Traveling with a baby isn’t easy. Just going to the store with your baby can be a challenge, but what about traveling across time zones with your baby? That could seem impossible. Just preparing your baby for travel packing their clothes, toys, food, diapers, and other supplies is enough to make most new mothers decide to stay home. But the real issue lies in the changes in your baby’s sleep pattern due to jet lag.
Think about it. When you travel into different time zones you feel jet lag. As an adult, you either push through it or sleep it off. Your baby won’t be able to adjust so easily. If you’re in the middle of sleep training it’s even more challenging. But it’s not impossible.
With a little determination and preparation, you can handle a big trip with your baby. Just because you change time zones and both experience a little jet lag doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain the sleep skills you have been working so hard to help your baby develop.
Follow these tips to keep up with your baby’s sleep training schedule:
Avoid Red-Eye Flights
As much as you would like to believe that you can board the plane after your baby’s bedtime and have them sleep through the entire flight, that’s not likely to happen. The change in scenery, routine, and movement are just a few things that will keep your baby up while you travel.
Then, rather than getting a few hours of sleep on your flight, you’ll be up all night trying to calm your baby and when you arrive at your destination you will be stressed and exhausted.
Instead, opt for a daytime flight where you and your baby can take a nap without the expectation of a full night’s rest.
Traveling is one of the few times when you should give in to many of your baby’s requests. If they want an extra snack, to watch TV, or anything else you might say no to at home, now’s the time to give in. Keep your baby happy with her favorite toys, books, and anything else that you can fit in your carry on. Make sure to keep healthy snacks with you too.
Stick to Your Bedtime Routine
As challenging as it may be, you’ll want to stick to your normal bedtime routine as best as you can during your trip. The predictability of the routine will help your baby fall asleep faster and actually stay asleep during the night.
Use Sunlight to Your Advantage
Sunlight can actually increase melatonin production which helps keep your baby’s sleep routine normalized. Spending a lot of time outside during the day can help to get your baby back to a relatively normal routine faster than if you stayed inside and allowed her to sleep through the jet lag.
Add an Extra Nap to Your Baby’s Routine
Traveling is not only tiring for you, but your baby will be sleepier throughout the day, as well. Adding in an additional nap to your daily routine will help prevent your baby from becoming overtired. You’ll just want to make sure that the extra nap is at least three hours before bedtime to prevent it from interfering with your routine.
Make the Bedtime Routine as Familiar as Possible
Bring your baby’s favorite blanket, stuffed animal, pajamas, and anything else that will remind them of being at home. The more at home they feel, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep.
Traveling with your baby won’t be easy, but if you follow these suggestions it’s totally doable.