We know how much you value family time at home, but sometimes you have to spread your wings a bit and do some traveling. While traveling can certainly be fun, traveling with a baby can also come with some obstacles – a new, unfamiliar space to sleep, eat and play can derail even the best routines. Because of these obstacles, some people tend to avoid traveling altogether.
As a newborn care specialist, we are not only here to support you in the home environment, but we can also provide some tips for making travel time with your new baby much more manageable. Follow these three simple tips and allow yourself the freedom to enjoy the time spent at your destination.
Provide your baby with plenty of sleep space. We know that this is easier said than done. After all, you’ll have to factor in where you’re staying, who is staying and just how much room you’re willing to take up. If you’re staying at a relative’s house, you’ll most likely be limited on space. If it is possible, consider bringing a travel pack-n-play for your baby to sleep in.
If you aren’t co-sleeping at home, you certainly don’t want to start it now! You know how dangerous it is to sleep with your baby at home, so why would you take the chance when you are traveling and most likely even more tired than usual.
If only a small amount of space is available for your family, it’s time to get creative! The beauty of pack-n-plays is that they can be set up anywhere – a hallway, a corner or even a large closet. As long as the place is safe and close enough for you to hear your little one, take advantage of it. You should also consider whether or not the space is conducive to sleep. Is it dark, away from noise such as a television, separate from a lot of foot traffic and any cold drafts?
Pack the Essentials
Be sure you bring all your baby’s essentials. It is helpful to try and replicate his natural sleep environment as much as possible. This means that you should bring the crib sheets, a few extra pacifiers and even their favorite books and toys. This is important for the sleeping aspect, but it can also be helpful while they’re awake as well. The baby will feel more at home and calm in a familiar space with his or her own things. Creating this seamless transition will be well worth the extra time it takes to pack it up!
Stick to Your Schedule
It is important to try and stay on your normal sleep schedule the best you can. We know that with any change comes the need for flexibility. If you’re on vacation or visiting with loved ones, you tend to stay up later, eat at different times and be out and about during the day more. Even though it may be more difficult, try to maintain the same feeding and nap schedules the best you can, to help avoid a major meltdown from your little one. Try to schedule their naps, if at all possible, in their designated sleeping space, such as their crib or pack-n-play. It may not always work out perfectly, but the more you can adhere to your existing schedule, the happier your baby will be … AND you!
Traveling with a baby is going to be an experience no matter what. There will be times where your patience will be tested to its limits, but it CAN be done, and it doesn’t always have to be full of stress. Preparing ahead of time and providing your baby with as much familiarity and home structure as you can, will allow them to feel better and you can enjoy what it is that you set out to have in the first place – family time and making memories.