Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Pre-kids, avoiding jet lag usually meant that you would force yourself to stay awake until your new destinations ‘night-time’ and book yourself an extra day’s rest on your return to recover. However, when you have a baby or toddler staying awake is a whole different story. Here are some of our Baby Sleep Coach top tips for surviving baby and toddler jet lag.

landing aeroplane in the blue skies

When is the best flight time with a Baby or Toddler?

When booking your holiday in addition to considering the cost of your flights, you might want to consider the flight timings and how this will affect your little one. Every baby or toddler has their own sleep patterns, so there are a few factors to consider:

  • Booking a flight that lands close to bedtime:

This will mean that on arrival you can start your bedtime routine (bath, milk, story etc) and they will be able to recognise the signs that bedtime is approaching. Try to keep them awake on the last few hours of the flight – ideally the similar number of hours they would normally have between the last nap and bed.

  • Booking a flight that lands in the morning:

If your baby or toddler usually sleeps well whilst travelling, this might be ideal for you. If you can get your little one to have a decent length of sleep on the plane and create some darkness, this will help them to adjust on waking to the ‘new’ morning.

baby sleeping in hotel room

How to help your Baby or Toddler Sleep on Holiday

The first night’s sleep on holiday is always the hardest! Accept that your little one may be disturbed during the night and don’t stay up too late yourself in case there are regular wakings – you want to enjoy your first full day too!

Try to replicate your usual bedtime routine as much as possible, keeping the room dark or dimly lit will help if they wake early and are struggling to get back to sleep. Whilst it’s tempting to bring them into your bed and let them watch a phone or tablet whilst you snooze, do your utmost to avoid blue light as this can disturb their sleep patterns further. 

Ideally, you don’t want to ‘get up’ before your usual morning time, as this will help give the impression that we are back on schedule. If that includes some sleepy cuddles in bed or some quiet activities such as reading a story, this is okay too.

This Baby Sleep Coach article on How To Get Baby To Sleep Whilst Travelling is filled with expert advice on helping your little one sleep whilst on holiday.

baby sleeping in the pram

How do I manage naps for my baby or toddler on Holiday?

If you have had a rough first night away, it’s okay to let your baby or toddler sleep in a little although try not to go more than 2 hours over the usual wake-up time to avoid disturbing nap patterns. 

When you wake on the first day, make sure you spend it outside! The sunshine’s dose of Vitamin D is vital in helping reset the body clock, so whilst there might be some great indoor facilities or you might want to head near the kids club to have a relaxing day for the grown-ups – don’t be tempted! 

Try to keep naptimes as close to your at-home routine as possible, you’ll know yourself whether your child is willing to sleep in a pram on the move or would be more settled in a cot. Do whichever you think will work best for them whilst they settle into this new environment.

family with a child eating at the restaurant

Should I change food timings on Holiday for my Baby or Toddler?

The most important answer to this question is that you keep your little one hydrated, especially if you have flown to somewhere much hotter. When we’re on holiday, many hotels or similar offer food options over a set period of time, usually your little one’s feeding slot will fall into these quite nicely. However, if you find that your mealtime needs to be slightly later (if they are used to eating at nursery at 4 pm, for instance) then try to give them a light snack around the usual mealtime to keep them satisfied until you get your meal.

If your baby is on breastmilk or formula then, try to stick to your usual pattern but accept they will need more hydration and prepare yourself to feed them more often.

If your weaned baby or toddler seems to be struggling with new times, give them a light snack before bed – preferably non-sugary although this can be harder to avoid when not at home. Find some sleepy foods here that might spark inspiration for a bedtime snack.

African baby sleeping on his side

How do I avoid ruining my baby or toddler’s sleep routine when I return home?

Consider your return flights the same way you consider your outbound flights and try to accommodate the last day of naps and sleep around what (if any) sleep you might prefer them to have on the plane.

 When away, it’s common to juggle schedules to get time for a little evening entertainment or a longer sleep in the morning when you don’t have work to get up for. On your return, you’re best advised to immediately ‘return to normal’. This will set the tone that ‘we are home now, back to business as usual’ with your little one. Like us, they will likely be happy to be back in the familiarity of their own bed and back in their regular routine in no time.

