Vacations are… different, to say the least, once you have a baby. They are a little less relaxing and a little more challenging. I’m not only referring to not being able to sleep later on vacay but also all the extra items you have to pack and lug around. There isn’t much we can do about all the extras we have to bring, but there are definitely things that can be done to keep everyone well-rested and happy.
My daughter was 5 months old when we took her on our first family vacation to the beach. I thought it would be a breeze and I would let her sleep on the beach some days and some naps we would go back to our condo. After all, pictures of sleeping beach babies on social media are the cutest, right?! I just decided we would have a go-with-the-flow mentality. She, however, had other plans. Since she was by then sleeping independently at home, trying to change things up threw her for a loop. By mid-week, her night sleep fell apart and was waking often throughout the night. It ended up being a very restless trip for everyone and far from the vacations we once knew. There are a few things I learned on that trip to implement the following year which made for a totally different and enjoyable vacation.
Some children are very adaptable, but for those who aren’t, like my daughter, here are some tips to help your little one rest easy while vacationing:
- Stick to your normal schedule and routine. If your baby naps at 9:30a and 1:30p, don’t expect to have a happy camper if you push for one nap for the whole day. Being thrown off schedule for a day here or there doesn’t usually end in a catastrophe. However, two or three consecutive days of schedule change will likely be unpleasant for everyone.
- If possible, have a separate room for your child to sleep. It wasn’t fun for us having to tip-toe into a shared room every night. Sleeping separately also helps if you or your baby is a noisy sleeper to avoid waking the other. If space allows, you can set up a Pack ‘n Play or portable crib in a bathroom or even a closet if there’s ventilation. If a separate space or another room is not an option, try to use a room divider so your baby won’t be able to see you.
- If your baby doesn’t sleep well in a Pack ‘n Play, rent a crib. Call around or search online and find a company that rents cribs in the area you will be traveling to. They will usually come set the crib up for you in your condo or vacation home!
- Keep the sleep environment familiar. Use white noise. Bring your baby’s crib sheet, lovies and/or sleep sac, etc. from home. Consider purchasing Redi Shades to help darken the room. They are quick and easy to put up and take down.
- Don’t stress. Try to enjoy your time away with your family. If all else fails, your baby will bounce back within a few days once you return home.