ONE of the biggest questions I get after baby is sleeping 11-12 hours at night, is what do I do with my baby when we go on vacation, airplane, different time zone, etc.? Mom usually is having a mini panic attack 3 months before they are going on the vacation in fear of their baby’s sleep will be messed up.
Have no fear. Vacation holds a new name when you bring a baby on a vacation. It’s more like a fun trip. Trips are not kick back by the pool, sipping a cool drink, catching up on your light read magazines and in the depth of a really intriguing novel…That’s what a vacation is, and going on a vacation with a baby is a trip. It’s fun, routine may get thrown out the window, you may sleep in, or wake up 3 hrs earlier if in a different time zone. It’s ok. If you get off routine while on your vacation, when you get back home, just get back to your routine.
STROLLER + CARSEAT + NAPS ON PLANE: You can bring the stroller up to the front of loading the airplane, and they will load it under the plane for you. If you are planning on bringing a stroller for traveling in the airplane and when you reach your destination, then bring it. If you don’t need a stroller for when you arrive at your destination, or if there is a stroller there provided, then just Ergo (or similar carrier) your baby. When your baby is awake, just carry your baby in the Ergo. If it’s nap time and you’re in the airport, then Ergo your baby to sleep on the plane if needed. Or, you can bring the carseat if you feel your baby will nap better with this, or if you need a carseat for your destination. If it’s a short trip, it may be easier to Ergo your baby to sleep on you then in a carseat, and rent a car seat with the car rental company. If you do choose to bring the carseat, then you will have to purchase a ticket for your baby if you are bringing a carseat onto the plane. Short trips, better to just have baby sleep on you in the Ergo or in your arms. Your baby will only sleep about 45 min anyways on you, so might as well not bring the carseat and just rent one with the car rental company (call ahead to reserve one). One less thing to bring. But if it makes you feel safer to bring your carseat, then do so. On the plane and at the airport, do what ever makes your baby sane and you sane. If it’s giving your baby an extra feed on the flight/airport just do it. If your baby is awake the whole time, just go with it. But the next day in destination, get back to somewhat of your baby’s feeding and sleep routine (where ever it may be) so at least you can enjoy your trip.
DIAPER BAG OR PURSE: Bring a large purse or diaper bag with extra diapers, wipes, bottle, sippy cup with water, baby food, extra clothes for next day incase luggage is lost, or incase of diaper blowout on plane. Bring double the amount of baby food in your diaper bag or carry on incase you have travel delays. The sippy cup, bottle or nursing with help equalize your babies ears by sucking, and keep her/him content sitting for 10-20 mins at the time of take off, or landing.
TIME CHANGE: If your baby is slept trained, she/he will be on their clock. When you go east, its at your advantage, because mommy and daddy can stay up longer with baby an hour or so, and hopefully baby sleeps in an hour later too….hopefully. Baby will be on their own schedule, so if the trip isn’t longer then 7-10 days, then feed baby on their time zone they are used to. Bigger time changes 3-5 +, you will just have a few days of hard transition, and do your best to roll with it. If putting to bed in the stroller for bedtime, while you are going out to dinner, just do what brings sanity and makes most sense for all that is traveling with you, and do what makes you the least anxious. With smaller time changes, its best to keep on your time zone and then when you come home, there is no transition with time change. Going west, everyone is just going to have to get up earlier and watch the sunrise. As much as you hope for baby to sleep in going west, it may not happen the first few days. If baby is a little off on feed times and nap times, it’s ok. You all are on vacation or a trip, what ever you want to call it, so if you all are off, it’s ok. When you get back home, back on your routine.
BEDTIME + NAPTIME: If you don’t have an option to have your baby in another room, then try to find a closet or bathroom to put baby in for bedtime or naps. Incase baby wakes early in the am, she/he isn’t staring at you right next to your bed. And when she/he goes to bed, they aren’t just wondering why mommy and daddy are sitting right next to her/him when she/he is going to bed. A little crying to sleep may be needed on vacay to go to bed if baby is confused where she/he is. And at nap time, you can do your thing in the hotel room/condo/house while baby is napping, and no need to try to be like mice. You can always bring a sound machine or use sound machine app on a phone, or most likely your baby will be a little overtired with traveling that falling to sleep is easy.
Remember, if baby is off routine, don’t worry. Just get back on routine when you return home. Enjoy your vacation, have fun and just go with it!