Help A Reader Out: Traveling and Maintaining Schedule

mrs. martin said…

Ok, I need help again, big time! So here it is: we have been having to travel a LOT the past month and it’s not even close to being over. The first 2 trips went alright, we were staying in people’s homes so I could keep him on schedule pretty well. But this past trip (#3), we were in a totally different time zone for a week and I had to keep him quiet for most of the time, so as you can imagine, he got pretty “snacky” REAL fast, not to mention, very used to being held 24/7! We will not be home more than a week or 2 at a time for the next 3 months and I don’t really know what to do. We have 5 days before the next trip and then a week and a half before the next. I’m trying so hard to get him back on schedule somehow but I just don’t have any idea where to start!
He is 5 mos. Sleeps through the night perfectly still (the only thing that didn’t change), but naps and feedings are all over the place- absolutely no consistency. How do I get him back to normal? Any previous posts on this that might help? As always, thank you SO MUCH for this blog and all your help to us new moms!

Plowmanators said…

This is a hard one.

See the posts on “flexibility”

The best thing to do is maintain your “normal” as much as possible.

Then you have to expect there will be some setback and that you will need to do some retraining once things settle down.

See also the posts on “traveling”

Beyond that, I don’t have experience with this exact situation. If you like, I can do this as a “help a reader out” question so you can get input from others who have faced similar circumstances.

mrs. martin said…

That would be great! It would certainly be helpful to see what others did to train/re-train/maintain some consistency while on the go for extended periods of time. Especially with a lot of switching time zones, it would be great if anyone had experience with that! Fortunately, we were able to keep him on schedule-ish during Thanksgiving because we were in one place the whole time but we will not be so lucky with the rest of the next few months. Oh well, live, learn and be flexible I guess! Thanks for your continued help and advice!

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9 thoughts on “Help A Reader Out: Traveling and Maintaining Schedule”

  1. I'm afraid I can't help much. We're in a similar situation–though, dare I say, a bit more stressful. My husband has been out of work since May, and we are currently without a home. Therefore, we have now been reduced to staying with those who are generous enough to keep us, which means we're literally moving everry 1 week to 2 months. It is wreaking havoc on my little ones (ages 2-1/2 and 10 months). The 10 month old is handling it better than our 2 year old, but she hasn't slept through the night consistently in several weeks. She keeps waking up crying in the night. I would also love to know some tips and tricks if anyone has any!

  2. I can't help either 🙂 Since having children we have learned that we simply can't travel as much. One to two late nights in the week are fine, but more then that throws our 2 year old outta wack- so we've resolved to the fact that this is life with children. If we go stay somewhere for more then a couple days we simply try to bring objects that are familiar to help with sleeping and usually it works fine (blanket, crib packnplay, stuffed animal). But if you're living in different places and changing often, I can understand how your children are stressed. I would be… it may just come down to next year choosing one to two places to visit, and telling everyone you'll just have to wait a couple years until your kids are old enough to handle that much frequent change.I know this probably wasn't helpful, but… there it is.Good luck, and happy holidays!

  3. Unfortunately, nothing is going to replace being at home. Our LO isn't a great napper in public, and when we travel it's just about the same. I do make sure to take our monitor if we're staying in a family members' home. I also travel with her sound machine. I know it's a prop, but she had bad colic and we found that it did help. Even now that colic is over, I think it helps, especially when we're away from home. We have the Sleep Sheep from Cloud B. Unlike most it has the heartbeat which has always been her favorite. They even sell a travel size on that easily clips onto strollers and car seats. One last thing…the one time we traveled to a different time zone (from central to eastern) I kept her feedings on central time. However, about 5 days into our 8 day trip I found she was starting to adjust to eastern time all on her own.Safe traveling!

