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.
From a mom to a mom, here are some tips to help baby sleep anywhere; techniques that worked for both my babies in Costa Rica, Italy, and beyond.
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.
Pack the Plush
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
Kim Tobin says
Great tips! I’m often reluctant to take any big trips with my son because I’m scared he won’t get enough rest but a little planning will go a long way!
These are great tips! My husband and I used a few of these when we went to visit his family over Christmas. Some I hadn’t even thought of! I will definitely be coming back to this one 🙂
Also, love the new site!
Great to hear, Chelsea. I’m glad to know that some of these baby sleeping tricks are things other mamas find to work too. Happy to supply you with some new ideas as well. Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you and your family had a great new year!
Kassi @ Truly Lovely says
Great list of tips!! We’ve done some traveling the first few months of my daughter’s life and a few of these have definitely come in handy for us!!!
Isn’t it fun tackling the first family trips with babies? It’s almost mind-boggling trying to make sure you pack all the essentials without over packing, but fun to actually be in transit and take all kinds of “baby’s 1st” photos. Hope you found a few new tips for your next family adventure.
Great tips! I find when we travel, we always end up with all the kids sleeping with us in our bed – which is a little annoying, but they don’t settle well straight away when in new places
These tips are right on! We never leave home without the loveys for my babies to snuggle with and we always bring the bedtime music (a Fernando Ortega album is our favorite). The only tip I would add is if your baby is used to sleeping alone, make sure he or she can’t see you from their crib! I’ve draped a thin blanket over the outside of the pack & play so that we weren’t visible to our little one while we slept in a hotel bed.
That’s a super helpful tip, Gabby! I drape blankets over the crib in the cry room at church all the time when I try to put my baby to nap there. Most of the time he still won’t sleep, but it is important to block their view of mommy and daddy. In fact, last week my husband joined me in the cry room and peeked behind the blanket to see our son. Instant cryfest ensued and he wound up sleeping in daddy’s arms.
Keri @ Growing in His Glory says
These are good tips. We’ve traveled several times with family with babies and small children, and it is tough! Especially when family members can’t stand to hear your baby cry, but you know she has to before she falls asleep. My husband’s grandmother actually went into our baby’s room and picked her up when she was crying. I was livid. So, being upfront with relatives about how your baby needs to sleep is very important!
That same thing happens to us too, Keri. We always ask babysitters and family members not to enter our sleeping kiddos’ rooms unless they’ve cried for a few minutes or sound like they’re in danger, but they don’t always follow instructions 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience. Glad to know I’m not the only one making high “demands” on the sitters, haha.