Have Baby Will Travel: Tips for Traveling with Infants
by Carolynne Harvey, founder of Dream Baby Sleep
Parents often tell me that one of their greatest concerns when traveling with little ones is that their baby won’t sleep. Please don’t let that keep you from booking your next trip. Putting these five tips into action will help you get plenty of rest, so you can relax, enjoy your hard-earned vacation and make lasting memories together with your family:
Recreate their room at home
If your baby is used to sleeping with a sleep sack, white noise machine, pacifier, or lovey, be sure to bring these items along with you. It may seem like a lot of stuff, but everything you can do to make her sleep space resemble the one she’s used to will help her sleep better in a new environment.
Pro tip: if you’re staying in a hotel that’s providing a crib, call the front desk ahead of time and ask them to text or e-mail you a picture of it. If the hotel only has a Pack ‘n Play available, consider renting a real crib through a company such as BabysAway at your destination.
For Airbnbs, pack at least two black lawn garbage bags and painters tape. You can use them to temporarily cover the windows without causing any damage to the walls.
Make a sleep nook
If your baby or toddler is used to sleeping in her own room at home, she’d ideally have her own space during your trip, too. But of course, that’s not always possible.
You still have a few options to help create a separate sleep area even if you’re in a shared room. One option is putting the baby’s crib in a well-ventilated bathroom or walk-in closet with the door cracked. You could also try positioning a desk chair between the crib and your bed, with the back facing the crib to break the line of sight.
During your trip, naps may be off. This is fine, but it’s more important to plan for an early bedtime. Especially when traveling, expect bedtime to be 30 to 60 minutes earlier than normal. An earlier bedtime will allow your baby to make up for any lost daytime sleep during the night.
And when planning your travel days, don’t worry too much about timing your flight around your baby’s naptime. Instead, try to book a departure that doesn’t interrupt your baby’s normal wake time in the morning.
Reserve child-care in advance
Just because your baby’s in bed by 6 p.m. doesn’t mean you have to sit in a dark room all night, too. Mom and Dad should have some fun! Plan to stay at a family-friendly hotel with onsite child-care providers who are licensed and bonded
Be sure to schedule the babysitter well in advance since they often book up, especially during busy travel times of the year.
Remember, it’s your vacation, and you should enjoy it, too.
Get back on track at home
Things are going to be different with sleep when you’re traveling with a baby – and that’s okay. In order to avoid creating new habits, though, be sure to return to the way things were as soon as you get home. Perhaps your baby took a nap in the car seat or stroller most days during your trip. So once you’re back home, return to having your baby nap in her crib if that’s what you normally do.
It may take your baby a few days to get back on track, but as long as you remain consistent with returning to your routine then your baby will soon adjust accordingly.
Carolynne Harvey is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant whose goal is to give your family the gift of healthy sleep. As the Founder of Dream Baby Sleep® and a formerly sleep deprived parent who broke every rule in the book.
The Mother Company is on a mission to Help Parents Raise Good People. We do this with our children’s Emmy-winning television series Ruby’s Studio, a series of preschool and early educational picture books, free teacher guides, musicand more, all about social and emotional learning. We also have TellStella, a digital service that connects parents to parenting experts via text-and-talk for one-on-one support and guidance around all parenting topics for kids 0- 18+.
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