Stick to Your Schedule
Whether your schedule is focused around feedings (for babies 4 months and under), or based on nap times (for babies 5 months and older), the key to peace of mind is having a schedule and sticking to it. Do your best to maintain this schedule no matter your location. Particularly if there are other family members around when you travel (think adoring grandparents who want nothing more than to play with your kids and nothing less than for them to nap!), it’s ok to ask them to honor your baby’s sleep needs. Your children will be happier when better rested, and will give bigger smiles for all the pictures.
Recreate your Home Environment
To the best of your ability, it’s helpful for children if we can recreate their home environment for sleeping. Babies sleep best in a dark, quiet environment and there are some great baby products to help you on the go. If your children sleep with white noise, you can buy a portable white noise machine, or simply download a white noise app onto your phone. Babies accustom to sleeping in dark environments will benefit from a travel black out shade, or in a pinch, you can hang a sheet or towel over a window (put the tacks in the top of the window sill so they’re hidden!). And make sure you bring your baby’s sheets, and swaddle blankets or sleep sacks so they can enjoy the comforts of home while they sleep.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, sticking to a schedule is impossible. The airline schedule may not be accommodating and if traveling between time zones, you’re all sure to be a bit off. Similarly, your baby may or may not sleep well on the go. There’s only so much we can do to create a healthy sleep environment on an airplane or in the car. Just be prepared to ride the wave and regroup when you land. Keep in mind that if your baby is well rested 99% of time time, they should be able to more easily tolerate a bumpy travel day. Once you reach your final destination, do your best to apply the tips above and enjoy a change in scenery.
Lauren studied under Deborah Pedrick, a pioneer in the field and founder of the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) and International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. She is thrilled to be able to educate families on the importance of sleep and to empower parents with the knowledge and ability to teach their kids to love sleep as much as her girls do!