7 Tips for Good Sleep While Traveling for the Holidays

My husband reminded me this morning that Christmas is only a week away. Which, GAH! Only a week! So much to do! Menu planning! Gift wrapping! More shopping! (If you’re still shopping too, check out my handy list of gift ideas for babies). Cleaning my house before my mother gets here so she doesn’t think she raised a slob!

I know that holiday can be a huge stressor for everyone in the family. Travel is one of the biggest causes of sleep disturbances to a baby. A few nights at Grandma’s house can shake up months of careful cultivation of good sleep habits. But worries about sleep on vacation and after should be a reason to stay home forever. Family gatherings are too much fun and too precious to skip.

As someone who travels with kids a few times per year, I have a few strategies for getting at least a little shut-eye on the road and transitioning back to your normal sleep routines when you’re back at home. I can’t do anything about your older kids waking up at 4am on Christmas day though. Sorry!

  • You Can (And Should) Take It With You 1 of 7
    Bring as much of a baby's bedroom with you as is practical. Sheets, sleep sacks or swaddles, lovies, pacifiers, white noise machines, favorite books or CDs. You want to recreate as normal a sleep environment as you can.
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  • Manage Expectations 2 of 7
    If baby's bedtime is 6:45, let your hosts know so they can plan accordingly. You mother-in-law may sigh about it but it's better to politely ask that dinner be early than try to coddle a cranky baby through a late meal or miss the family dinner altogether because you're trying to put the baby to bed while the family noisily celebrates without you.
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  • Give Yourself Some Space 3 of 7
    If you'll be staying in a hotel, spring for a suite if you can. Being able to put the baby to bed in one room and then shut a door so you and you spouse can move around without waking her up will ease a lot of the evening pressure.
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  • lan Travel Around Sleep 4 of 7
    This may go against normal advice, but I'd say to plan flights or drives for times baby is up and happy rather than hoping for a nap. It's easier to be on a plane with an alert, playful baby than a crying, over-tired one.
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  • Nap When The Baby Naps 5 of 7
    Expect that nighttime sleep will be less restful for everyone than usual. To combat exhaustion and frayed nerves, take naps when the baby takes naps. Even a 20 minute catnap will help you enjoy the day more.
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  • Come Home Early 6 of 7
    Give yourself a vacation day at home before returning to normal routines. Having a day to settle back in will make everyone more relaxed when work and school start back up.
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  • What Happens on Vacation Stays on Vacation 7 of 7
    Listen, I know how it is. You probably just brought the baby into bed with you while you were traveling. Happens to me on every trip. It's just easier all around. But that doesn't mean you're in for a lifetime of conscription as a cosleeper if you don't want that. When you get home you can immediately reestablish normal sleep routines within a couple of night. There may be some tears but relearning good sleep is easier than you think it will be.
    Photo Credit: photo stock

Photo credit: photo stock

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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