9 TIPS TO MANAGE BABY SLEEP AND ROUTINES WHEN GOING ON HOLIDAYS
Author: Karen Faulkner, Nuture Parenting
Nothing is more disheartening than taking a long awaited vacation to find your baby’s sleep has well and truly derailed. You invested time and a lot of effort getting your baby to sleep well at home. Mum and Dad on returning home to a new pattern of sleepless nights are left feeling like they need a holiday again! As a baby sleep consultant of 19 years and a registered midwife of 29 years’ I am regularly asked by my clients, how to manage baby sleep and routines when going on holiday. My top tips are below!
1. If you have to use a travel cot then buy the comfiest and most roomy travel cot that you can. Travel cots have very thin mattresses and often have metal bars underneath. Check the CHOICE magazine reviews on travel cots, which ones are the best and safest. Practice using them at home. Remember it takes 7-10 days to change a routine. Use for day sleeps and night sleeps. It may be worth padding underneath the mattress with blankets. Remember though it must be a firm flat surface as per SIDS guidelines.
2. Take babies current cot sheet with you and don’t wash it. The familiar scent will help them.
3. Have a plan. If you are planning to visit several family members and friends on your trip then try and have one base and either get them to travel to you. Having one sleep place can really make such a difference. Babies and children dislike change and will sleep better in the same sleep place. If family members get upset offer to stay at their home next year.
4. One of the best ways to fit in a nap and also make the flight stress-free is to book a flight or do a road trip during your baby’s regular nap-time. If your flight lands during the day, stick to your baby’s routine as much as possible. The CoziGo can be used as an airline bassinet cover to help with naps on the plane, while also reducing their exposure to in- flight germs!
5. Make daytime naps a priority. Missing out on daytime naps can spell bedtime disaster. Once they’re overtired at bedtime they probably won’t eat their evening meal and bedtime will be a screaming battleground. A great way to ensure this happens is to use the CoziGo as a pram shade, which will help your baby get to sleep quicker and increase nap time significantly.
6. Set your baby’s body clock by exposing them to sunlight in the morning. Going out for a walk helps produce more melatonin to help with getting to sleep at bedtime.
7. Routines are important and create security. Stick to your baby’s mealtimes, bedtime routine and his sleep times. Respond to tired signs rather than stretching sleep out.
8. Is the sleep environment dark and cool? The darker it is the better, as darkness triggers the neurotransmitter Melatonin helping your baby get to sleep and stay asleep. It may be worth taking a roll of tinfoil to put on the windows of wherever you’re staying. It’s really easy to apply tin foil. All you need to do is stick to the window with masking tape and voila a very dark bedroom! Too easy, lemon squeezy. It also needs to be cool, again tinfoil will help keep the room cool. If baby is too hot they can’t sleep. Electric fans can be a godsend to cool the room temperature and circulate air.
9. If these tips are failing, then your babies health may not be at its best. Travel often leads to snotty noses and leaves babies full of a head cold. Make sure you leave home prepared with this nifty little Nasal Aspirator. Our little ones can't blow their own noses, so this electrical aspirator for newborns, babies, toddlers and preschoolers is a safe, easy, natural solution for treatment of colds, flu, sinus, allergies and teething-related congestion.