beach? Bring a pop up portable play yard and a fan to try and lay them down and snooze on the sand. Driving around site seeing? Turn on some peaceful music and get baby to take a car nap.
Try to allow baby to get at least a 30-45 minute nap when on the go.
Recreate your Home Sleep Environment
Bring your baby's sleep sack, sound machine and a pack n' play that baby can sleep in as if they were in their own crib. Purchase some travel blackout shades (if the hotel doesn't already have them) that will keep the room dark to prevent early morning wakings. By recreating your baby's sleep environment at home they'll be able to get the same restful sleep while on vacation.
If your baby sleeps in their own room at home, try your hardest to have a separate room for baby. Even bring your monitor from home. By sharing a room with your baby when you typically don't, this can cause more night wakings than normal. If you must share a room with baby, try and keep the room as dark as possible and put some sort of barrier in between that would allow for baby to have their own space.
Maintain Your Bedtime Routine
Traveling with your baby may mean that bedtime gets delayed, or the days are a little more rushed. But by mimicking your bedtime routine this will trigger for your baby that it's time for bed. This will help relax them from the eventful day they had and allow them to fall asleep easier. Even if you can't do your full-length routine, try and stick to it as much as you can. If you can't do a bath every single night, do one every other night, or wipe baby down with a warm washcloth. Bring your baby's favorite book so that you can read to them right before laying them down. Put them in their sleep sack and turn on their sound machine just as if they were going to sleep at home. The baby will feel this familiarity and will be more comfortable getting some rest.
Avoid New Sleep Crutches
Just because you and your baby are sleeping in a different environment than normal shouldn't mean you approach their sleep any differently. If baby is having difficulty getting to sleep or waking in the middle of the night, handle it just as if you would at home. Try not to implement any new sleep crutches, such as rocking or feeding baby to sleep, or pulling baby in bed with you.
Also remember to follow safe sleep guidelines even when on vacation!
Make Adjustments for Traveling to a Different Time Zone
The most difficult part of travel is if you're traveling to a different time zone. To get the least amount of sleep disruption, follow these guidelines:
If you are going for a week or less, consider keeping your baby on your normal time zone schedule. For example, if you're traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast, and your baby's normal bedtime is 7:00 pm, you will want to put baby to bed at 10:00 pm when on vacation. Nap times should follow the same schedule. Be sure to keep the room as dark as possible as the light will come in earlier in the morning.
If you are going for longer than a week, or keeping the normal time zone just wouldn't work out, move to the new time zone gradually, starting with naps. You can even try putting baby to bed 15 minutes earlier or later (depending on which way you're traveling) for about a week before and after the trip).
It can take up to two weeks to readjust to your normal sleep schedule once you return home. Just continue to stay consistent and your baby will be back to sleeping as they once were in no time.
Enjoy Your Vacation!
Your vacation is supposed to be fun! Let it be that! Try and go with the flow as much as possible and know that once you get back home you can work on getting your baby back to sleeping in their normal conditions.
Need our help with some tips before vacation? Or is baby not getting back to their well-rested sleep after your vacation? Set up a discovery call with us and see how we can help!