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Holidays, Travel and Sleep Disruptions by Synthia Praglin

The scene goes something like this… your baby is finally sleeping through the night and naps are generally going well. And then the holidays arrive. Whether you are traveling or having guests stay at your house, holidays can be disruptive to a child’s sleep. Routines often go out the window, and traveling across time zones can be tricky. The good news is, some children actually travel very well, are flexible and easily adapt to new surroundings. These children can return to their normal sleep routines with little or no difficulty. Others tend to be creatures of habit and resist sleep due to the new environment and/or the lack of a predictable schedule. Before you cancel those plans, try some of the tips below!

Typically, a child who sleeps well at home will usually sleep well while traveling. Still, you might want to consider bringing along some familiar reminders of home for the new sleep environment. For crib sleepers, grab the sheets right off the bed, and anything else your child may be attached to including loveys, blankies, stuffed animals, music and favorite books. If your child will be sleeping in a pack n’ play, be sure to have a couple of dry runs (naps will usually do) before leaving. Also, check with the hotel as to what they mean by a “crib.” It could turn out to be a pack n’ play. Consider renting a crib from Baby's Away, a company which will deliver a variety of baby/child accessories to your location.

If your child is still struggling with night time sleep, it may be worth putting off any “training” until after your trip. If your child has just recently begun sleeping through the night (and is resisting the new environment) the temptation to revert back to tried and true measures (rocking, nursing, etc.) is an easy one. If you feel this is your only option, don’t despair. Once home you can begin the “training” all over again. Adopting a “business as usual” attitude will help, simply picking up where you left off.


Synthia Praglin, M.A., J.D., CIMI, CPE teaches Mothers' Gatherings (Mommy&Me) & Infant Massage classes at A Mother's Haven. Her professional background includes 15 years of experience in the fields of social services and law with at–risk children and their families. Synthia is certified by the International Association of Infant Massage Instructors and believes strongly that massage is a valuable way to promote bonding and communication between parents and their children.


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