Life on the road can upset even the best young sleepers, and you won’t want to overstay your welcome as a guest. “Do the best you can,” says Jodi Zisser, a therapist in New York City who works with many new parents. “Try to follow a routine as closely to what you do at home as you can.”
If you want to continue sleep training while traveling:
- Mimic your bedtime routine. Your baby is most likely to do well on the road if you can stick to your bedtime routine as closely as possible. For example, if you usually bathe and read to your baby before bedtime at home, do the same on the road.
- Pack your usual soothers. Bring his pacifier, wearable blanket, or sound machine. (Or download a white noise app onto your smartphone or tablet.) Your baby will find the familiar soothing and be more likely to sleep well.
- Do a trial run. Let your baby sleep in a travel crib for the few nights leading up to your trip so he’s used to it by the time you hit the road.
If it gets too stressful:
- Put sleep training on hold. You might want to wait until you’re back home to continue sleep training. In that case, expect a few nights or even weeks of resistance, says Zisser. “You will experience some regression,” she says, “and you may have an adjustment period. But babies have to learn to adapt, and change is good for them.” Your baby will be back on track soon enough.
- Check into a hotel if staying with friends or family becomes a problem. If you’re worried about being a nuisance to your hosts, there’s always a hotel. You could continue sleep training at the hotel, but you’ll likely run into the same noise concerns with the other guests so you might want to hold off until you return home.
Tips from BabyCenter parents who’ve been there:
Keep your baby close
“If you’re traveling, co-sleeping and feeding your baby while she’s sleeping next to you is a foolproof way to quickly end the tears and even prevent them.”
Stick to your schedule
“Do what you can to assure their comfort and keep to their regular feeding intervals, and offer the chance to rest constantly. My 5-month old has been on two round-trip flights coast to coast and barely registered the two-hour time difference. We try to keep as much of his routine as possible.”
Pack his stuff
“We bring everything that he sleeps with. If your baby sleeps with a noisemaker, bring it. If he sleeps with a night-light, bring it.”
Bring items that smell like home
“We bring the sheet from his crib at home. (Gasp – not the clean one, the one he slept on the night before.) It smells like home and he is accustomed to it. “
Use white noise
“We turned on some sort of white noise to drown out the strange new noises she might hear at my parents house.”
Get help for other challenging sleep training scenarios