For more advice relating to this blog, why not check out my Top Ten Tips for Travelling with a Baby or Toddler?

HOLISTIC BABY SLEEP COACH

 

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

A common baby sleep question I get from tired mothers is How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?! New parents, in particular, can struggle with the concept that their baby has had as little sleep with them, is so much smaller and yet seems to have bundles of energy whilst we have none. Quite rightly, parents can be concerned because they know that sleep is an important factor in any child’s development and allows them to grow physically, emotionally and cognitively but the question remains; How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
Let’s examine this.

child sleeping in bed

When a child doesn’t get their much-needed sleep, they will get more emotional and have a harder time concentrating on the usual day to day activities. One night of a child that won’t sleep won’t harm them, but it is when they can’t perform the tasks they need to in order to develop correctly that we start to see an issue. It is the same with babies, they do need their rest (even if they seem to think they don’t) and whilst a few bad nights won’t harm them, it is preferred from a developmental standpoint that they get their required hours.

Just like adults, the amount of sleep a baby needs can vary between individuals. Just as we all have that friend who can have three hours of sleep and still be chirpy in the morning, so can our babies. Generally speaking, you can tell if your baby has had enough sleep by their mood. Of course, there are external factors, such as the dreaded teething, that can steer us off course in judging how much sleep our baby needs and we can also reflect our own feelings onto the baby – just because you haven’t coped well with fragmented sleep doesn’t mean your baby is struggling too! If you are concerned your baby hasn’t gotten enough sleep then keep an eye out for their sleepy cues during the day.

We all wake between sleep cycles and it’s perfectly normal for a young baby to require some support from you in order to get themselves back to sleep. As they get older, this need for support usually lessens and like ourselves, they begin to only stir between sleep cycles. The way in which children typically gain the amount of sleep they need changes as they grow and develop. Every baby is unique, of course.

infant sleeping on the back on mattress

However, recommended sleep amounts, and the way this is typically structured within a 24-hour period for children of different stages of development is shown below:

Chart of average sleep need for children and adults

This chart is not a strict, necessary structure. It is an average and as with all averages, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for your child to fall on either side of these numbers. As a general rule of thumb, if your child is healthy and happy then there is a very high chance that they are getting enough sleep! As you learn their sleepy cues and their behaviours at different times of the day, you will be able to recognise when they need a bit of extra sleep due to a disturbed night previously or illness.

sleep chart

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.

HOLISTIC BABY SLEEP COACH

Take a moment to reflect on the amount of sleep your child is getting and Ask yourself:

  • What is my child’s average day-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………

  • What is my child’s average night-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………

  • Calculate the above, in 24 hours how much sleep do they have?

    Answer here……………………………………………………………………..

  • What is the difference between the above number and the number range written on the chart?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • If there is a significant difference, is it the daytime or nighttime sleep that is causing the biggest difference?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • Whilst, as parents, we can often feel tired and desperate for the ‘break’ that daytime sleep provides, if it is causing issues with night-time sleep it is usually best to have shorter daytime naps in exchange for a good night’s sleep.

  • Some babies will only ever do short naps and it doesn’t matter how much you try to get them to nap longer they just never do, and it is ok. More short naps are equally as good as longer naps.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better?

Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better?

If you are a parent, chances are that at some point an older relative has told you that fresh air will help your baby sleep better and, as with a lot of advice from older generations, we are always sceptical as to how much is myth or truth. In this blog, we will look into the facts from a baby sleep expert viewpoint to find out if Vitamin D can improve your baby’s sleep

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What Is Vitamin D And Where Can We Find It?

Vitamin D can be found in solar exposure (sunshine!) and smaller quantities can be found in food. It’s proven to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate within the body which can affect the growth of bones, teeth and muscles – the NHS website even warns against the risk of rickets because of lack of vitamin D! Recent studies have also shown that there is a correlation between both sleep quality and quantity when low levels of vitamin D, which we’ll go into further later on.

