Traveling on a vacation or just running an errand, making sure your little ones gets their necessary naps for the day is important to the whole family! The struggle can be real and finding that balance is the challenge. We are talking today with sleep consultant, Hadley Seward, a NYC-based certified sleep consultant and mama of two. She works with families across the U.S. and Europe to get more sleep.
We asked her to share 5 tips for making sure your littles can get their sleep while you are on the go…busy running errands or on a vacation. These tips are a really great resource…but try not to make them a habit so that your baby can also get deep, restorative sleep in his bassinet or crib.
Hadley says, ” As a sleep consultant, it’s important to me that everyone gets enough sleep, but as a mom… I also have to be realistic.
Ideally our babies should take every nap in the crib, but sometimes it’s just not possible. There are days when doctor’s appointments, urgent errands, or school drop-off interfere with our good intentions and carefully laid out plans. In these instances, we have no choice but to turn to on-the-go sleep. It can be a busy mama’s savior–but it’s important that your baby doesn’t always nap on-the-go. Otherwise, he’ll likely develop a preference for it and eventually will refuse to sleep at home. Which isn’t fun for anyone.”
image via @snugglemeorganic
Tip #1. If you’re a new mom, on-the-go naps are your BFF. Since babies younger than 4 months aren’t yet on strict nap schedules, the fourth trimester is a great time to get out and about with your newborn. It may feel daunting to brave the world with your tiny human, but you’ll quickly become a pro. Invest in a baby carrier and/or stroller with a lie-flat bassinet–you’ll make good use of both.
Tip #2. Once your baby turns 4 months, it’s time to decrease the use of on-the-go naps. Ninety-nine percent of babies need a consistent daytime sleep schedule. Yes, it can be annoying and may feel like it’s impossible to plan anything fun. But if your child is taking short naps and/or waking multiple times overnight, she’s likely not getting enough quality daytime sleep. I generally advise that parents aim for 80% naps at home and 20% on-the-go.
Tip #3. Leave the house before the scheduled nap time. If you need a scheduled nap to happen in the stroller or carrier, leave the house a few minutes before you’d like your baby to sleep. Once infants become more aware of their surroundings, they may need a few minutes to check out the world before they’re ready to drift off to dreamland. If you don’t give them this time, they may become overtired while in the stroller or carrier and refuse the nap.
Tip #4. Make the stroller a comfy sleep spot. For babies older than four months, sleeping in the stroller is like an adult sleeping in an airplane: though technically sleep, it’s not nearly as restorative as it would be in your own bed. I’ve had success using a travel white noise machine in my baby’s stroller to help to drown out the noise from my rowdy preschooler and his friends. You can also drape a thin muslin cloth partially over the stroller to darken the interior, but be careful that you don’t inadvertently create a hot box, especially in the summer.
Tip #5. Going somewhere far? Plan around nap time. Most parents don’t relish the idea of being trapped in a car with their kids — me neither! We’ve had great success planning longer car trips around nap time; just be sure to leave before the scheduled nap so that your child has time to acclimate to being in the car. In no time at all, he’ll be blissfully sleeping and you’ll be off-duty for a while. (For babies under 12 months, it’s recommended that you stop every hour or so, as it’s not safe to sleep in car seats for extended periods of time. More information here.)
There you have it! On-the-go sleep can he a huge help for busy moms; just be sure it doesn’t become a habit so that your baby can also get deep, restorative sleep in his bassinet or crib.
Image via @almostmakesperfect
We recently shared a simplified travel guide for traveling with littles, making travel easier.. Read it HERE
***Hadley Seward, a NYC-based certified sleep consultant and mama of two. She works with families across the U.S. and Europe to get more sleep. Follow her day to day over @_bonnenuitbaby