Baby Travel Gear for Sleeping Tips

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Do you have any ideas for enjoying our vacation while baby is napping?

Six Ways To Make The Most Of Baby's Nap Time

Traveling with baby has it's own challenges. Between planning for naps, feedings, diaper changes, playtime, and quiet time, one wonders how there is any time left in the day. However, though it is always a good idea to take baby's routines into consideration, there's no reason why you can't let baby nap and spend some time enjoying your vacation as well. Here are six ways to do just that.

  1. Hire a sitter and spend the afternoon exploring the town while baby gets naptime and playtime at the hotel.
  2. Switch off with your spouse throughout the vacation. One day, Dad gets to go out golfing while Mom relaxes on the hotel deck with a book. One day, Mom gets to go out for a spa afternoon, while Dad catches up on the TV news at the hotel room – with headphones.
  3. Take baby out for a jog in the stroller. Then relax and enjoy the waves while she snoozes.
  4. Go for a hike and put baby in the backpack carrier. Enjoy the scenery while she peacefully drifts off for a nap.
  5. Take a well-timed drive out to enjoy the landscape just before your little one's nap. By the time you come back, she'll be ready to join you on your next excursion.
  6. Spend a few hours at the beach relaxing with drinks and some munchies. Put baby down for a nap in the shade while you and hubby enjoy a seashore picnic.

How can I help my baby sleep well during a trip?

Sleep Tight Tips For Little Ones

If you're traveling for the first time with an infant or going to an unfamiliar location, you might be worried about whether your little one will sleep well during the trip. One mother put it aptly when she said, “Babies will tend to get the sleep the need on way or another. The same can't be said for parents.” However, there are some things you can do to ensure your little one will get her much need rest – so you can get yours, too.

  • Establish a familiar routine. Now when we say routine, we don't mean a rigid schedule by the clock. Instead, keep the general rhythms that you do when you're at home. For some parents this may mean a very loose approach where baby adapts to the parent's routine. For others, this may mean that Mom and Dad plan their trip around baby's nap and feeding times.
  • Bring familiar items to help your infant adjust. This could be her much needed pacifier, a familiar blanket, or a toy from home.
  • At bedtimes, use the same routine you do at home. If you do a bath, change into sleepwear, and then put your baby to sleep, follow the same pattern. Babies will do well with familiar rhythms.
  • For naps, have a stroller on hand if your baby sleeps in the stroller. Use a baby carrier if your baby will sleep in that. Either way, both are useful for getting out and about during naptimes.
  • Create a dim place for baby's sleep time. This may just mean turning out the lights at the hotel in the evening once your baby goes to sleep. One parent we know solved the dilemma of being able to keep the light on for her and her spouse by opening up the closet, moving in the portable crib, and suspending a sheet from the top of the closet over the portable crib. It became an instant private, darkened area. If you decide to try this, make sure the sheet is secure and that baby can't pull it down.

How will my child sleep while we’re on the plane or car?

Sleeping On The Plane and Car

One good thing about sleeping on the move with your little one is that sleep and movement go together at this age. Many parents find infants and toddlers will be lulled to sleep in the car, or will fall asleep in Mom or Dad's arms during a walk, if it's anywhere near their naptimes. If you're wondering just how your infant or toddler should be sleeping while you're headed to your vacation destination, here's what you can expect.

On the plane: If you're on a red eye flight going across the coast or going on a transatlantic journey, you'll likely need to figure out sleeping accommodations. Since fares for children under 2 are reduced, do consider getting your infant her own seat. If you have a young infant, consider reserving your seats in the bulkhead section. Check with your airline first, but most supply a bassinet for you that attaches to the wall. Also check the height and size restrictions, as some bassinets sizes vary. During an especially turbulent flight, you'll likely want to strap your infant into her own child seat.

Toddlers should have their own child seat as well. If a flight is empty, you might be able to snag an extra seat in your row so your toddler can spread out during sleep time. As with any flight, if you encounter turbulence, have your toddler in her own seat.

In the car: If your car is moving, you infant or toddler should be strapped in her car seat at all times. If you plan on being on the road while your little one needs rest, she should always be sleeping in her car seat. Never give in to the temptation to hold your baby while she's sleeping in the car.

Where should my infant sleep in the hotel?

Sleeping At The Hotel

Sleep time for infants can be a prime time for parents during traveling. Catch up on your own much needed rest, pick up a book, or switch off with your spouse or another adult so one person can watch the baby while the other heads out. If you're planning your trip and wondering just what you should bring with you, find out what you really need and don't need to bring on a trip.

Many hotels do carry Pack N Plays or similar portable cribs. If you don't want to lug your own, call the hotel ahead of time and see if they can supply you with what you need. One cautionary note to this, is that you need to make sure the equipment is safe and in good condition. In 2000, the Consumer Product Safety (CPSC) Commission found 80% of the hotels reviewed had unsafe cribs. However, since that time, a program has been in place to promote a safety initiative to ensure that cribs are safe. The CPSC recommends parents find out whether a hotel has guidelines to make sure their hotel cribs are safe.

If your toddler has graduated to the big bed and you have room in the car, try adding a bedrail to make sleep time safer. First Years carries a single bed rail with a mesh screen. It's relatively easy to secure to the underside of a mattress.

Helpful Hint: Don't forget, if you don't want to bring bulky infant gear with you, there are baby equipment rental facilities that can accommodate your needs for portable cribs, bed rails, and other items.

How can I help my infant adjust to a new time zone?

Helping Baby Adjust To Time Zone Changes

If you're taking your infant with you across multiple time zones, you may need to help her adjust to a new schedule. Babies are adaptable, but like adults, need some time to adjust to new surroundings and changes. The best way to handle time zone changes is to start preparing for your adjustment before you arrive at your destination.

  • Try planning a flight that would work best with your infant's schedule. Depending on how far you're going and your baby's temperament, this might be a red-eye flight or it might be an afternoon flight. Use your best judgment.
  • You can start by making adjustments to your baby's bedtime a few days before the trip in 20-minute increments. Move her bedtime earlier or later, depending on the time difference at your arrival destination.
  • If you're flying in a plane, make the mental adjustment to function on the new time zone as soon as you depart. The best way to do this is by changing your watch to accommodate the time of your destination.
  • When you arrive, try putting your infant to bed according to the current time zone.
  • During the daytime, allow lots of time outdoors as this helps the body adjust to the current environment.
  • Be flexible with activities during the first few days and accommodate baby's need for an adjustment period. Everyone on the trip will be much happier in the long run. Remember, adults can take three days to adjust to a time zone, so be sensitive to your baby's routine.

What portable crib do you recommend for trips?

Create A Home Away From Home With The Pack N Play

Whether it's a trip to Grandma's house or you're going on the road, the Pack N Play makes life easier both for playtime and bedtime. The Pack N Play made by Graco can be as basic as a bassinet and pen or as supped up as one with a changing table, canopy, and decorative skirt. Place a young infant in the bassinet attachment for sleep time or an older baby in the full size bassinet. You can also entertain babies with a number of nature songs or lullabies from the music box. Some Pack N Plays come with a mobile to keep baby's interest as well.

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Christina Chan
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