Travelling with a Baby
Travelling with kids can often feel like the only thing that has changed is the location! Kids still need to be fed, bathed and well rested which can make it feel like your holiday isn’t really, well, a holiday.
On more than one occasion I have had families I’ve worked with ask if they should cancel their travel plans as they really really really don’t want to disrupt their child’s routine. They especially do not want the travel to take them back to the land of sleepless nights (and days!).
Here, you will find our tried and tested sleep tips and products for travelling as a family –
- Have flexibility.
Yep, take all that pressure off yourself for your holidays to look the same as your home routine. Holidays are a break in our day to day norms. Sure, your baby will still need to sleep, but if they only have one nap instead of two so that you can enjoy a day at the beach or if they go to bed at 9pm so that you can enjoy dinner out, try and be ok with it. Your baby will get back on track (especially if strong foundations are set before you leave).
- Make sure you ask the right questions when booking your accommodation.
If you plan on using the portacots that the hotel or villa supply, please make sure you ask for them to send you all the details about it AND send you a picture of it set up. I can’t tell you how many times families have contacted me saying that they got to their accomodation (after being told they had safe portacots) and had no choice but to leave their baby in an unsafe, uncomfortable sleep space. If you prefer to take your own (like we do!), we recommend the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot. You can purchase it HERE.
There are a few different ways your baby will adjust to sleeping in a portacot. The first is for the babies who can adapt quite easily and aren’t too fussed with change. For these babies, just put them in their portacot while on holiday! For the babies who need a bit of warning that things are about to change, your best bet is to have them sleep in their portacot for a few nights before you leave.
If you have a baby who is used to sleeping in their own bedroom, try and keep this up while you are away. We understand that sometimes this just isn’t possible, so if you find yourself in a situation where your baby is too overstimulated sharing a room with you, there’s always the bathroom – seriously, that’s where we put my son when we had a studio hotel room in Bali!
- Throw all your rules out when travelling on a plane.
Yep, flying with a baby can be a stressful time. The last thing we want is to add to the stress by trying to keep all our routines and schedules. If you need to feed or rock your baby to sleep on a plane, then go for it. For the sake of your sanity, do what you need to do. I always suggest packing a couple of dummies – even if your baby doesn’t use them at home! Our son hasn’t had a dummy since he was 4 months old. We went to Bali when he was 8 months old, and he sucked on that thing non stop during take off and landing!
- Try and make your baby’s sleep environment like home.
There are really great products on the market to help our kids sleep well when away. The main things we want to focus on are –
- A dark room. The Gro Blackout Blinds are compact enough to take with you and be confident in knowing sleep time will be nice and dark. Grab some HERE
- A sound machine. We have a spare iphone we use to play music for our son’s sleep, but there is also an excellent portable option called the Marpac Rohm which you can find HERE
- Your child’s sleeping bag and comforter
- Keep your bedtime routine
If you have a baby who sleeps really well, you probably have a bedtime routine you do directly before bedtime. A sequence of events that lasts about 20 minutes that cues your baby’s brain that sleep is on it’s way.
Being consistent with what you do at home will help your baby to recognise the predictability of what’s about to come next. So even if the environment is different, the bedtime routine will be their reminder that it’s nearly time for sleep.
- Get onto your new time zone straight away.
This can take a couple of days, so allow a grace period for everyone to adjust. Get your baby out into daylight in the morning and inside a couple of hours before bed, darkening the space, so that their circadian rhythm adjusts to the new destination’s timezone.
- It’s ok to nap on the go.
It’s perfectly ok for the routine to be a little out of whack while on holidays. If that means that your baby has to have their nap in a pram – it’s no big deal. The nap might not be it’s usul length, but the memories being made are what you will really remember. If you wish to help the pram dark AND airy, the Cozigo is a must have. You can find more info on these HERE.
- Going back to old habits.
If you find yourself feeding your baby back to sleep or you have an extra child in the bed, try not to worry that this is how it’s going to be forever! Once you are home, simply go back to the way it was pre-holiday. Allow a few nights for the change, but remain consistent!
*Image from Pinterest