Part two: International travel – a sleep consultants persepctive: never travel without….
I didn’t have any other “book me a flight home – now” moments on the trip. Beau really quickly learnt that sometimes it was okay to be awake for 5 hours and that mum would make sure he got the sleep he needed as soon as possible, wherever possible. Wardrobes, bathrooms, buggys, seats on ferries, and carseats got turned into awesome little sleeping huts. My husband loved to use our dark sheet and his duct tape to make a mini blackout room wherever we were.
Do not travel without items one and two:
• Blackout sheet – mine is navy blue queen size from Spotlight. Super cheap and the best thing for darkening a sleep space wherever you are.
• Duct tape – not so much sleep related but turned out to be really handy throughout the trip for fixing power adapters, suitcases and taping up the odd hotel curtain.
When it came to new timezones, I was in constant dread of having another meltdown like our first day. It’s fair to say I can be precious about Beau’s sleep and I make it a priority, so I was racked with guilt after those first few days and did not want a repeat. I went with the philosophy of changing as soon as we arrived. So, if we thought it was 2 in the morning but the clock in the new time zone said it was 7am then we were getting up and getting some sunshine and breakfast. Food, light and play are great ways to set your body clock and, tired or not, we started our day and tried to follow a normal routine. It’s amazing how you can put your own jet lag behind you to help your baby.
I always tried for Beau to have one good sleep a day at our accommodation in his cot, but some days this wasn’t achievable. This is where a good lie down buggy comes in.
Do not travel without item three:
• Buggy that can lie down with a sun shade cover – I love my Mountain Buggy in navy blue for a good dark sleep in the streets.
Combined with the blackout sheet over top this is a premium sleeping place – easy! Not so easy is finding somewhere at Universal Studios where they are not constantly pumping out cheery Disney tunes at full volume and with a little shade to actually put your baby down to sleep! But we got there. Buggy naps were gold at airports too. Most airports will let you check your buggy at the last minute before you get on and give it back as you get off at the other end, so he was able to sleep right up until check in at times.
The other things that guaranteed sleep in those ‘less than sleep friendly places’ were his comfort items. As long as Beau has his cuddlies, he is happy, so a cuddly, or your equivalent, is a must take! I just had to keep his away from his Grandma or she would insist on washing all his delightful disgusting baby smell off them and they would lose all their powers!
Do not travel without item four:
While away we saved money by only booking one room and sharing with Beau, or, let’s be honest, putting him in the wardrobe when it was big enough! Be careful when overseas with language barriers; I once told an American babysitter that Beau was upstairs asleep in the wardrobe only to see her face drop in horror – her idea of a wardrobe was a stand-alone thing with drawers, I should’ve said walk in closet! While room sharing in close confines, there were a few things that really help:
• White noise – helps to cover the sound of you coming and going from the room and going to bed. We used an app on either our phone or ipad so it was easy to set up wherever we were.
• The Phil ‘n Ted portacot. The one that zips right up closed. The reason I loved this was that I could zip it closed and then safely cover it with a sheet to make it dark and not have to worry about the sheet falling in on Beau. Once sleep time was over, it also made a fun hut for playing in by opening the side door. Not to mention it really is the easiest cot to take from A to B in your carry on, so no chance of it being lost in the system.
We visited lots of amazing places in the States, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Centre, and the Glass Garden in Seattle. Technically, Beau can say that he has been to these places, but really he has slept at those places. If you are in a bustling city, or a hot environment, an air conditioned, quiet museum makes an ideal place for nap! And who wants to have to restrain an annoying toddler in a Glass Garden anyway! Take the quiet as a chance for some shut eye and enjoy the art in peace.
My final two must take with you items are more for convenience than sleep:
• An Ergo carrier, for those places you can’t take your buggy and it’s not safe for a toddler to run around – like on the boat under the Niagara Falls.
• A clip on highchair – this was gold for meals wherever we were. Small enough to carry in your hand bag and awesome enough to clip on to 80% of tables.
Have you travelled with a baby? Tell us your top tips and the items you found most helpful to take away!
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.
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My baby has reflux can you help?
When your baby has reflux, feeds can be difficult and your baby can be in a lot of pain both during and after feeds. This pain can cause feeding aversions and failure to thrive. This is why true GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) needs to be treated by a doctor. Once your baby's doctor is satisfied your baby is feeding well, and you have the right medication or formula then we can start a sleep plan and you will be successful.
