It is the time of year when we all want to see our family and visit our friends but how do you manage to keep to your baby sleep routine while you do it? Here’s our guide to travel and baby sleep at Christmas.
Travel at nap time
It seems obvious but if you have to drive, take a train or other transport, try to do so at a time when your baby would usually be napping anyway. By now, you should have an idea of your baby’s day-to-day routine, so choose the time when they have their longer nap – this might be after lunch – and pop them into their car seat or pushchair with a SnoozeShade on top to ensure they have a dark, cosy and distraction-free environment to sleep in.
Use evenings to your advantage
Babies tend to have their longer sleep at night, and usually go to bed at around seven. So, if you need to go on a longer journey, think about taking it at their bedtime (make sure the driver is well rested during the day). You can pop your baby into a soothing bath, then into their PJs and straight into the car seat. When you get to your destination, they can be put straight into their cot or a travel cot your have brought from home for a good, long sleep.
Take items to remind them of home
Visiting family, or staying at a hotel or self-catering cottage sounds ideal but how will you make sure your baby will sleep well in a new environment? One way is to ensure the place they sleep feels and smells like home and is a good, stress-free sleep space. If you are driving, it’s easy to pack a travel cot and make sure you take some sheets from their cot and a sleeping bag, rather than fresh from the wash, so that they smell of home. If you are going to a place that offers a cot or travel cot, make sure you know what kind and size it is so that you have bedding to suit. Pack a favourite toy and comforter, plus your usual sleep routine items like a white noise machine and a bedtime book. Go through your usual baby sleep routine even though you’re in a new place and pop a SnoozeShade for cots or travel cots on to create a dark space that’s free from distractions.
Travelling by plane
Some babies love planes and the constant noise of the engines, which can act like white noise. Others frankly hate it, from the restrictions of the seat belts to the changes in air pressure. So, make sure you’re well prepared for the flight and wise up before you go. Remember that you can take your pushchair up to the plane door but all items you’d usually have in the basket must be taken out, so pack a plane-sized carry-on bag that has your and your baby’s essential items. (don’t forget spare clothes for you and baby) Then you’ll need something to counteract ears popping on take-off and landing; the best thing is to breast or bottle feed as the plane goes up or down. As for sleep – if you are able to use your baby’s car seat on the plane (you’ll need to purchase an extra seat), pop a SnoozeShade for car seats over it. This should keep them calm and settled, as well as stopping others trying to play with your baby just as they are dropping off. Check if your airline provides bassinets (book well in advance) and if so, you can use a SnoozeShade for pushchairs to drape over it for quiet and privacy.
Negotiating your family
When you’re travelling, everyone will be hoping your little one sleeps, especially on the plane! But once you get to your destination, you may find that everyone is working against you. Grandparents will try to keep your little one up late for playtime. Other family members will creep into the bedroom to watch your baby sleeping. The noise levels may be much louder than at home. You’ll have to be firm and explain to everyone that you need to keep your baby sleep routine the same as at home and that in between, there will be plenty of time for play and fun! If you don’t want to be the baddie, ask your partner or another relative to help – a sibling with young children will be ideal! Luckily, the SnoozeShade has a helpful ‘do not disturb’ sign on it.
Sharing your room with your baby
Baby goes to bed at seven but you won’t be going up until nearly midnight? Try to create a special sleep space for your baby where they won’t be disturbed if you come in later on. Placing a SnoozeShade on the cot or travel cot means that they are in a quiet, dark space and won’t be disturbed if you turn on a small side light when you come to bed. It also helps if you’re away somewhere that the sun rises earlier than at home, so hopefully you’ll get a bit longer in bed in the morning!