Potentially ruining your babies sleep routine while on holiday is a REALITY but could feel like a disaster.
That unique routine you have been perfecting all year round. Try not to let this scare you, we all need this wonderful family time
however stressful or easy it may be.
There are three kinds of situations
1. We find parents that will keep strictly to their comfortable routine and feel quite stressed about any changes.
2. Others that make it little more flexible knowing they might pay the price later in terms of their little ones sleep.
3. The go with the flow parent.
The good news is, all is not lost! If you have a good or bad sleeper on your holiday, your little one should adapt quickly once you are home safely.
Is your little one newly sleep trained?!
Then I would suggest postponing your holiday plans with a few weeks, to allow your little one to master their new found ability. If this is not an option, all holiday plans are paid for and you have no way of getting out of it, try not to throw away all your new achievements. While we can expect a slight sleep regression because of the new environment and activities, try not to go back to old sleep associations that have improved. Allow for extra comfort, but find other ways that wont backslide to where you started. Depending on your sleep training method, try to reapply the same strategy if needed in your travels.
Every mama knows travelling light is not an option with a baby, here is a list of the essentials we would recommend taking with you for good holiday sleep:
To avoid your long-awaited holiday becoming a sleep disaster and having a difficult overtired baby.
Here are 6 expert sleep hacks to avoid sleep deprivation on your holiday:
- Plan ahead : Follow your child’s routine regarding feeding and sleep. Scheduling your travel time in your baby’s sleep routine works well, so your little one can take their naps while you are driving to your destination. The day you travel, baby will take short naps throughout the journey and thats absolutely fine. Remember to add a few extra stops to feed, let baby kick around a little and play. Try to arrive a few hours before bedtime. It will work in your favour if your little one can get used to the new environment and sleep space. Having plenty of time before bedtime will make you feel more relaxed and by having time your little one could have a good meal before bedtime too. If the naps did not work out well, remember to make bedtime a little earlier and try to keep to your bedtime ritual. This recreates familiarity.
- The next day try to be low key in activities and get back on track with their routine so baby can make up lost sleep.
- Feels like home: Creating a familiar sleep environment will give your little one the best chance to fall asleep. Make the room as dark as possible with travel blockout blinds or black refuse bags, you do not want your baby to wake during the early morning hours. If your little one is used to sleeping in their own room and its possible for your baby to have their own room on holiday, first prize. If not, then explain to your little one about this new holiday sleep favour and once we are back home, things will go back to normal. Keep your same loving boundaries, even when room sharing. If there is a clever way you can create a divider in the room, that could be helpful too. Use your white noise machine or an app on your phone, remember it should be 60-65 DB loud according to Dr Harvey Karp.
- Soft toy Lovey. Do not forget your soft toy lovey, they can help immensely with comfort in a strange place. Remember not to wash the lovey as it must smell like home….This goes with baby bedding too, use the same sheets you have used at home and do not wash them before the holiday so they can also smell like sleep.
- Prioritise naps, and arrange fun activities around them. YES , but…find a happy balance. You do not want to feel trapped by your little ones naps and by allowing them to ONLY take little catnaps or not having naps at all throughout the day can cause meltdowns and overnight wakings. Some days prioritise naps and other days prioritise fun for the whole family. Having a balance is best.
- Wind down: A wind down is a little ritual that you can have with your little one before each nap. If your 3 steps before bedtime is, taking your baby to their room, dark and quiet, read a book, listen to a song etc have lots of cuddles and enjoy your 10-15 min of one on one bonding time, this will also help your baby get ready for sleep.
- Sleepy sac: Dress your baby for the climate. Having a sleeping sac helps with those cold days and for hotter days. Its still important to have the temperature at 18-22 degrees if possible. There are various togs available. A sleepy sac can prevent your little one from overheating, or feel too cold and cause wake ups. **Overheating is not safe for your baby. A sleepy sac also acts as a sleep cue, you can use it to help baby sleep well on an airplane too combined with their lovey.
- It might take a few nights before your little one accepts this new environment. You can also take a seat next to the cot and see if your little one might not accept your closeness and fall asleep on their own, try as little intervention from your side if you know your little one can self settle back to sleep.
If your out and about and want to catch a bite to eat, try to organise these outings in between the most important nap times, we generally say the lunch time nap is the most restorative nap of the day for your little one to have in their familiar sleep environment that you have created. So a breakfast and late lunch is the best time for these outings.
A few extra sleep hacks travelling with a toddler:
- Take those nifty bed rails that slide easily under a mattress and move the bed next to a wall OR we love this toddler airbed that folds up nicely!
- Try not to let your toddler have a too late bedtime, it can catch up on them very quickly, try to stick to a good bedtime.
Let us know if you tried any of these sleepy hacks while travelling in the comments below, or tag us in your holiday sleep adventures!
Happy Holidays xxx