Summer Travels and Healthy Sleep for Your Baby

From cottaging to road trips, here are the top questions most commonly asked by parents during the summer months.

baby sleep while traveling

Cottage and camping trips are being planned and I begin to get the question, “We’re going away soon. How do I protect my baby’s sleep?”

Here are the four summer travel questions I get asked most from parents, plus my top tips on how to enjoy your summer vacation and road trip with a happy and well-rested baby.

1. How Can I Help My Child Sleep in a Different Environment?

Even the best of sleepers can struggle with sleeping in a new environment. The first thing you want to make sure is that the environment is conducive to sleep. 

Don’t forget to pack your travel black-out blinds and portable white-noise machine that you use at home. Having these familiar components in an unfamiliar sleep environment can help create a more restful sleep for everyone.

Also, practicing a consistent bedtime routine at home is something you can take with you wherever you go.  A similar sequence of events can better prepare your child for sleep.

Practicing this routine away from home will help give the feeling of security and familiarity to your baby, even if he is unsure of his environment.

2. A Few of My Favorite Things

If your child has a lovey or blanket that is a comfort item, don’t forget to bring it along. Giving him this item at bedtime and reading him familiar books, etc., can help ease the transition to a new sleep environment.

You can use the same crib sheet from home so your baby will have that familiar smell or for your toddler, pack up their pillowcase and use it on their new bed.

3. When is The Best Time for Road Tripping?

A long car ride with a baby is always best if you can time it just right with his nap.  If you are leaving during the day, try and leave at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on how sleep sensitive your child is) before naptime.

Chances are your baby won’t fall asleep right away so this way it gives him some time to relax and hopefully fall asleep closer to the usual naptime.

If you are leaving at night, get him changed in his pj’s and leave prior to his bedtime. He can start off bedtime in the car and then you can quietly set up your pack in play and transfer him gently to bed for the rest of the evening.

Quick Tip – It’s always a good idea to turn the cell phones to vibrate while in the car and always give yourself some time to have a relaxed road trip for extra stops for feedings, potty breaks and leg stretches.

4. I Want to Start Sleep Training But Should We Wait Until Vacation Is Over?

If you make the decision to start sleep training, but you have an upcoming trip, I recommend holding off until you return home. 

It’s so hard to be consistent when you are traveling and have jammed-packed agendas.  Consistency is key in any sleep-training plan so enjoy your trip and when you get back home you can get started right away.

If you have already sleep-trained and are worried about keeping your little one on a schedule try not to worry too much about it. You do want to protect his sleep as much as possible but you don’t want to be trapped inside during every nap. 

Try and encourage some quiet time and stroller sleep throughout the day if you can’t make it back to the hotel room or cottage for naptime and try not to have a late bedtime every night.

The beauty of having a rock star sleeper is as soon as you get back home and get right back on track he’ll adjust back without too much trouble.

Safe and sleepy travels to all!