Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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8 Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep While Traveling

Traveling over the holidays can be stressful enough but add a baby or toddler into the mix and one might have the fleeting thought of staying home where your baby can continue to sleep well. I wrote this blog to share 8 Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep While Traveling and enjoy your holidays.

At home, it is easier to influence our own environment and child’s sleep but venturing out of the nest to share our child with loved ones or see new terrain gives us that sense of adventure and empowerment that must not be forgotten or overlooked.

8 Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep While Traveling

  1. Bring her familiar surroundings of home – sleep sack, lovie,  lullabies.
  2. Maintain your regular bedtime routine.
  3. Be consistent with how you respond to night waking.
  4. Respond as you would if you were at home.
  5. If your child sleeps in a different room than you, try and maintain this situation while on vacation.
    This can be hard depending on your lodging, but having her close to you when she’s not used to it can cause interrupted nighttime sleep – she’ll be so excited that you are nearby.
  6. Try and stick to your nap schedule the best you can but if it doesn’t work out, don’t stress. Try and enjoy your vacation, nothing is perfect.
  7. If your child falls asleep in motion or on the go, try and maintain the motion so she can at least get a 45 min or longer nap in.
  8. Do your best to get your child sleep – even if that means naps in motion.
  9. Being overtired makes it harder to fall asleep and then stay asleep so if she’s losing sleep hours she’ll fall into a negative feedback look of being overtired.
  10. Schedule travel for mornings when kids (and parents) are more patient.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep, Traveling and Kids

1. Should I bring my child into bed with me if she’s not sleeping?

If that’s what you need to do to survive on your trip, then do it!   Just know that you’ll probably have to revisit some sleep skills and set up boundaries when you get back home.
If you can offer comfort without having her in your bed, it will be easier to re-established sleep skills on your return, but as I said before, you do what you have to do to survive.
It can be very stressful to struggle with sleep while you are in someone else’s house or a hotel and your number 1 goal on vacation is to keep everyone sleeping.

2. When is the best time of day to travel?

Try and have flights or travel earlier in the day.  Kids are usually better behaved, more patient and tolerant earlier in the day.  Flights in the late afternoon can be hard as your child is usually tired that time of day and less tolerant to waiting or delays.
My kids do far better being woken up early for a trip than waiting around for half a day waiting for a flight.  There’s a chance they’ll doze on the plane in the morning, but settling for a late afternoon nap on a plane can be tough.
Bring their stuffed animal in the plane or car and only pull it out when it is nap time.  Use this as a cue that it is sleep time as you would at home.

3. I’m worried my child will be fussy on the flight, is there anything I can do?

New parents often worry about travelling with newborns on the plane.  Most kids will be lulled by the hum of the plane and find it quite soothing.
Breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a pacifier can help with changes in cabin pressure and ears needing to “pop”.
It can be hard to keep toddlers busy on planes.  Ipads can help, but my best trick is to wrap up a bunch of smaller toys in wrapping paper or newspaper.  It’s a great time killer to have your little one unwrap on the plane and then play with her “new treasure”.

Do you want to remember these tips for later?

Download my sleep and travel cheat sheet to pin to your fridge for travel time.

I’ve also written about dealing with time changes as a guest blogger here.

4 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep in Different Time Zones.

Dr. Sarah Mitchell Sleep Consultant

If your’re thinking about sleep training I can teach you everything you need to know in my online course Baby Sleep Training Step by Step

You are welcome to join my private Facebook Community. Where I answer your follow up questions and you’ll get support from like minded-moms on the same journey as you.

You can learn more about my online course Baby Sleep Training Step By Step.

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