Brave Little Baby

Winter Holiday Sleep Survival Guide

You’ve put in a lot of effort at home to make sure your child gets enough sleep, or your child naps really well at daycare and now you’re about to go on holiday…

Whether you’re eagerly packing for that long-awaited European adventure or simply taking a well-deserved break while school’s out, we want you to know that you deserve this time off! As you embark on your winter holiday journey, we’ve gathered some helpful tips to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable experience with your little ones. Remember, when it comes to sleep, it’s never too soon or too late to make positive changes. So, take a moment to read through these tips, but don’t fret too much. Relaxation is key!

10 expert recommendations to avoid holiday sleep deprivation:

  1. THE ESSENTIALS: If you’re embarking on a winter holiday adventure, don’t forget to pack sleep essentials. Bring along your child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal, a portable sound machine to drown out unfamiliar noises, and a travel crib or sleep tent for a familiar sleeping environment wherever you go. Every mom knows travelling light is not an option with a baby, here is a list of the bare minimum we would recommend taking with you for good holiday sleep. _________________________
1. Travel Blockout blinds 2. Travel Cot 3. Sleeping bags 4. Baby Monitor 5. Soft toy lovey 6. Wind down before each nap – Book, music, rhymes etc. 7. White noise (8. Baby carrier or sling 9. Stroller for those on-the-go naps 10. Anything that will remind baby of their home environment


  1. Create a Cozy Sleep Haven: As the temperature drops, make sure your child’s sleep environment is warm and inviting. Layer their crib or bed with extra blankets or a sleep sack to keep them snug throughout the night. Maintain a comfortable room temperature and consider using a humidifier to combat dry winter air.
  2. Plan ahead: Travel during nap times and arrive at least an hour before bedtime. If you’re travelling all day, accept that your baby may take many short naps and adjust bedtime accordingly. Make extra stops to feed, play, and let baby kick freely. (Wondering about Routines, check out our Bundle) __________________________________________________
  3. Have a low-key day after travelling and get back on track with their routine so baby can catch up on lost sleep and adjust to their new surroundings. __________________________________________________
  4. Create a familiar sleep environment and give your little one the best chance to fall asleep. __________________________________________________
  5. Own room: First prize if your baby can sleep in their own room on vacation. If not, explain this new holiday sleep favor (baby sharing your room) to your child and things will return to normal when we get home. Even when room sharing, maintain loving boundaries. A clever room divider could also be useful. __________________________________________________
  6. Dark Room: Make the room as dark as possible with travel blockout blinds or black refuse bags to avoid those early morning hours and the change of the sun setting later than usual ______________________________________________________.
  7. White Noise: Use your white noise machine or an app on your phone, remember it should be 60-65 DB loud according to Dr Harvey Karp. ______________________________________________________
  8. Soft toy Lovey. In a strange place, your soft toy lovey can be a great comfort. Don’t wash the lovey—it must smell like home. Use your home sheets for baby bedding and don’t wash them before the holiday so they smell like sleep too. ______________________________________________________
  9. Prioritize naps, and arrange fun activities around them but…find a happy medium. You don’t need to feel trapped by your child’s naps, but allowing them to only take catnaps or not nap at all during the day can lead to meltdowns and overnight wakings. Some days are dedicated to naps, while others are dedicated to family fun. It is best to balance it out and find what works for you! Embrace a Consistent Schedule: While the holiday season can be busy, sticking to a routine as much as possible will provide stability and comfort for your little ones. Try to maintain regular meal times, nap schedules, and bedtime routines. Predictability will help your child feel secure and ensure better sleep._____________________________________________________
  10. Wind down: A small ritual you do with your child before each nap and bedtime. If your three steps before bedtime are to take your baby to their dark and quiet room, read a book, listen to a song, and have lots of cuddles, this will also help your baby get ready for sleep during nap time. __________________________________________________________________

BONUS TIPSleeping bag: Dress your baby for the climate. Having a sleeping sac helps with those cold days and for hotter days. It’s 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.

Your child may need a few nights to settle in. If they are struggling try sitting next to the cot and observe if your child will fall asleep on their own. If your child can self-settle, try only to intervene when necessary.

Still struggling with a routine? Download one here

Extra toddler sleep hacks:

Flexibility and Cherished Moments: Remember that the winter holidays are a time for joy and togetherness. Embrace the festive spirit and be flexible with routines when necessary. Cherish the moments spent with your little ones, for it’s these memories that will make the holiday season truly magical.

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

Your sleep sidekicks

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