How to successfully keep your baby nap and sleep routine even if you have a short break or holiday away from home
If you want to have a couple of nights, a mini-break or a family holiday away from home with your baby, one of the things that might daunt you before you go is your baby’s sleep routine. But never fear, with these clever products, you can keep your baby’s sleep on track and have a break too.
We all have problems sleeping in a new location and unless you have thoroughly tired yourself out with activities during the day, you’ll probably find the first couple of nights away from home in a strange bed unsettling. Your baby is no different, so the key to successful baby sleep while you’re away from home is to pack a few clever products and to keep your baby’s sleep environment – and their sleep routine – as close as possible to the one you have at home. Sights, sounds and smells can all unsettle your little one and you may be in for a couple of sleepless nights, especially is your child is having problems with teething or is going through the four month sleep regression.
If you want your baby to have a comfortable and familiar place to sleep, don’t rely on hotel cribs or holiday house travel cots – you’re never sure how clean they are and they might even have broken parts. The best thing to do is to bring your own travel cot - and if you use it at home as a safe place for your baby to sleep and play in the living room or kitchen, it will take on the comforting and familiar smells of home. Take your own sheet for the mattress too, to further reinforce the familiar feel. Our favourite is the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light, £247 but you can see all our top picks here.
Because some babies can be easily distracted by noises inside and outside the home, a white nose machine can be used to provide a continuous sound that helps them block out anything that could cause them to have problems sleeping. A machine that’s portable and that has additional functions makes for a great new baby gift, so put this one on your baby list! Our favourite is the ever-popular Ewan The Dream Sheep, £29.99, a cute and cuddly toy that has white noise but also has a volume control, a soft pink light to comfort your baby and womb sounds too.
You know what it’s like – you reach your relative’s house to spend the weekend and they put you in a bedroom with no curtains. Or you are abroad and the sun rises at a really, really early hour, waking your baby. So, taking a portable, pop-up blackout blind – well, give yourself a gold star. This clever GRO Anywhere Blackout Blind can be made to fit the window (up to 130 x 98cm) using clever Velcro tabs and the suction cups to attach it to the glass or the wall. It’s machine washable, too!
You probably already know that the great range of SnoozeShade products can help your baby sleep on the go – whether it’s for the pushchair, the travel cot or the car seat. It not only provides a dark, sleep-inducing environment, it prevents your baby from being disturbed by distraction and it deters well-meaning people from ‘just peeking’ at your baby and maybe waking them up in the process! Make sure you pack SnoozeShade for any trips out with your baby, whether it’s just for a stroll to the shops or a two-week trip to a foreign location.
When you are trying to get your little one to bed while you’re away on holiday, it’s best to stick to your usual bedtime routine and any sleep cues you can use will help. If you always use a baby sleeping bag at home, pack one for your holiday and your baby will recognise this and start to feel ready for bed when it’s put on. Simple to use and easy for night time nappy changes, there are lots of gorgeous sleeping bags and we have our pick of the best here.
A cuddly toy that your baby can cling to in the pushchair, in the car seat or when they are in their own little bed is a great buy. The Snuz Cloud, £29.95 is not only a cuddly plush cloud with a cute face design, it also has a handy loop so that you can hang it from the crib or cot, or from the car seat handle or pushchair bumper bar. It has a menu of sounds that can help sleep, such as a heartbeat, a lullaby, pink noise that mimics what it sounds like in the womb and a waterfall. It has a soft white light that’s great for nappy changes and a pink one that can aid sleep.
A story last thing before you pop your baby down to sleep can be another way that you signal to your little one that it’s time for sleep. Reading the same, calm, comforting story, preferably one with rhymes or repeated phrases, helps reinforce that idea, so make sure you choose a bedtime story that you love, too! Peepo is an old favourite by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, with its cut-out holes that allow you to see what’s coming up on the next page. The little baby in the story is settled for bed with his toy and sees all the comforting, familiar things of home around him. It’s sure to be a hit with your baby too.
If it’s too hot even for a sleeping bag, or your little one is still very much a newborn, swaddling can be a sure-fire way to help your baby sleep. It ‘cuddles’ them and prevents the startle reflex that can wake your baby after they have drifted off to sleep and a good muslin has lots of other great uses too; it can be used under your baby’s head in a travel cot or pushchair to catch drool and it’s great as a burp cloth. The packs of four by Aden + Anaisare super soft and come in lots of lovely prints and colours.
You will want to have some quality time with your partner while you’re away from home, yet still be able to check your baby is doing fine, so a travel baby monitor is a handy addition to your suitcase. One that works on batteries will mean that you can use it abroad without having to worry about a plug adapter – even if you’re camping or heading to a festival! Look for the Babymoov Simply Care Audio Baby Monitor, £39.99, that has both audio and visual alarms, a range of 300m and an adjustable volume. Don’t forget to pack spare batteries!
If you use your baby’s travel cot quite a bit, an extra mattress is a great addition to ensuring a good night’s sleep. This fully breathable mattress by Pinkfairy, £19.99, has a removable anti allergen quilted cover that can be washed, it is made from a firm, dense foam and it is deeply padded so as to make it super comfortable. It’s waterproof too, to prevent spills and accidents affecting the mattress.
What products do you never leave home without? Share your baby travel hacks on our social media channels.