Going overseas with babies is the stuff that a lot of nightmares are made of, but we can help control some of these factors by planning in advance. Like having your little one trialling sleeping in a porta cot for a few nights before you travel, so that she can start getting used to it. It’s very different sleeping in a porta cot as opposed to a normal cot, so trialling it at home prior is definitely something you can do.
The biggest thing when adapting to different time zones is to get out into the natural light. We adapt to jet lag by getting out into daylight so that we can start to reset our body clock and circadian rhythm. The same thing applies to your baby – however, you do have to be a little more gentle with her. We can try to force ourselves to stay awake all day, but can’t do that with a baby. What I would suggest is at nighttime when she is really quite awake (and it’s supposed to be bedtime), keep it really sedate and low – keep the lights down low and just gently encourage her to calm with calm activities. She is not going back to sleep if her body is telling her it is the afternoon, though. It is a bit of a transition, but as much natural light as possible will definitely help when you first get there.
Sleeping in the same bedroom
If baby is sleeping in a room with her Mum and Noisy dad, I would be introducing some white noise now if you don’t already use it, in preparation for going overseas and then use that exact same noise once you are over there tucked into her porta cot, maybe under the mattress so that it is a bit of noise barrier between her cot and you. Also, depending on the room layout, try and have her porta cot as far away as possible from your bed. Even if it means having it almost up against the door so that she has minimal interruption from you through the night.
Try and keep the same kind of routines you’d normally do at home – if you normally do dinner and bath and a wind-down, do exactly the same thing when you are in the hotel room. Try to stick with her nap times as much as possible and plan ahead for that. If you know that you are going to be doing a drive somewhere and she is a good car sleeper, time the drive for when it is her nap time. She’ll then have the best chance of having her nap while you are in between destinations and once you arrive she’ll be awake and refreshed.
Babies are pretty adaptable, but if worse comes to worse (and this is something I say to everyone travelling with kids) do not let sleep affect your holiday. Try not to let it affect your holiday. Try to have a good time and best time possible and do whatever you have to do. A short overseas trip is not one where we are going to introduce any kind of sleep training. So do what you have to do and when you get back home, let her get over the jet lag and back to getting her sleeping well at home.
If you are travelling, have a safe trip and ENJOY!
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