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.