Traveling with a baby can be both exciting and challenging, especially when you want to maintain their sleep schedule. With friends and relatives eager to see the little one and so many engaging activities during your trip, it’s tempting to let the schedule slide. However, as pediatric sleep consultants, we strongly advise sticking to the routine as closely as possible to ensure your baby stays well-rested and continues with their healthy sleep habits.
With some strategic planning and determination, you can maintain your carefully orchestrated sleep routine just like you did at home.
1. Handling Travel:
If you’re considering sleep training your little one and have a trip coming up, it might be best to wait until after you return. On the other hand, if you’ve already started the process, fear not! While traveling won’t likely improve your baby’s sleep, you can minimize disruptions by maintaining some semblance of normalcy until the trip concludes. Once you’re back home, it’ll be easier to get back into the groove.
For road trips, try scheduling your driving time around your baby’s nap schedule. Although car naps are not ideal, they are better than no naps at all. If possible, plan stops at parks or outdoor attractions along your route, so your little one can get some fresh air before the next nap.
Flying with a baby can be challenging, and it’s okay to do whatever it takes to keep them content during the flight. While trying to get them to sleep on the plane might lead to frustration, allowing them to engage in activities they enjoy can make the journey more manageable for both of you.
2. Navigating Family and Friends:
After arriving at your destination, a different set of challenges may arise. While everyone is understanding and supportive during the travel phase, things can change when you’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Relatives and friends will be eager to interact with your baby, leading to potential overstimulation.
To protect your baby’s sleep schedule, don’t hesitate to set boundaries firmly but politely. Inform them of when they can expect baby time based on the schedule, and kindly ask them to respect those times.
3. Sleep Environment:
Alright, so you’ve mustered the courage to stand firm on your baby’s schedule, and everyone is aware of your plan. She’s been taking her naps at the right times, and now it’s bedtime. The only challenge is that with all the company staying over, there’s only one room available for you and the baby.
Now, you might think bed-sharing for a few nights won’t hurt, but remember, the key is to minimize deviations from the normal routine as much as possible. Babies can become quite attached to co-sleeping in just one night, which may impact their sleep patterns in the long run.
We know this might sound a bit unconventional, but here’s a simple suggestion if you find yourself sharing a room: Create two separate spaces.
Now, we are not suggesting you start remodeling the house or anything like that. Instead, you can improvise. Consider hanging a blanket, setting up a dressing screen, or, yes, as unusual as it may sound, using the closet as a sleep area for your baby. Wait, before you dismiss the idea, hear me out! A decent-sized closet can actually be a fantastic spot for your baby to sleep. It’s dark, quiet, and provides a cozy and distraction-free environment. Being away from your direct line of sight can help your baby doze off more easily, and the comings and goings of people in the room are less likely to disturb her.
Remember, it’s all about finding creative solutions to preserve your baby’s sleep routine even in the face of holiday gatherings. So, don’t be afraid to get a little inventive and make the most of the available space to ensure your baby gets the rest she needs. Happy holidays and sweet dreams for your little one!
4. Avoid Sleep Props:
While it might be tempting to use sleep props like pacifiers or rocking to soothe your baby during the holidays, it’s best to refrain from doing so. Babies can quickly become dependent on these props, leading to frequent night awakenings and disrupted sleep for everyone.
5. Overcoming Embarrassment:
Sometimes, parents may feel embarrassed about sticking to their baby’s sleep schedule, especially in the presence of family and friends. Remember that you’re doing this for the well-being of your baby and your family. Your baby’s health and sleep are of utmost importance, and it’s okay to prioritize that.
6. Familiarity is Key:
When packing for the trip, don’t forget to bring along your baby’s favourite blanket, lovie, and sleeping clothes. These familiar items will remind them of their cozy sleeping environment at home, helping them feel more at ease in their new surroundings.
As a superhero parent, you have the power to defend your baby’s precious sleep. Stand tall and don’t be discouraged by any misconceptions or judgments. You’re on a noble mission to provide your baby with the best possible sleep during the holidays and beyond. Embrace your role, wear that invisible cape with pride, and let nothing stand in the way of your baby’s well-deserved rest.
By planning ahead, communicating your needs, and staying consistent, you can enjoy the holidays while safeguarding your baby’s sleep routine. Remember, you’ve got this, and your baby will be well-rested and ready to take on any holiday adventure that comes their way! Happy holidays and sleep tight!
Your Sleep Consultants NAP,
Cristina & Meriame