Travel and baby sleep. One of these things is not like the other.
But maybe they can co-exist. After traveling cross-Atlantic with one baby four times (mostly solo) and now two babies once, plus taking a cross-country red eye with both solo, I've learned a little bit about navigating baby sickness and jet lag and still getting decent sleep.
Here's what I've learned:
1) Prepare. Getting more sleep while on-the-go starts before you fly. Prepare your baby to be flexible. I travel with my baby beds - till last week, E slept in the hammock (pictured above) and G slept in the baby tent (pictured here). Wherever I go, my kids are sleeping in their own beds. My sister of the nine children would sleep her babes during their long nap in the pac-n-play so they could sleep in any pac-n-play on the go. I also regularly sleep Esther in her stroller, sling, or carseat so that she can sleep in those as needed while traveling. As she has been sick last month (gastro pyrisis - scary!) and throwing up a lot, I had to wash the hammock while she slept in the stroller. It was a life-saver. Now that I own them, I have gotten Gideon used to sleeping in his carseat for nap time so we can take it on the plane.
2) Take all of the props, and don't change anything. G is way too old to take the bottle to bed (don't worry - I do try to have him brush his teeth after he drinks it), but I ain't changing that trick till we are settled. Both have their little muslins they sleep with. Esther still needs dark, so I take my breathable black shawl with me everywhere and use it to either cover the car seat, the stroller, or the sling. I also make sure my white noise app is handy.
3) Keep to the routine as much as possible. If I can afford it, I work flights around nap and bed time - trying to get on the plane before bedtime or nap time so they can sleep on the plane. I also keep up the eating, bathing, bottle routine and sing to them before they go down - apologies to fellow passengers who haven't plugged in with, but this mamma gonna sing! All of the cues so they know that, despite the change in scenery, it's bed time, folks!
4) Nap instead of bedtime for timezone changes when traveling west. When traveling west and they expect to go to bed at the normal time, I will nap them instead. They need the sleep, but I will not fuss about helping them sleep long (by keeping it dark, etc.).
5) Change time zones immediately. The day of and the next of cross-Atlantic travel I am more lenient about switching the schedule immediately, but I attempt to try to transition to the current timezone immediately. Part of the reason is I am terrible at math. If they wake in the middle of the night, I keep the lights low and use hushed tones for as long as possible so they know it is night. They also get more attention from me than they would otherwise with night-wakings. Jet lag stinks no matter how old they are. If they can't sleep at night, try to get them to interact with dirt/play outside and eat at the right times - it is suppose to sync circadian rhythms faster. Traveling west is always easier than traveling east - this time round, my kids had transitioned in two days. Awesome. Last summer going east G took four days to transition.
What do you do to help your baby sleep while traveling? Anything I forgot/am not doing?
If you want more on my baby travel tips, you can read this earlier post.
|Its very own lighthouse, complete with a Pond twin.|
|A fantastic beach (several, actually).|
|Beautiful, child-friendly pools, compliments of wonderful neighbors|
|A harbor, complete with a Yatch club and Sailing club|
|If you get tired of all that green, just settle into a nice game of put-put on the harbor|
|or go for Spiderman ice-cream at the Harbor's old-fashioned ice cream parlor.|
|Baby not included|
|The annual Pond bake sale - in the pouring rain, no less!|
|The Kohler Design Center, also known as "Potty World" by the locals|
|Naughty little boys not included|
|The display rooms at Kohler are full of inspiration. Hope they don't mind a little baby drool.|
|Paddle boarding on Wood Lake|
|Make that Paddle Board Yoga on Wood Lake.|
|More story time|
|Great parks. This one is "River Park" in Sheboygan Falls.|
|With fav cousin, Truman.|
* If I haven't opened the garage in our borrowed house in the morning by the time he wakes up, G will go stand at the door and hold his hand out, palm splayed into the air and exert a lot of effort to try to open it. Somehow, he thinks the force is with him.
* When I give Gideon a reason for why he should do something that he can understand, he will often say, "Oh" like he's learned a new theory of light, and then do it. I find it much cuter than a "no" or "no want to" and pleased my two year old can reason.
* I went to a Yamaha dealership today to help a friend, and Gideon wandered the place checking out all of the motorcycles and ATVs and saying, "Cool!" He is his father's son!
* I'm pretty sure Esther has started talking. She's so young, but she is pretty consistently saying "hi" at appropriate times, or something that sounds like "hi" - she definitely knows she is greeting someone. Other times, she says things that sound like "mama," said at appropriate times, or names of people. Yesterday I was sure she said "yes" when I asked her something. Is that even possible at nine months?
|The kids in their Sunday best! Thanks, Aunt G (Aunt Anje), for the dress!|
|Not a wonder, and not small. My morning and nightly task. I miss Lance every time I have to clean up after the kids, a job he consistently does without complaint.|