Many of us will be busy planning our summer vacations, if we haven’t already, and those of us with a baby in the family may be stressing just a little more than others. Taking a baby away can seem daunting because there is just so much to remember! Its not just the packing either (although that can take on a life of its own) but its the little things too. How will you keep baby happy on the journey? How will you manage travel sickness? How many changes of clothes do you really need? And then, of course there is the huge question: how will baby sleep while we’re away? Hopefully this post will be of use when it comes to helping baby sleep while away on vacation!
First of all, going on vacation is great fun. It’s lovely to be able to get away from it all for a week or two and break out from the usual humdrum of every day life. But what about baby’s routine? Especially if you’ve only just got said baby into a routine? What then? Don’t panic. Accept a few things. Going away might well upset baby’s routine. You might find yourself with an unsettled baby for a night or two either once you arrive at your destination, or when you return home. Remember that these disruptions are easily fixed and also there are a few things that you can do to minimise the disruptions too.
- Don’t be afraid to relax your routine. Once you are home and back in familiar surroundings there is a very good chance that your baby will fall back into normal sleeping habits once more. If not, you’ll just need to repeat your sleep training methods. But don’t feel you can’t adjust things a little while you’re away.
- Stick to your general routine as much as you can, but be flexible. So if baby usually naps at 1pm but you are busy swimming at that time, then don’t cut the fun short. Naps that are half an hour later than normal won’t hurt anyone. As long as you put baby down before he/ she becomes over tired, there shouldn’t be a problem.
- Allow for longer naps if baby is sleeping outside, or if you’ve had a busier than usual day. Let baby sleep a little longer if it suits your plans. It won’t hurt.
- If baby does sleep a little longer during the day, it may be possible to extend bedtime to a little later too. If this is the case, and you want baby to stay up a little later, watch for signs of tiredness and start your usual bedtime routine as soon as you feel baby is ready.
Keeping cool and shady
It can be difficult getting baby to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings at the best of times, but when it is hot and sticky this can be even more tricky. Take a look at our previous post on helping baby to sleep safely in the summer. Find as much shade as you can and keep rooms well ventilated. If you’re staying in a hotel, ask for a fan or air conditioning to keep sleeping conditions as cool as possible.
Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed
Even adults can find it hard to sleep in an unfamiliar bed with strange surroundings, so don’t be surprised if your little one has trouble too. The trick here is to try and make things as familiar as possible.
- If you can, take a travel cot with you that baby has used before.
- Take some blankets/ sheets with you that have a familiar smell to them, and that baby usually sleeps in at home.
- Take your baby’s favourite lovey with you for familiarity.
- Try to keep as many of your same sleep cues as you can: read the same story, sing the same song, have a bath etc. All in the same order as you do at home.
If all else fails, accept that you’re in for a tricky night or two. Remember your sleep training methods and stay calm. Baby will sleep eventually, and hopefully you can catch up by the pool the next day!