Keeping baby’s nap routine while traveling

Baby napping while traveling

Baby napping while travelingOne of the biggest mistakes parents make when traveling is trying to pack too much fun into one day.

You just can’t travel like you used to in your kid-free days. You have a baby now and they need to sleep. A lot.

If you have a newborn (0 – 3 months old), they are taking 4 to 5 naps per day and probably don’t have a regular sleep schedule yet. They can usually nap anywhere so being on the go is a lot easier at this age. As long as your baby can nap in a stroller or carrier, you don’t have to worry much about traveling affecting their naps when they are under 3 months old.

Once your baby is between 3 and 6 months old, they should be napping at least 3 times per day and have an established nap schedule. Infants between 6 and 14 months typically require two solid naps per day and toddlers (15 months to 3 years old), require one nap per day. This is when traveling with baby and keeping them on their sleep schedule becomes more difficult.

Keeping as close to your baby’s regular sleep schedule as possible is the ideal but this just isn’t always realistic when you travel.

Tips to keeping your baby’s nap routine:

  • Try to have at least one of your child’s naps in the same place they sleep at night (ie Pack and Play).
  • Use the same nap/sleep routine you do at home and be sure to pack their favorite blanket or stuffed toy.
  • Make sure you offer your baby a place to nap like a stroller or carrier while you are out.
  • Plan your excursions around your baby’s nap schedule. For example, let them have their first nap of the day where they sleep at night, their second nap in a stroller or carrier while you are out, and their third back at “home”.

It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new so hold tight to your routines and be consistent. Within the first day or two, they should be sleeping well in their new environment.

Three things you MUST do before getting on an airplane with a baby

Photo by César Rincón

1. Use the restroom!

Make sure you go pee yourself and be sure to change your baby. Start the flight off with an empty bladder and a clean diaper. If the flight is short enough, you may be able to avoid having to use the small airplane lavatory altogether. If not, at least you’ll be able to wait until the fasten seatbelt sign has been turned off before you have to go yourself.

2. Make sure your carry on bag is stocked with all the essentials you’ll need to make it through the flight.

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • changing pad
  • extra clothes for baby
  • extra shirt for you
  • bottle of water for you
  • snack for you
  • soother or chew toy
  • favorite/new toys
  • bottles and formula
  • breastfeeding cover up
  • receiving blanket
  • food for baby if needed
  • hand sanitizer
  • gum
  • pen for filling out forms

If you discover that you’ve forgotten to pack anything, you can buy it at the airport. Of course you’ll need to buy your bottled water after you’ve cleared security.

3. Check in at the gate before they make the boarding announcements to get your “Gate Checked” tag(s) for your stroller and/or car seat.

The agent will give you a tag to put on your stroller (and your car seat if you are traveling with both) that indicates that it will be stowed on board. It’s much better to ask for this ahead of time than to wait until there is a line up of people waiting to board. When it is your turn to board, you wheel your stroller down the ramp, fold it up and leave it outside of the aircraft for the ground crew to pick up.