How you can travel with your baby and get all of the sleep you need.
A guide to having your bed and sleeping in it too.
In my son's two little years he has been on more airplanes than I can count. There have been times that he has averaged at least one round trip flight a month. We travel a lot. The main reason is because we live far away from family and friends. This doesn't even include the weekend car trips we take...which happens pretty often too. We are a family on the move! That said, I have a lot of personal experience that comes with traveling and have put all of my sleep consulting travel tips to the test. I've rounded up my top three for you. I first wrote these for a lady I love over at Busy Little Bee. You can find it under the resources tab. If you're a Fairfield County mom and haven't been to this site yet I would recommend checking it out!
1. Bring something familiar from home. If your child sleeps with a lovey (a special blanket or stuffed animal) then bring it! If she doesn’t I would recommend trying to introduce one for future travels. You can also bring pajamas, a sleep sack or even crib sheets that are unwashed so that they still smell like home. This is a good one for babies who are not old enough for lovies yet (American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until babies are one year to put anything into the crib with them).
2. Try your best to stick to your child's normal schedule. Skipping naps will almost definitely result in a night with a lot of wake-ups or an early morning wake up the next day. A normal routine will also provide her with a sense of security in a day full of new and exciting experiences.
3. If your child is sleeping in the same room as you create some kind of physical barrier between her crib and you. You might have to get creative for this one! I recommend packing an extra sheet and some painters tape, push pins, or a clothesline. You are trying to prevent her from rolling over half asleep at 3am, have her little eyes flutter open for a second, and realize her favorite people are right next to her and it is time to party.
The only tip I would add would be to try to stay relaxed. A year or so back, when I was worrying about an upcoming trip with my son, my friend reminded me that sometimes things don't go as planned and that is when we teach flexibility. I wouldn't want to count on this every day of a vacation, but last night when our flight was delayed a couple hours, then they kept us on the ground for an hour and then we didn't get home until midnight - we were just rolling with the punches. Mostly I kept him happy with any trick I could come up with (ok, with downloaded movies and snacks), stayed calm when he was fussy, and just got him to bed as soon as I could. Today is about long naps, an early bedtime, and getting back on routine.
Happy travels to all of the other mamas, dads and babies on the move.