Tips for Traveling With Your Baby
By Becci Binquist Certified Sleep Consultant & Postpartum Doula
Are you debating whether you should travel with your baby? Are you worried that your child might have sleep issues on vacation? What can you do to make traveling less stressful with your child? Just because you have a baby, doesn’t mean that you need to stay home forever. Follow these simple tips to help you plan that perfect vacation. Well, who am I kidding, nothing is going to be perfect when you have kids!
Having the idea that naps, bedtime, and schedules are going to be a little off is important for setting realistic expectations for traveling with a baby. Naps and bedtime on the go are ok. Longer or shorter awake windows are fine as well. Being able to relax and actually enjoy your vacation, rather than being ruled by a schedule or what everyone is used to, can be the key to forming lasting positive memories. With this in mind, let’s dive into what you should bring on vacation.
ITEMS TO BRING ON VACATION
Any time that you can emulate the sleep environment that you have at home, the better off your child will adjust to his new place. A few things to remember are: providing a dark environment, bringing a sound machine, packing your favorite swaddle or sleep sack, and last but not least, a wrap or carrier.
When you reach your destination, I encourage you or your partner to set up the sleeping space right away. Doing this first can ensure that when it is time for a nap or bedtime, the new sleeping space is ready! The items that you will need to set up are portable blackout curtains, a pack-n-play, Slumber Pod, and a sound machine.
An important element for great sleep is a dark room. Bringing portable blackout blinds can help everyone sleep better away from home. Another option would be to bring a pack-n-play with the Slumber Pod. The Slumber Pod is an amazing product that provides a black-out environment for your child. I love this product because it is safe and has pockets for the sound machine, fan, or monitor. Feel free to use my code BABYSLEEPCAFE20 for $20 off. Slumber Pod
Bringing the sound machine whenever your child will be sleeping, is a must. You can bring the one you have in the nursery, or they have smaller portable ones you can pack. Having the sound machine will bring familiarity to your child as well as drown out the unusual noises that might not typically be present.
SWADDLE OR SLEEP SACK
Since putting the swaddle or sleep sack on your baby, is part of the bedtime routine, it is important that this comes with you on vacation. Bring an extra one in case you need it. You never know if your child will pee through his clothes or get dirty.
WRAP OR CARRIER
Having your hands free (especially when flying), can be very helpful. Putting your little one in a carrier allows you to carry other items that you might need as well. If you have a newborn, it prevents people from the temptation of touching your baby. Some people don’t understand boundaries!
BEST TIME TO LEAVE
When traveling, first determine whether your baby sleeps great in the car, or if they are not good at napping in the car. If they are great at car naps, try your best to plan your driving around nap time. However, if your child does not sleep in the car or is more irritable, you might want to leave first thing in the morning, or after a great nap at home.
If you plan on flying, I always recommend doing so during nap time or bedtime if possible. The busyness of getting to the airport can be exhausting, and hopefully, they will be able to sleep on the plane.
Sometimes you might have to be flexible and your child might not have his own sleeping space like at home. That is ok. Do your best to provide the same room situation as at home. This might include putting your child in the same room as you. If this is the case, put your child to bed and then sneak in when you are ready to go to bed. I know this sounds a bit weird, but if the closet is big enough (obviously well-ventilated) put the pack-n-play in there to provide an even quieter space.
Stick to your bedtime routine as much as you can when traveling. Although the bedtime might be a bit off, sticking with your basic bedtime routine can help signal that it is time for bed. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, download my free Bedtime Routine today Bedtime Routine.
Troubleshooting what to do when you change time zones can be quite tricky. There are a few factors involved: what is the time difference and how long will you be traveling? If you are only traveling for 1-2 weeks, which is usually just a few hours time zone difference, I would try not to adjust your child’s schedule too much. You can try keeping her up later for naps and bedtimes if the new time zone is a few hours ahead (or a few hours earlier if the time zone is behind). However, for the most part, I wouldn’t completely get on the new time just for a few weeks of travel. If you are going to be gone for more than 2 weeks, you might want to slowly adjust to the new time zone by about 30 minutes daily if your child can handle that. Otherwise, adjusting a bit slower might be easier on him. When you return home, you will adjust the same way as when you arrived at your destination. Just remember, as adults, it takes a while for us to acclimate and your child just can’t drink an espresso to get through the day.
If you take nothing from this blog, I encourage you to lower your expectations and enjoy this special time together. Make memories and have fun! If the schedule gets a little off on vacation because you have a late dinner or have an activity during nap time, that’s ok. You can get back on track when you get home. Cherish this special time together as a family.
HOW CAN I HELP?
If you need some more advice regarding traveling or if your child is having issues after coming home from vacation, don’t hesitate to book a call. Schedule a free 15-minute call today Schedule a call.
Becci also teaches our Newborn Sleep Class which is offered monthly on Zoom. Check it out here!Continue reading