When Should Your Child Have A Vitamin D Supplement?

If you are breastfeeding, you should have been advised to give your baby, and mum, an oral vitamin D supplement daily to ensure this particular need is met. If your baby is on formula, then their vitamin D needs will be met through the fortified milk. Just don’t forget to start them on the supplement when they switch over to cow’s milk! The advice is that your child should have a vitamin D supplement up to the age of 5, but during the current covid-19 pandemic it is advised that we all take these supplements to compensate for less time spent outdoors.

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How Does Vitamin D Affect My Baby’s Sleep?

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in July 2020 investigating the relationship between sleep and vitamin D proved two outcomes through their sleep study. Those children with a vitamin D deficiency slept for not only less time but they also tended to have a later bedtime, two things that all parents want to avoid with their little ones.

Without getting too technical with the scientific aspects, the vitamin D binds receptors in areas of the brain which are involved in sleep regulation. It also plays a pivotal role in the process of creating melatonin which is a hormone that helps baby sleep better.

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Using This Information We Have Come Up With Some Baby Sleep Guidance For Ensuring Your Baby’s Vitamin D Is Fully Topped Up As Well As Their Amount Of Sleep!

1. Ensure Your Baby Is Having A Vitamin D Supplement If You Breastfeeding Or If They Are Over One Year Old.

Your baby should take vitamin D Supplement if they are breastfeeding or are over one year old and drinking cows milk. These oral supplements are easy to add to your daily routine, they can be flavoured, and if you struggle to pay for these extra supplements your Health Visitor or doctor should be able to source some for you

2. Get Outside As Much As You Can!

In addition to the Vitamin D dose, the outdoors bring, even in dreary weather taking the pram outside for some fresh air will do both you and baby the world of good. In a lot of countries, they leave the baby to nap outside in the pram – even in snowy weather! When growing up in the mountains in Europe, all the children my age, including me, would be parked outside in the pram whether that was on the balcony or in the garden and issues with baby sleeping were completely unheard of! Although let us just clarify that your Baby Sleep Coach isn’t advising you leave your sleepy angel parked napping with the foxes nibbling at its feet in central London! However, there’s no reason why you can’t sit outside with a cup of tea or an ice cream (weather depending) and enjoy the outdoors whilst baby naps if you have the outdoor space. Sleeping when out on walks is also a natural part of the newborn stage that has great health and sleep benefits for both mum and baby. This is particularly useful in the colder months when our homes are stuffy with central heating.

References:
The Lullaby Of The Sun: the role of vitamin D in sleep disturbance, Muscogiuri et al, 2018.
Vitamin D and sleep in children, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2020

So Can Vitamin D Help My Baby Sleep Better And For Longer?

The answer is YES! In addition to being a necessary vitamin to promote good levels of calcium and growth, Vitamin D promotes improved quality and length of sleep in not only infants but also the parents as well. With scientific research backing up this sleep advice, we definitely think it’s worth putting into action with your family to help you all get a better nights sleep.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Foods To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night

Foods To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night

Any parent of a baby or toddler longs for their baby to be a sleepy angel and sleep through the night.  Frantic google searches in the small hours ask, “how can I help my baby settle to sleep” or “sleep tips for toddlers”.  In this article, we take a close look at foods that can help your baby sleep through the night.  We’ll look at tips that can support quality sleep for your baby and for you, and we’ll be discussing tasty mealtime options that are a win-win when it comes to helping your baby to sleep through the night.

So What Foods Will Help My Toddler Sleep?

Generally speaking, look for foods that are high in melatonin which helps to control the body’s circadian rhythm, vitamin B6 which helps brain produce melatonin, tryptophan and vitamin C which helps to produce serotonin and melatonin. Also foods rich in potassium and magnesium.

