I frequently get asked about travel sleep tips for infants. Most of these questions come from parents who are worried about traveling with their baby, or parents who love to travel and want to continue doing so with their little one in tow. Whether you are gung ho about traveling with your little one or feel hesitant, I’m here to tell you it can work! Here are my top travel sleep tips for infants:
Make sure you plan where your baby will be sleeping on the trip. If you can, rent a crib at your final destination. The benefit of a crib is that it will be most similar to what your baby sleeps in at home. You can bring your baby’s crib sheet from home, too, another way to make it “the same” as home. Bonus: bring a crib sheet your baby slept on for a night or two so it has the familiar smells from home. Otherwise, bring a pack and play or travel crib.
When possible, give your baby their own sleep space. It can be a room, walk-in closet, separate section of a bedroom or even the hotel room’s bathroom! Be creative but always keep safety in mind. If a separate sleep space isn’t possible, you can create a visual barrier by hanging temporary wall hooks on the ceiling and hanging an opaque curtain or sheet. And aim for a conducive sleep environment as much as possible.
Bring any item from home that is portable and part of your baby’s sleep routine. This includes your baby’s crib sheet, sleepsacks, books, white noise machine, and a monitor if your baby will have his own sleep space. Another key item to bring is temporary blackout shades or black plastic garbage bags and painters tape. Vacation rentals, and even family/friends’ homes, are notoriously ill-equipped with black-out window treatments (hotels are typically pretty good). The last thing you want is the sun waking your baby up too early in the morning on vacation!
When you travel with your infant, stick to your naptime and bedtime routines. When you’re at home and do the same routine before sleep, your baby knows that sleep will come next. That is a terrific tool to have when you’re away from home and your baby needs to sleep. Doing the same routine before a nap or bedtime will cue your child that sleep is next, even though you’re not home. Sticking to your baby’s sleep schedule will also keep sleep easy and predictable. When you can, stick to the same nap time and bedtime on your trip.
Sleep with an infant while you’re traveling may not always be perfect—just like it can be an adjustment for us to sleep in a new place, too! Going into your trip knowing things may be off for your baby while he adjusts to new accommodations will set you up for success. The more you practice traveling with your baby, and staying consistent while you’re away, the easier sleep will be!