Learn how to make sleep training while traveling a positive experience for both you and your baby. These tips will help you get through this time with ease!
You’ve spent the last couple of months sleep training your little one.
Finally, you can sign a breath of relief and say that you got her into a good schedule and sleeping well.
But now that trip you have planned for next month it’s starting to stress you out:
Will you be able to stick to sleep training your little one while traveling?
Or will the trip sabotage your progress?
The good news is that you won’t have to start the process of sleep training all over again. All you need to do is follow the five tips for sleep training while traveling outlined below.
Stick to these tips, and hopefully, you’ll make traveling easier for everyone involved.
Let’s dive in!
Recreate your home environment
One of the best things you can do to ensure your sleep training while traveling is going well is to recreate your home environment.
What does this mean?
It means a few things:
- Is your baby falling asleep with a sound machine? Bring it along! Sound machines are a great trick to encourage good sleep patterns in your newborn. These machines do two things right: they soothe babies to go to sleep, and they also drown out annoying sounds that might prevent your infant from getting high-quality sleep.
- Is your baby used to sleeping in a dark room? Make sure it stays that way! Consider bringing a travel blackout curtain if her new room gets plenty of sunshine and doesn’t come with a proper curtain.
- Are you following a consistent bedtime routine? Stick to it! Once you start reading her a book or playing a lullaby, she’ll recognize the cues that it’s time to go to sleep.
- Does she sleep while swaddled? If yes, continue with the swaddling while you’re on your trip. A swaddle will help your baby feel safe and secure as she adjusts to her slightly different sleeping environment.
Stick to the same nap and sleep schedule
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when traveling with their sleep-trained baby is they over-schedule themselves.
Caught between their tasks for the day, they often forget about their child’s nap and sleep schedule.
Although her sleep schedule can vary slightly from what she’s used to at home, try to stick to her normal schedule as closely as possible.
For instance, make sure you don’t skip a nap. If she’s taking two naps per day, make sure she gets her sleep. Failing to do so can result in over-tiredness, which brings a set of other problems.
Remember: a short nap is better than no nap.
The same thing applies to her bedtime. Let’s say she usually goes to sleep at 7:00 pm. Putting her to sleep at 07:15 pm won’t do much harm, but make sure she’s in bed by 7:30 pm at the latest.
Believe me; overtiredness is not something you want to deal with while traveling.
Bring your child’s comfort items
Is your child attached to a lovey or a blanket?
If yes, consider bringing her favorite items along with you on the trip.
In case she gets upset at bedtime or wakes up in the middle of the night, she’ll have her lovey to comfort her and soothe her back to sleep.
The lovey will remind her of the comfort and security of her home. She’ll feel more confident to fall back to sleep in her new place.
Reminder: If your child is younger than 12 months, avoid letting her sleep with stuffed animals or blankets to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Another mistake many parents make while traveling is they go back to bed-sharing with their baby.
This is a big no-no!
I know what you’re thinking:
But it’s only for a few nights.
Even if it’s only for a night or two, your baby may get used to sleeping with you and stop wanting to sleep alone in the crib altogether.
Although many parents bed-share, there are many downsides to this practice. For instance, your child may wake up more quickly and be a lighter sleeper due to being close to you.
The good news is that most hotels have a crib you can use in the room. If this is not the case where you’re staying, consider bringing your pack and play and using it as a crib.
If possible, create a private place for your baby to sleep in. There should be some kind of a partition between her and you so that if she wakes up in the middle of the night she doesn’t get too excited or fussy.
If getting an extra bedroom for your little one is an option, go for it!
Resist the temptation to give up
Crying is something that might happen while you’re traveling with your infant.
In an attempt to avoid waking up the other hotel guests or your hosts, you may give in to the temptation to rock your baby to sleep.
But be careful: doing so can set you back days, if not weeks.
You may even find yourself having to start sleep training all over again.
The best way to handle your little one’s nighttime crying is to do the same thing you were doing at home.
Simply go to her and offer her a bit of reassurance. You can even pat her on the back and tell her that everything’s okay.
Be consistent, and within a night or two, she’ll get used to her new environment and be sleeping like a, well, a baby again.
I’m not going to lie to you:
You may find that sleep training while traveling is extremely challenging for you and give in to your baby’s cries.
Even if this happens during your trip, the good news is that it’s easier to sleep train babies who’ve already been successfully sleep trained once.
Once you’re back home, you can start sleep training your baby for the second time. Believe me. You’ll get back on track within a week or two!