Snuggling up for a well-deserved rest is top priority for the wearied traveler. That’s hard to do if your baby doesn’t want to cooperate. Every parent who has traveled with a baby knows how important it is to make sure baby can sleep anywhere.
By the time my daughter was a year old, she’d slept in more than nine beds on three continents. My husband and I quickly learned a few tricks to keep our little darling cozied up and sleeping like a pro when we traveled.
When possible, schedule your family to arrive at your destination in the afternoon. This way, baby has time to adjust to his surroundings alongside mom and dad. Let him explore his room and try out his sleeping quarters by putting him to nap in the afternoon before bedtime arrives. Think of it as a bedtime test-drive.
Employ the Usual Bedtime Routine
Babies need consistency to feel secure in new surroundings. Try to run through the same bedtime routine you use at home to help baby sleep when you travel.
Book your hotel stay in advance and ask for a crib. Most hotels will gladly oblige at no extra charge. When my family traveled through Italy, Summer was eight months old. Thankfully, a hotel we booked online was able to accommodate our family with a playpen sleeping area for baby.
Mimic Baby’s Nursery
Try to make baby’s sleep quarters similar to his nursery at home. If he’s accustomed to darkness at bedtime, draw the curtains. Bring a nightlight or crack open the door if he rests better with light. If baby normally sleeps with background street noise, download a white noise file on your phone and set it right inside the door. Once baby is asleep you can easily snatch back the phone. Our daughter has listened to a lullaby worship CD since birth, and when we forgot the disc at my parents’ house more than a year ago, I’d wished we had downloaded it to my phone.
Ensure Baby’s Comfort
Keep baby warm. Investigate the weather conditions at your destination and pack accordingly. Tuck baby into bed in breathable pajamas, a wearable blanket, or even just in layered day clothes, depending on the temperature of the room.
Fill His Tummy
Put baby to bed with a full tummy. Your baby will rest well if he is satisfied, but not overfed. After he’s full, burp him right before laying him down to be sure he doesn’t have any gas that might cause him discomfort.
Packing baby’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket is a great way to help him greet his new bed in comfort. Of course, if your child is too small to sleep with plush toys, opt instead for a blanket that smells like home.
The first night arriving in a new local it is easier to get your baby to sleep if you’re nearby. If he’s accustomed to hearing your voice in the next room, oblige him by sticking around at least while he’s falling asleep. Don’t plan to go out unless you’re certain baby will fall asleep and remain calm even if he should awaken to the face of his sitter rather than of mom or dad.
Let relatives know how to best prepare for your arrival. Hosts will be pleased to provide for guests’ needs and to know what to expect when you arrive. Be honest and share with your hosts about what bedtime might look like so that they’re not surprised when you step out to night-night the little one.
Traveling with babies is rewarding and a whole lot of fun. If you’re flexible and willing to work at it, getting baby to sleep anywhere isn’t as hard as you might think. Pack your bags, enjoy your trip, and give it a try! I’d love to hear your own advice about helping your baby sleep in new surroundings. Please share your tips below in the comments so we can all benefit!
Check out these similar articles:
- Infant Travel Essentials I and II
- Tips to Help Baby Adjust to a New Home
- Tips for Travel with Small Children