travel, Urban Mama

Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

November 15, 2017
Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

*This post was sponsored by Johnson’s and all opinions are my own. Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

One of the most difficult parts of traveling with a baby is managing sleep. When I say traveling, I’m talking about long weekends at the cottage, weekends in New York City, a week on the beach and everything in between. A tired baby means a cranky baby and a grumpy Mummy & Daddy. When baby doesn’t sleep, parents don’t sleep and we all know that a lack of sleep can be catastrophic for everyone. 

As with parenting in general, this sleep element is essentially an experiment, but over the past year of traveling with my little man (and after a sleepless cottage weekend), I’ve landed on 3 main principles of baby sleep while traveling.

Create A Sleep Environment

When we first arrive at our accommodations, we set up the baby’s sleep area. Whether it is our own pack ‘n’ play or a hotel crib, we make sure that it is in the darkest area of the room and cover any bright windows. If we are sleeping in the same room as the baby, we will cover the sides of the crib with a sheet or a blanket so that he can’t see us. We set up an iPad with an app that plays white noise and doubles as a portable baby monitor. When we get back from our day out, the baby’s bed is all ready to go and we have created the optimal environment for C to get some sleep.

Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling 2

Maintain Your Sleep Routine…ish

Although this can be a tricky one, we try to maintain C’s bedtime routine as much as we can. With so much going on during the day in a new destination, we want to calm him down before he goes to sleep. We do bath, bottle, bed, as we would at home but where possible we give him a bath with soothing JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby bath and massage him with JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby lotion. The gentle and calming aromas help calm an overstimulated baby boy. The fact that they are also paraben free, phthalate free, pediatrician and dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic, helps. After his bath and/or massage, he has his bottle and then goes to bed. This familiar routine helps him feel comfortable and much more likely to sleep even though we are away from home. Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling 

Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

Be Flexible On Naps

I’ve said it before and I will say it forever: traveling with a baby requires flexibility. It’s hard to facilitate naps while on the road. If your baby is still on two or three naps, it is very inconvenient to return back to the hotel every hour or so. It can also cut into your good time which is just annoying.

While touring a new city, we’ve prompted naps by giving C a bottle while in the baby carrier. He falls asleep in that little cocoon against our bodies so we can be on the move while he sleeps. The same goes for a stroller. Although C only sleeps in the stroller if he is exhausted, some babies love napping in the stroller and the movement can act as a way to soothe baby into sleep.  Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling 

Baby in the Big Apple - 17

But, as is continually true with parenting, just when you think you have something figured out, babies change. As they get older, their napping habits change, and you will need to modify your tactics for every part of their day-to-day activities. Whatever you do, remember to stay flexible and most of all, enjoy yourself when traveling with baby: You’re creating new and exciting memories together.

Managing Baby Sleep While Traveling

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  • Reply Bill November 17, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Totally agree on the flexibility with naps. We took our 4 month old to Switzerland and France and we didn’t worry as much about how long a nap was or how many he got. We just made sure that when he got tired to strap him on facing in and let him get some sleep.

    I also think it was important that as soon as we landed and were in a new time zone we got an ideal day schedule set and started feeding him on it. We also didn’t let him nap too long the first couple of days and made sure he got sunlight during his 2 hour (max!) wakeful window; even if we were tired and wanted to sleep ourselves. It helped reset him and we only had 2 nights with overnight wakings.

    • Reply Natalie Preddie November 18, 2017 at 2:16 am

      That’s awesome! Sounds like you figured it out. As long as he slept, he was happy? Has it gotten easier as he has gotten older?

      • Reply Bill November 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        He has a harder time staying asleep when out, but we end up just going with more naps. I think putting him in daycare and having him not be able to take the long naps like he does at home but then still have good night sleep has allowed us to relax a little on his schedule and not be so worried when he shorts a nap. We know we can always get another short nap later if we want and it won’t mess with overnights or set us up for a bad day the next day.

        Of course this all changes the older he gets. We will see what happens when he is almost 1 and we go to Italy

  • Reply Sunil Muraleedharan November 21, 2017 at 8:16 am

    You are absolutely right. It’s not about how long the baby had slept. It’s about how often. Whenever he feels sleepy, You must find a way to facilitate his sleep.

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