Tips For Getting your Baby To Sleep while traveling

Do you have an upcoming trip and are terrified that your baby’s sleep will fall apart? Maybe you finally got your baby into a good routine and are scared that your upcoming holiday will mess everything up? Read on and find out how you can preserve your little one’s sleep on holidays and learn about my best sleep tips while traveling.

Before the trip

Depending on the type of accommodation there are a few essential items you need to pack to ensure your baby’s sleep doesn’t fall apart on holidays. I always recommend staying in a holiday house or apartment if possible where the sleep and living space is separate so that you don’t need to quietly sit in bed while your baby is napping. If that isn’t possible and you’ll all be staying in the same hotel room, I recommend buying a snooze shade which is a little tent that fits over most standard sized travel cots and gives your baby their own completely dark sleep space. Portable blackout blinds are a must if your baby is sleeping in their own room and are a quick and easy way to make any room sufficiently dark.

If there isn’t time to buy portable blackout blinds then aluminium foil, black garbage bags or rolled up towels can be used in a pinch also always pack a few clothes pegs to pin together hotel curtains so no light can get through.

White noise is a must and will ensure that your baby can sleep peacefully even if the environment is noisy. So there is no need for you to go to bed early just because your baby is asleep. Be sure you bring a white noise machine that plays continuous and low rumbly white noise or simply use your phone to play white noise.

When using a travel cot for the first time, I recommend starting to use this at home a few days before traveling so your baby can get used to sleeping in a travel cot. Use the same sheets used at home so the smell is familiar to your baby. No need to buy an extra soft mattress as baby’s are used to sleeping on firm surfaces and adding another mattress to a travel cot isn’t safe.

Also bring your baby’s sleeping bag, dummies and comforter to make the new sleep environment more familiar and make settling your baby to sleep easier in the new environment.

In transit

Whether you’re traveling via plane, train, bus, car or ship be sure to pack lots of snacks and possibly a few new toys to keep bubs entertained. I always recommend to pack all the essentials in a backpack for easy access (sleeping bag, pacifiers, nappies, wipes, travel change mat, sanitizing wipes, change of clothes, snacks, toys).

When traveling by plane, I recommend booking an overnight flight as most airlines will provide you with a bassinet for your baby to sleep in and the plane itself provides the most amazing white noise.

With an older baby that no longer fits in the bassinet, I usually recommend booking your baby their own seat so you have plenty of space for all the essentials and you can bring your baby's car seat for added safety.

Try to stick to the same wind down routine you have at home to get your baby ready for sleep while traveling. Read stories, sing lullabies, milk feed or bedtime snack, put on baby’s sleeping bag and your baby should be ready for sleep. If your baby usually self-settles at home you might have to assist your baby to sleep as falling asleep in an unfamiliar environment can be hard.

The carrier is your friend and with baby’s I recommend bringing a carrier rather than a bulky pram or stroller that you have to check at the gate. Not only is it annoying having to wait for it when you disembark it can also get damaged in transit. A cheap lightweight umbrella stroller is more appropriate as you can put it in the overhead bin if it folds down small enough and can be used for naps on the go during your holiday.

On arrival and during your holiday

Adjusting to a different time zone

When you arrive at your destination and there is a different time zone it’s best to adjust your baby’s schedule to the new time zone immediately. Yes, your baby’s sleep will get disrupted for a couple of days but sticking to your baby’s usual routine will help with this greatly.

Prep the new sleep environment

When you first arrive at your accommodation, I recommend prepping your baby’s sleep environment first. Set up your baby’s travel cot, make the room as dark as possible with whatever you have on hand and you’re good to go.

Sleeping on the go

Stroller and baby carriers are your friends here and I always recommend bringing your baby’s sleeping bag and portable white noise machine to make naps easier to achieve on the go.

Most importantly give yourself some grace and try not to worry too much if your baby doesn’t take the same great naps on holidays they usually do at home or goes to bed late a few times. Try to enjoy yourself and worry about getting everything back on track when you’re back home.

Need help getting your baby to sleep through the night? Download my free baby sleep guide here and say goodbye to hours of crying, catnapping and wake-ups every 2 hours.

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