For many families, summertime means vacation time. Your older kids are out of school, and you’re able to take some time off from work to escape and relax. However, when you’re taking a summer vacation with a baby, traveling can be more frustrating than you expect. Their sleep schedule and naptime routine can be disrupted, which can make for a not-so-relaxing vacation.
We’re here to help! Check out our travel sleep tips for babies before your next vacation, so the whole family can rest, relax, and have fun on your trip.
Recreate your baby’s home sleep environment… and practice
Whether you decide on a travel bassinet or hotel crib, don’t forget other sleep accessories that might make your baby feel more at home. Bring your own crib sheets, blankets and toys. If you use a white noise machine in their nursery at home, bring that too if possible, or a portable version with similar sounds. Once you’ve decided on what to bring, practice! Stash the bassinet or crib overnight at Grandma and Grandpa’s so you can observe how your baby sleeps in a different environment. Then you can tweak it if needed before your vacation.
Be consistent with nap and sleep schedules
Vacation means you’re taking a break from your daily life for a little bit, but that doesn’t mean all rules should go out the window. Especially when it comes to upholding your baby’s sleep schedule! Try to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible. If your toddler naps once or twice a day, try to set aside blocks of time for her to do that. Don’t plan activities for that time period. Or, sneak naps in during low-key activities like sightseeing or walking around town, when your baby can take a quick nap while in their stroller, car seat or carrier. (Just be sure their nap isn’t too long. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moving babies to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible.)
Make bedtime the same time as often as possible. If you must skip a nap because of travel arrangements or other circumstances, don’t stress about it. Vacation schedules won’t work exactly like your regular schedules, and that’s okay.
Have patience and don’t give up
When your baby doesn’t seem to be adapting while on vacation, it can be tempting to give up and cut your vacation short. It’s okay! You can plan ahead and be as prepared as you can be, and your baby may just not sleep as well as she usually does at home. Try to stick with it, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Eventually your baby will adjust and get some sleep. You will, too.
Getting your baby to sleep regularly and soundly can be tough for parents and families, even more so while on vacation. If you find that you need help with sleep training before or after your vacation, reach out to Maternal Instincts. Our sleep specialists and night nannies can give you the support you need to help you and your baby rest.