 

List Of Sleep Inducing Foods To Help Your Child Sleep:

  • Tart cherries and tart cherry juice

  • Banana, Pineapple, Kiwi, Figs, Oranges

  • Avocado, tomatoes

  • Broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn

  • Kale, spinach, lettuce

  • Soybeans (edamame)

  • Milk, Natural unsweetened yoghurt

  • Eggs

  • Poultry

  • fatty fish

  • Walnuts, pistachios and. cashews

  • Oats and wheat

  • Rice, beans, lentils

  • sweet potatoes, butternut squash

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What Should Breastfeeding Mum Eat To Help Baby Sleep?

Many Mums choose to breastfeed their baby, and in doing so, you can ensure your breast milk is rich in sleep supporting foods.  Nutrients in foods that Mum’s eat pass through into breastmilk.  Breastfeeding Mums should avoid excess stimulants in their diet, such as caffeine, artificial additives and sugar if they are serious about foods to help baby sleep through the night.  Likewise, eating foods that are rich in the amino acid, tryptophan, can be a smart choice for breastfeeding Mums who want to support their baby’s sleep.  So what should breastfeeding mum eat? Tryptophan is found in a range of foods such as turkey, eggs, wheat and oats, soy products, bananas and green leafy vegetables.  All these foods contain tryptophan which supports the production of the hormone melatonin to regulate sleep.

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Weaning And Foods To Help Baby Sleep Well

As your baby begins to wean at about 6-months of age, you can introduce foods that help baby to sleep through the night.  Aim for foods that are nutritious and easy to digest, and steer clear of stimulants such as caffeine and artificial additives.  Many parents don’t realise that chocolate can contain caffeine, so it’s wise to limit your baby or toddler’s consumption of this sweet treat.

Foods that support sleep for babies and toddlers include those rich in tryptophan as listed above.  You can get creative and introduce shredded turkey into soups and broths for your baby.  Scrambled eggs with small amounts of Spanish wilted down makes a great sleep supporting dinner and its easy to bake simple oat-based cookies sweetened with mashed banana.

In addition, consider slower burning carbohydrates as a smart choice so that nutrients are absorbed at a slower rate.  Oats, sweet potatoes, rice and butternut squash all contain complex carbsFoods rich in B-vitamins also support sleep. Beans, lentils, broccoli, avocados and bananas help your child to produce the calming and relaxing hormones of serotonin and magnesium.

Leading children’s food expert, Annabel Karmel, has some fantastic sleep supporting recipes that you and your baby can enjoy as part of a healthy diet.  The BBC Good Food website lists a range of healthy recipes that include many of the foods listed above, including meal ideas that are suited for baby-led weaning and toddlers.  Aim to cook up a storm for you and your baby in order to make the most of foods that help baby sleep through the night.

A bedtime milk feed for babies and toddlers continues to be an important source of nutrition for your child.  A small warm bottle of milk, or a breastfeed prior to sleep night can have a soothing effect that helps baby sleep through the night.

    girl eating broccoli

    Mealtimes That Help Baby Sleep Through The Night, What Is The Suggested Time To Eat Dinner?

    You’ll know yourself that trying to settle to sleep on a full stomach after a large meal is uncomfortable and unlikely to result in settled sleep.  You baby will benefit from well-timed meals to support them sleep through the night.  A large meal immediately before bed raises your baby’s metabolic rate and body temperature. This can make it harder to settle to sleep.  Aim that the evening meal for babies that are weaning is given around 1 ½ hours before bedtime.  That leaves enough time for awake activity and bath time, and then a final milk feed which will all help with your baby’s sleep.

    In Summary:

    So, to help your baby sleep through the night, aim to build the following tips into your baby’s routine today

    • Avoid foods that will ruin your child’s sleep. If you are breastfeeding, avoid caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Eat foods rich in tryptophan

    • Avoid giving babies that are weaning caffeine and artificial additives.

    • Sleep supporting foods for babies that are weaning include foods rich in tryptophan, B-vitamins and complex carbohydrates.

    • Allow time for your baby to digest their evening meal before bed.

    • A warm milk drink or breastfeed immediately before bed can help your baby to sleep well.

    references:

     Friedman M. (2018). Analysis, Nutrition, and Health Benefits of Tryptophan. International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR, 11, 1178646918802282. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178646918802282

     Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010228

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

      How Do I Make My Kids Room Sleep-Friendly?

