Our daughter is a terrible sleeper. Like, seriously, terrible. At ten months old, she has still only slept through the night a handful of times and it is always hit or miss. With that said, she sleeps even worse when she is in an unfamiliar environment.
For that reason, it is extremely important when we travel to make where ever we stay feel like home. The extra level of comfort will nurture and encourage a sounder sleeping environment.
- CALL THE HOTEL PRIOR TO ARRIVAL – Many hotels have roll away cribs or pack n plays that you can use during your stay. Those are often first-come-first-served, so call ahead to request one so you aren’t left without a safe and comfortable place for your baby to sleep when you get there. While on the phone with a hotel representative, make sure you find out whether they will be loaning you a crib or a pack n play. That information will be beneficial for tip #2.
- BRING YOUR OWN SHEET – Once you find out if you will have a crib or a pack n play, bring a fitted sheet from home for that particular type of baby bed. You’ll score extra comfort points with your little one if it is the sheet they slept on the night before in their crib. The sheets will smell and feel familiar, which will make your baby feel more at home.
- KEEP A ROUTINE -This one is a bit tricky on vacation, but possibly the most important. Sleep and routine are vital for babies and toddlers. So plan your daily activities and attractions around their typical nap time and bedtime. For us, that has meant an early dinner so we can be back in the hotel room at 7 so our infant can be in bed by 7:30. As she gets older, her bedtime will obviously become later and we’ll be able to spend less time in the hotel room and more time out and about, but for now, we stick somewhat closely to her daily routine. While on vacation, from time-to-time she has napped in the baby carrier. Either way, we make sure she gets her sleep in one way or another. We also follow the exact same bedtime routine as we do at home, bath, song, bottle, bed… That sets the stage for a better night’s sleep.
- BRING A LOVEY OR COMFORT ITEM – Every night, my sweet baby falls asleep with the same little blanket/stuffed animal. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she often looks for that lovey and then falls right back to sleep. That familiar item goes with us everywhere. Once again, having a small piece of home helps put her at easy while we are traveling. Lovey’s are great because they are compact enough to fit in a diaper bag, and are much more compact than a stuffed animal.
- WHITE NOISE – Since her birth, we have used a white noise machine in our daughter’s nursery to help drown out any outside sounds. She now associates that white noise with sleep. So, just like her lovey and her sheets, we bring that small compact white noise machine with us. I’ve linked to the one we use. We love it! Traveling with a baby, ultimately means traveling with more stuff. But if it encourages a good night’s sleep, the extra stuff is well worth the space in your luggage.