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Tips for Traveling with Baby/Toddler: Naps on the Go {Guest Post}

Bedtime routine in the hotel!  Charlotte in her sleep sack, having a bottle, and reading stories with dad!

Allison shared her hotel tips with us last week. This is the second in her two-part post on traveling with a little one. 

Hello, fellow Babywise moms!  My name is Allison and I am the mom of a 16-month-old girl named Charlotte.  On the advice of a friend (and the Internet), we read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and Babywise when I was pregnant and decided that they represented a great strategy for parenting.

Issue #2: Napping at the Grandparents’ House

We planned to spend Saturday at my husband’s grandparents’ house with his whole side of the family, so obviously Charlotte would have to nap there.  After we arrived, we set up their guest room with Charlotte’s napping stuff.

We did the following:
·         Draped two room darkening curtains (from home) over their existing curtain rods.
·         Set up the Pack and Play with her usual blankets and sleep sack.
·         Plugged in the white noise machine.

When naptime came, I did our usual nap routine (bottle, diaper change, books, and bed) in the guest room.  There was even a rocking chair, which was nice and cozy for reading.  This room was not nearly as dark as her room at home because the curtain rods extended from the wall a bit, leaving big gaps for the sunlight.  This made me nervous: would she think it was play time?  However, with her usual nap items and the white noise running, she got the nap message.  I wasn’t paying careful attention, but I think she played for about 15 minutes before going to sleep.

Her normal nap is from about noon until 2:30.  On this trip, I put her down at 12:30 and had to wake her at 3:30!  Granted, she was probably tired from playing with family all morning, but I was very impressed that even napping in a different place, we were able to plan and create a scenario in which we didn’t have to accept poor sleep.

Issue #3: Napping in the Car

On Sunday, we planned to leave at Charlotte’s nap time and have her nap in the car.  We have done this before with success, and we were successful again.  Here’s how we did it.

First, we did the bottle-diaper-books part of the routine still at the grandparents’ house.  Then in the car, we stretched a dark blanket between the front and back seat headrests over her car seat.  It darkens the area but is open on the bottom for air circulation.  Then we placed the white noise machine (cranked all the way up!) on the seat next to her and gave her one of her usual blankets.

She was asleep before we got out of town!  This is a tiny Wisconsin farm town that takes approximately three minutes to travel through, so that was really record time.  She slept for just over two hours, which is pretty perfect, and then I hung out in the back seat to play with her for the rest of the trip.


If you, like me, have been hesitant to travel with baby or toddler because you value sleep and won’t take “no naps” for an answer, maybe my posts have given you hope!  I think we were successful for the following reasons:

  • 1.       We stayed on schedule and prioritized sleep.  No nap skipping or late bedtimes here!
  • 2.       We know what sleep conditions are important for our daughter and we made every effort to re-create those conditions using her usual blankets, room darkening curtains, and white noise machine.
  • 3.       We prepared by packing the essentials for creating good sleep spaces.

If you’re planning a trip, I definitely recommend that you consider how to create good sleep conditions and pack the necessary items.  Maybe my pictures can even help you devise a room set-up strategy.  Good luck, and happy trails to you!

What are your tips for sleeping at other's homes and for sleeping in the car?

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