  4. I actually have a lot of experience in this since we are in the military and also traveled for vacation all over Europe when we lived there for three years. I have experience with big time zone changes too. I have three children and have traveled with all of them and done Babywise too. I do bring along or make sure there is a fan or something to give the white noise too. That's one sleep prop that my husband doesn't like, but it is the price he pays for all the traveling. I try my best to keep the naps the same time when they are under 2 yrs. This doesn't man they are always in a crib. Each of my children needed different aids to help them go to sleep in public. One was in the stroller covered up when I saw her sleep cues, one was in the Bjorn around the regular nap time and the other was the sling when he got sleepy. When we traveled in Europe to Itally for a week, there was no walking all the way back to our room to nap and missing out on all those sites, so this is the way it went. Occasionally they wouldn't fall asleep on schedule and so we just adjusted the rest of the day, kind of how you do with a newborn. I never nursed them to keep them quiet even when they needed to be quiet (exception: on the airplane), my husband or I just left the quiet area until we got control. I kept the nursing schedule the same and did not switch to nursing to sleep or pacify ever.As for time changes, I don't do CIO for the first week after a large time change like overseas, but just work towards getting back on schedule with the things I could control. I remember letting my one year old sleep in a pack-n-play next to my bed because she woke up so much in the night the first couple of nights. I wake them up from naps in order to help get back on schedule. The only time I had a real problem was when my 4 month old got really sick while on a two month visit to the states. I don't know if I did the right thing there, but I just nursed him way too much at night during those two months (kept day time nursings the same) and it took me a month when we got back home to get him back STTN via CIO multiple times throughout the night. Basically, when you travel you have to deal with more sleep problems, but retraining isn't as bad as training them the first time (although in the beginning it seems like it is, it is usually over faster.) I think keeping nursings the same helps make the transition easier. If I were you, I wouldn't do major retraining for a week's time, but two weeks (depending on your baby) might be worth it so you don't get too far off. I have a different lifestyle than most and our philosophy is that we don't altar the universe for our children. They have to adapt to us and our schedules somewhat just as we have had to adapt to theirs somewhat. Give and take. And since we are in the military adaptation is a skill they will need the rest of their childhood.

  5. My husband and I are missionaries and we are traveling around the USA to raise our support so I completely understand what you are going through. With my son, who will be 5 months tomorrow, I try and keep him on a regular feeding schedule (every 3-4 hours). We bring all his own things and I use the purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets when I have to wash his stuff somewhere else so it still smells the same for him. As for being held 24/7 my son gets used to it but I try and put him down in his pack and play or in his carseat so I'm not holding him all the time. We also have a infant travel bed that we bought from target if we are going to be somewhere for a longer period of time. I try to make sure that even if I have to hold my son for his nap (I know that is not the best thing) that he gets a good nap in. I think it is very important more important than him sleeping in his crib. I only use this as a rule if we are on the road not while we are home. I dont know if this helps at all. I hope that things get better for you.

  6. I second EVERYTHING that Kelle said. I have spend a lot of time traveling both in the US and overseas with my kids and I seriously did everything the same as Kelle.Jet lag is a killer but I think just lots of flexibility and understanding is needed.I have since decided that BW isn't great for people travel. I feel that there a immense benefits, but if your life involves a lot of traveling, it can almost become a situation where you are giving more time and energy to preserving BW things than you would just letting go a little more and just doing the best you can with what you have.

  7. In our travels we've done very similar to what Kelle mentioned, probably because she gave me similar advice back when my son was tiny! 🙂 I knew she managed to get BW to work even with the travelling. The only areas where I deviated from what she said, I later wished I hadn't!

  8. Kelle and Jessica:THANK YOU!!! Yall's input helps more than you know! We have to travel to a different time zone at least once a month (usually more) and I have kept his feedings/naps the same. It was difficult when he started making it really obvious that he was ready for the four hour schedule because I didn't want to change anything while we were away from home. But then I figured "oh well, being away from home is more 'normal' for him at this point than being at home is, so let's just give it a shot!" It worked and he did fine. Kelle, very good point, "since we are in the military adaptation is a skill they will need the rest of their childhood." We are in the same situation, but right now, have all sorts of other stuff going on so we are traveling even more than usual. So did you adjust them for each different time zone change? Or did it vary depending on how long you were there? So far we have been just trying to keep him on our "home time" but I think he gets a little confused when the sun comes up at a different time for him every other week. Time zones have been our biggest issue for the past 2 months.Jessica, I have been lugging our detergent around too so that he has the same smells 🙂 I feel like it is helping! We are just really thankful that he likes his car seat and his pack-n-play!Happy side note: I have to say that, no matter where we are or who we are staying with, EVERYONE keeps commenting on what a good baby he is and that we are "so lucky to have such a happy baby"! And like the book says, my husband and I just look at each other and we both know that we weren't lucky, it is babywise!


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