      How Do I Make My Kids Room Sleep-Friendly?

      Arranging your child’s bedroom in a way that supports sleep can not only promote a more relaxing environment to fall asleep in but also an environment that supports resettling,  should your child wake during the night. You are aiming for the bedroom to be a calm, inviting space that your child associates with sleep.  

      Let’s consider a range of strategies that can help you to create that for your child:

      mum and dad reading story to their child at bedtime

      Make The Children’s Bedroom A Screen Free Zone

      • Aim to make the bedroom, and especially the bed, a no-screen zone, even during the day. Research shows that TV watching in the bedroom impacts young children’s sleep. The artificial blue light emitted by screens of televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming systems promotes alertness and impacts our sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
      • Many parents find that using a nightlight emitting a red-light wavelength can support sleep by stimulating the production of the sleepy hormone, melatonin.  If your child is scared of the dark we recommend using a red night light, a lot of parents use soft glow room thermometers which have a gentle orange glow when the room is the right temperature. Try to avoid leaving the door open as this can be a fire hazard. Avoid being able to see blue lights as discussed here.
      sleep friendly children's room

      How Do I Make My Child’s Room Sleep Friendly?

      • Set the thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature to support your toddler to feel sleepy. Aim for between 16 – 18 degrees. Breathable cotton clothing can also help with keeping cool at night.
      • Top Tip – put socks on your baby, under their sleep clothes and the sleeping bag. Room temperature normally drops at around 5 am, this can  wake your child as their feet suddenly get cold. Often the extra pair of socks can help with early rising.
      • Keep the bedroom quiet or consider using a white noise machine to mask outside sounds – particularly if your child has been used to this as a baby. Use dark curtains to block out light.
      little girl happy sleeping in her sleep friendly bedroom

      What To Watch Out For In Older Child’s Bedroom? 

      • Attend to any objects that cast potentially frightening shadows at night. This could leave a child frightened. You can ask your child if there is anything they want to take out of their bedroom to get a sense of what may potentially scare them.
      • If your child plays in their bedroom, involve them in tidying away toys before bed, so there is a clear separation between “play time” and “sleep time”.
      • If your child shares their room with a sibling, ensure each child has a separate space to call their own.
      family with a newborn baby in the moses basket

      Bedroom Set Up For A Newborn To 1 Year Old

      • In the room you should have cot or Moses or travel cot or carry cot. Use a good quality, firm, flat and waterproof mattress covered with cotton sheet. You will need a sleeping bag for a baby and light cellular blankets (remember to tuck those in, never have them loose in the cot with a baby).
      • Avoid using sleep pods or nests, sleepyhead, sleep positioners, hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets, loose heavy, non-breathable blankets, comforters or soft toys for children under 1 year old. Make sure to always follow  Lullaby trust safety recommendations! to prevent your baby from SIDS.
      children's bedroom shelves with soft toys

      Bedroom Set Up For Older Child

      • Use comfortable bedding and pillows that are appropriate for the temperature of the room – don’t forget to let your child help select their bedding or make it relevant to their likes and interests.
      • The Lullaby Trust recommends no bedding until after 12 months and ideally not until the child is using a toddler bed as opposed to a cot with raised sides. In these sleep guides you will find great techniques that will help you with transitioning from co-sleeping, transitioning to the cot or how to transition to a toddler bed.

      How To Avoid Any Bedroom  Anxieties:

      • You can leave an item or an object that reminds your child of you to support your child to manage any sense of separation anxiety. For example, they could place one of your pyjama tops under their pillow as a reminder that you are never far away. A photo could serve a similar purpose.
      • Many children have a transitional object: a particular favourite teddy or blanket that helps them to feel secure when you are not there. This can be a great support to a child. If your child has a transitional object, encourage them to take this into the bedroom at sleep time. You can use “teddy” as a means of talking about sleep needs. For example, “teddy has had a busy day, and wants to be quiet and calm now. Can you keep teddy company and help him drop to sleep?”

      Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


      For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
       1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.