My baby has colic will this help?
Colic is defined as 3 or more hours of crying per day in infants. Crying subsides in the second second trimester. If you are still experiencing colic symptoms speak to your baby's doctor about whether this could be reflux, an allergy, or over tiredness. We can help you work on better sleep with this program at the same time as your doctor investigates the pain and crying.
What if the program isn't working?
We have a dedicated help line to ensure your success. Just email our team via the details in your program and a certified, experienced and friendly sleep consultant is ready to stare you in the right direction to ensure your success!
My baby was born early, can you help?
Sleep is neurological so we always work off your babies neurological age, that is their corrected age. When you look at our sleep programs purchase the program that your babies corrected age fits into.
What if I have questions or need more help?
Our sleep programs come with private email support. You don’t have to post in any public forums or groups, just email the exclusive helpline that our team of certified sleep consultants look after and we’ll answer all your questions and help you on your way.
Can this program help with my babies night sleep?
Yes, all our online sleep programs contain night sleep plans. We will teach you how to move from multiple night feeds to 2 or 1 or none (depending on what is age appropriate and appropriate for your baby.) Don’t worry we will show you to figure this out too. If your baby is unsettled at night but not feeding, our plans will help you with consolidate night sleep and self settling when age appropriate.
My baby is cat napping can you help?
Cat napping is a very normal physiological stage that your baby goes through. At this stage (3-8 months old), cat napping can start to be a long term issue and compound into over tiredness and affect night sleep and your babies happiness. Good news, this is a great age to work on re-settling, self settling and better longer naps!
I have 3 children, can this work with my family?
I totally understand how busy life is with 2, 3 or more children! Even if you need a flexible schedule we can still work on settling regular naps (some on the go!), and better evenings and night. Flick our consultants any specific questions about your family's schedule of activities and we can help you work out what is possible nap wise.
I don't want a fixed routine, can you still help?
Yes. A fixed routine is one option, regular naps and regular awake times is another. Both are valid and you are welcome to do what works for your family. We understand you are all different and what works best for one family won't be best for another.
I'm formula feeding, can you still help?
Yes we have specific advice for formula feeding parents, and we support your decision to feed any way you choose. We even have a special video series on formula feeding and everything you need to know. Just ask our consultants about this extra if you need it.
I'm exclusively breastfeeding, can I follow your plans?
Yes! While breastfeeding babies need to feed frequently they still need quality sleep day and night. We have specific advice for breastfeeding mums and an exclusive discount on Julia Daleys breastfeeding course if you need extra help.
I'm bed sharing, can your program help me stop?
Yes. We often fall into bed sharing, we call this reactive bed sharing. Or we have simply changed our mind, and moving on from bed sharing we need some support. Our programs and consults will guide you through gentle sleep methods, which are more appropriate for most bed sharing babies who are moving towards independent sleep in the cot.
I'm feeding to sleep, can you help me stop?
Yes. Feeding to sleep is a common sleep association and one that works well for lots of newborns. Often we need to move on from feeding to sleep when it starts to cause short naps, or prolonged settling or frequent night wake ups as baby looks for their association to go back to sleep over and over again at night. We can teach you how to teach your baby to self settle and move on from feeding to sleep when the time is right.
I'm rocking to sleep, is their a solution?
Yes. These are common sleep associations, we refer to this as assisting to sleep. Let us show you ways you can develop independent sleep and settling strategies with our online sleep program, or one on one consult.
Is this program based on Cry It Out?
No. Cry it out is the common name for a sleep training method where you put baby down and don’t respond or check until they are fast asleep. There is no CIO involved in this program as we feel this should be only done under proper supervision. Instead we have included all our very gentle approaches and more mainstream techniques for you to choose from.
Is this based on Science or Art?
Both! As a scientist I (Emma) have spent over 8 years researching the science of sleep. I have educated and certified over 500 consultants around the world as sleep consultants, and have worked with thousands of clients. I love the scientific explanations of why we see the sleep patterns we see, and this science helps us to shape plans and solutions that we know will work. But there's an element of art to getting a baby to sleep, understanding the right combination of things that will work best, and this is where your instinct comes in.
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