As things start to open up again, you will start to leave your home and engage with family, friends and enjoy social experiences. Napping at home has become a great habit, and now that we are all looking to get out again, napping in different environments can be anxiety provoking. Parents worry about making a change to their babies sleep environment. Don’t worry, you can still keep your baby on schedule and enjoy the summer!
Visiting Family & Friends
This environment can be one of the easier ones to control. Speak with family or friends ahead of time to see what they have that you can use for your baby during naps. Explain your needs, as your family or friends may not know how important a dark, quiet space is to set up shop! If they do not have black out blinds, use what you have. Garbage bags work as a great, quick option to make a nice dark room. Bring sleep items from home for comfort, like a baby’s sleep sack, crib sheet, white noise machine etc.
Hotels & Trailers
Visiting a hotel or camping can be tricky but absolutely doable. Call the hotel ahead of time and see what they can offer. I have had great experience having staff set up things for me prior to arrival. Most hotels will have cribs, crib sheets and other items needed. Save yourself time and packing! Bring your travel black out blinds, whatever they look like.
We camp often, and we have spent a lot of time being creative in making our trailer as sleep friendly as possible. This included using Bristol board for the windows, and putting up curtains to section off sleep areas. Play with your baby inside the trailer during awake time to help get them used to the environment.
Naps In the Car
When travelling long distances, you can offer your baby a nap in the car. Leave nice and early so that your little one has the chance during the trip to sleep. This also will give you the opportunity to reach your destination and get your baby down in time for their next nap. If both naps have to happen in the car, try to get your baby down nice and early for bedtime to make up for any of that lost sleep during the day. It is not something we want to make a habit of, but it is okay once in a while.
The key to napping away from your normal environment is to set your expectations and bring what you can to recreate your home environment. This may not always be possible, and that is okay. As parents, we can only do what we can do to keep our little ones’ schedules and sleep on track and consistent when away from home. Bedtime is always flexible based on naps. Use an early bedtime to help make up for any lost sleep. Following the 80/20 rule allows you to still get out and have some freedoms, but continue with your consistent routine. Balance is key.