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Traveling with your baby over the holidays and navigating sleep

Are you traveling with your baby this holiday but you’re just not sure how you’re going to handle sleep?

If you’re asking:

How do we adjust to the time difference?😬

What if we co-sleep at home? 😬

Can I bring my bassinet or should I buy new things when I arrive? 😬

What about my baby’s naps and bedtime schedule? 😬

All these questions are valid. Making a change to the schedule you already created can be daunting. The following tips will help you prepare for your trip and equip you with navigating your baby’s sleep so that you can enjoy your travels, instead of being stressed about naps.

Traveling with your baby over the holidays and navigating sleep - a baby in a bassinet with a parent's hand helping him with his pants

Baby Sleeping Arrangement

First, consider where your baby will sleep when you travel. If your baby normally sleeps in a crib at home, the best thing to do is to have a similar sleeping arrangement at your travel destination. If a crib is not available, another option is to travel with a pack-n’play or a travel crib. 

What if your baby co-sleeps at home or sleeps in a bassinet?

In these cases, consider carrying your bassinet with you or ensuring the bed at your destination is big enough to co-sleep (if bed-sharing, make sure this potential sleeping arrangement can be set up safely. Visit this website for safe bed sharing information) . If all of these do not work for whatever reason, try placing the mattress on the floor. Remember to safety-proof it by clearing the area of any harmful or loose items. The end goal is to make traveling easier by taking your sleeping arrangement with you if it’s practical and possible.

Nap Time

With night time sleep taken care of, let’s talk about naps. Do you want to know what the best tip is? I’ll tell you: Prepare to nap on the go. The truth is that most babies usually nap really well on the go. If you’re not used to it then it might feel very new and some babies don’t like it. Since you’re traveling with your baby, it is very likely that your baby will end up napping on the go so you might as well be prepared for it. Bringing a baby carrier and a stroller will give you and your baby options as well as help make napping on the go easier. For smaller babies, you can use a stroller bassinet both for naps and overnight. At night, make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for safe sleep.

Your Sleep Approach

Next, consider the sleep approach you’re comfortable with. Some people might want to stick to their established routines they have at home and some might want to go with the flow without strict schedules. Whichever works best for you and will allow you to enjoy your vacation more is what you should go with. If you’re following your schedules and routines from home, make sure to plan your vacation activities around them. In both scenarios, you will be able to get back to your regular routine when you return home.

How about jet lag and time changes while traveling?

Fun fact: It takes about a day per hour difference to adjust to jet lag. For example, a two hour time difference will require about two days or more to adjust to the new time. Since we’re all different, the effect of jet lag and the adjustment time will vary individually. This is a general guideline to work with. 

Okay, so what can we do to make adjusting to time differences easier?

One surprising thing that can make adjusting to time differences easier is staying hydrated. 

Another way to prepare for  time changes is to adjust your schedules in advance. By doing this, you won’t spend your vacation adjusting to time differences. For example, the week before you travel, gradually begin to move to what the time at your travel destination will be. Is the morning time earlier at your destination? Adjust your wake up time slowly now. You want to do this with your routines throughout the day. If wakeup time is 7:15 am and nap time is at 10:15am, move it 15 minutes backwards. Wake up at 7 am and let your baby take a nap at 10 am. Keep moving the time slowly until you’re adjusted to the time in your destination.

Missed Naps

How do you deal with missed naps and possible changes to the sleep schedule while you’re on the go?

Your baby might have a hard time when they miss, skip, or have a nap from which they woke up prematurely. Here’s what I recommend: go for extra naps instead of earlier bedtimes. This will get your baby through to bed time. You can offer your baby bedtime around the same time. If they’re not falling asleep right away or within 15 minutes, take a break and try again later. Skipping nap time all together might be a tempting option but a well-rested baby is so much better than a cranky one, even if it means a shifted schedule

Now that you’ve got your baby’s sleep figured out for your trip, it’s time to travel! 😃

Do you want to know why your baby wakes or when they will sleep through the night? Or how to get sleep without crying it out of any kind? Make sure to watch the 15 Minute Webinar – “Why self-soothing is bullshit.” 

Let’s keep the conversation going 😃.

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Have you taken our sleep philosophy quiz?

Not sure how to approach sleep with your family? With the help of this short buzzfeed style quiz you can find out your sleep philosophy.

Once you're done--we'll email you a sleep education checklist to help you dig into your unique approach to sleep.