How do I keep my baby’s sleep on track when we travel is a common question. Many families put off traveling with a baby because they don’t want to disrupt their child’s sleep routine which they worked so hard to perfect. Traveling is known to be disruptive to sleep schedules which can really take its toll once you return from your trip. The trick is to prepare as much as possible before the trip and try to make a few adjustments during your travels that will help you keep your child’s sleep on schedule as much as you can. Not everything will go as planned during travel, but these tips will help you keep on track and maintain your baby’s sleep habits.
1. Keep to your Schedule
This is really the most important tip to follow because it will help the most once you’re back from your trip. Try to schedule your flight, car trip, train, etc. to accommodate your child’s sleep schedule so you can stick to it. Also keep your child’s regular nap times, even if that means having to go back to your hotel in the afternoon for an hour or two. It will be worth it not to have an overtired, cranky baby at the end of the day who can’t fall asleep.
2. Bring familiar sleep gear
Chances are your baby probably has a couple of accessories that have become an essential part of his or her sleep routine. These things might include a swaddle, pacifier, lovey, white noise machine, book, etc. Whatever is part of your child’s regular routine should come with you on your trip to help maintain consistency. You can even bring your breathe-through crib mattress with you to ensure your baby will have a safe sleep and sanitary environment wherever you go.
3. Get creative
When traveling with a baby, having a separate sleep area for your child is ideal, but of course, it’s not always practical. If your family is sharing a hotel room, get creative at bedtime. Try dimming the lights in the room and closing curtains and even stepping out onto the balcony so baby can fall asleep on his own while you can still keep an eye on him.
4. Adjust to time zone changes
If you are traveling with a baby somewhere in a different time zone, it will help to start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule slightly a few weeks before the trip starts. Start by shifting the schedule by 30 minutes and follow that for a few days and then make another 30-minute shift for a few days, and so on. Adjust nap times and meal time accordingly.
5. Plan a day of rest
When traveling far or going overseas, it’s best to plan for one full day of rest when you arrive. Everyone should try and take a nap and get settled in so they can wake up feeling refreshed for a day of activities. Just make sure that baby doesn’t nap for so long that he or she has trouble falling asleep in the evening – same goes for adults and older kids!
Written by Julie Andreae, Co-Founder of SafeSleep and Inventor of the SafeSleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress. Shop here for the safest crib mattress for baby.