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Sleep Tips For Traveling With Baby

Posted in #Traveling

A vacation with your little one in tow is an opportunity for you to bond as a family and spend  precious quality time together. But you’ve gotta get to your destination first! Traveling with your baby and managing their sleep so you all arrive refreshed is tricky. Here we share some travels with baby tips, from how to get baby to sleep on plane to dealing with baby jet lag.


Practice Getting Your Baby To Sleep Anywhere

If your baby only naps and sleeps in their crib in their quiet, dark nursery, they – and you – are going to get a shock when it comes to napping while traveling. Try a few practice runs away from their familiar napping spot. 


blonde haired baby sat in a car seat with a blanket


You could spend a whole day out, for example, and encourage them to drop off in their stroller. Or try napping at grandma’s or a friend’s home to get them used to sleeping in different environments.  


Time Your Travel With Naps

Long car journeys or flights with young babies are often the most stressful bit of traveling. Try to time it with a nap. Daytime flights are often more expensive than overnight flights, but can be easier to deal with if you have a tricky sleeper or an older baby who may find it hard to settle down. 

Book an early morning flight when your baby’s at their freshest and happiest. Don’t expect them to necessarily nap on the plane but let them snooze in the comfort of your arms if they can.


woman in an aeroplane with a baby on her lap


Having said that, if you’re flying long-haul with a very young baby, taking an overnight flight can work well, because you’ll typically be allocated a bulkhead seat with a bassinet.

If you have a long layover, try to get your baby napping in a baby carrier or in a stroller in the airport between flights. 


Get An Early Check-In

An early check-in at your hotel will enable your baby to have an afternoon nap once you arrive. If not, go for a stroller or car ride when you reach your destination and let your little one snooze while you enjoy the scenery. Put them to bed early that first night.


Bring An Infant Carrier

BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One, Cotton Mix - Beige Leopard at PishPosh Baby
For a quick settle, bring a sling like this BabyBjorn baby carrier


If you’re worried about how to get baby to sleep on plane, bring the sling! An infant carrier works wonders for young babies and toddlers who find it hard to settle on a flight. Simply strap your little one in and bounce them up and down the aisles. The only wrench in the works is if the seatbelt signs are switched on and the crew asks you to remain seated.


Follow Your Baby’s Sleep Routine

Stick to your baby’s sleep schedule as closely as possible, even on vacation. Babies thrive on routine, and will love the familiarity of their bedtime rituals. It may not be possible to do everything, like taking a bath, while you’re traveling, but you can replicate the key parts. 

Pop them in their sleepsuit, give them their milk, read them their story and sing to them – whatever it is you usually do, whether you’re on a plane or in your hotel. 


Create A Familiar Sleep Environment

Consistency is key. If you’re moving around a lot on your family vacation, try to make your baby’s sleep environment as similar as possible to that at home. Take your own travel crib, where possible. Bring their usual sleep sack and don’t forget their favorite teddy. 

If they love white noise to help them drift off, bring that to make a strange room feel familiar. Make it as dark as at home with travel blackout curtains. Or try the SlumberPod – a portable sleep nook that allows babies to sleep in their safe and familiar playard or travel crib.


Slumberpod sleep nook at PishPosh Baby
Slumberpod sleep nook - for portable privacy whilst traveling


Get On Local Time

If you’re traveling internationally, get your baby on local time as soon as possible to avoid baby jet lag. Then incorporate your baby’s sleep schedule to local time. This will be hard initially, but being disciplined about adjusting to the new time zone will pay off. 


Go Outside

Everyone sleeps better after getting out into some fresh air and natural light. This will be much easier if you’re traveling by car. Being exposed to daylight will support melatonin production, the hormone that regulates your baby’s sleep rhythms.


Give Your Baby Plenty Of Playtime

Make sure your little one has plenty of opportunity to play and move around. Physical exercise will help them sleep better. Airports typically have on-site play areas for older babies and toddlers to tire themselves out. If your baby’s not mobile, spread out a blanket and let them have a good kick to let off steam and stretch out.


Tiny Love Magical Tales Black & White Super Mat
Tummy time and stretch out with the Tiny Love Magical Tales Super Mat


Give Them A Healthy Snack

Travel delays and layovers may mean less-than-nutritious airport food. Prepare ahead and pack more healthy snacks than you think you’ll need. Avoid sugary snacks after lunch. After a healthy dinner, if necessary, give them a small snack of fruit or cheese and crackers to ensure their tummy is full and ready to go to sleep.


Finally, Don’t Stress

If your baby can’t settle down to nap or sleep while you’re traveling, don’t worry about it. It’s only one day! You can catch up on sleep once you’ve arrived.

Going away with small children needn't be a hassle. We’ve listed the essentials you need to make traveling with kids a breeze. Read Travel Essentials for Kids: What You Really Need
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