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How To Travel without destroying the progress you have made with Babywise so far. How to travel and maintain your Babywise schedule.
Traveling with a baby is stressful. I would dare say that traveling with a baby who is on an awesome routine you love is even more stressful. Why? Because you are terrified that your short little family vacation will destroy all of your hard work. You will effectively “un-do” everything you have worked so hard for.
Even if your baby is not on the perfect schedule, you can be terrified of the repercussions of travel. Your baby isn’t on a perfect schedule yet, and how far back will this trip set you?
I can empathize with these concerns! And perhaps ironically, I felt that more with my fourth child as a baby than any other child. I think at that point I knew a few things:
- Travelling can disrupt a baby and set back progress.
- Her schedule was perfect with our family’s day-to-day life, and day-to-day life happened every.single.day.
- It would be much harder for me to do what my family needed me to do if she was thrown off.
So yes, I get the fear.
But sometimes travel actually helps. Yes, some babies get thrown off by travel. Some get thrown “on” by travel. Brayden actually started sleeping through the night for the first time while on vacation, which led me to think through more intently on why he would be waking in the night at home because it made no sense for him to sleep through the night on vacation. It helped me figure it out.
Also, if a baby does get thrown off, it won’t take you long to get back on track. It will come back. Your progress will not be lost forever!
Here are some tips to help you have the best shot at traveling without un-doing Babywise.
Learn How to Help Your Child Be Flexible
To flexible-ize, you do things to help your child be flexible. If you want your baby to be able to roll with the punches, some punches need to come your baby’s way. See “Flexible-izing” a Baby for more.
Get the whole series here
Relax and Remember It Will Be Okay
Just take a deep breath. This is part of life. It will all be okay. If your baby does get thrown off, you can get baby back on quickly. I would say you will be back on track again within two weeks at most after your vacation ends. Despite the fear that I know is there, know that even if your child does get off, your child will get back on.
But let me also say this. We said “yes” to everything when Brayden was a baby. By the time Brinley came around, I had learned to say no sometimes. We didn’t go to everything that was going on if it was going to be way too disruptive. Not everyone liked it. Not everyone accepted it. Some people got downright mad. But I put my baby first.
Be Super Consistent Before You Leave and When You Get Back
Consistency is so powerful in helping your child be flexible. Commit to being consistent for a week before you leave. Be home for naps and have your child in bed on time. This is important no matter what your child’s age is. A child who is not in a sleep deficit at the beginning of the trip will have a larger “margin of error” for the vacation.
By this, I mean that your child will be more flexible and better able to handle the disruptions that will come if your child is well-rested before you leave.
When you get home, plan on being home and consistent for two days at the very least. Plan that in as part of your trip. Ideally, you would do it even seven days, but plan on two for sure.
Also plan on naps perhaps needing to be longer and start earlier than usual. Some children will respond to being overly tired by not sleeping as well and taking shorter, more fitful naps. Maintain your consistency and your child will get back on track.
Do Prep Before Hand
In the weeks before you travel, pay attention to what you use daily and what you might need to bring with you. You don’t want to pack everything, but you want the essentials. Another helpful thing to possibly do is shift the schedule if you will be in another time zone. See
Also, plan ahead for your trip so you can be prepared for the needs of your children. A vacation with children is always less stressful if you have their needs planned out. Plan out where and when sleep will happen. Plan out when meals and snacks will happen. Read my post on How To Plan the Perfect Family Vacation for more.
Try to Maintain Sleep While Away
There is a lot you can do to maintain sleep while you are away. Bring anything you can that your baby likes to sleep with. Remember the lovie. Remember the special blanket if there is one. Remember the pillow if we are talking toddler. Remember the PJs and the sound machine. You might bring along your own pack and play. Do what you can to make the sleep environment familiar.
If your baby will sleep on the go, even if it is a shorter-than-usual nap, have your baby sleep at nap time. If your baby won’t sleep on the go, try to be settled somewhere for your child to nap, again, even if it is a shorter nap than usual. A well-rested baby will be a more pleasant baby. So as much as possible, try to keep most naps and bedtimes the same. You can definitely take some liberties and skip some naps, but don’t push your child further than he is able to go.
If you need to have some nap skipped, be mindful of how you do it. If you skip one nap, don’t skip the nap before or after it. If you will have really disrupted naps one day, try to have more normal nap schedule another. Try to balance your nap disruptions as much as possible.
When McKenna was a toddler, we were camping in Zion National Park. During the week, she missed a few naps and was definitely not sleeping as well as she did at home. She wasn’t one to typically sleep on the go, but by the end of the trip, she was falling asleep in the hiking backpack and would nap while we hiked around. It is obviously not the ideal sleep location and she wasn’t getting the quality nor the quantity of sleep she was accustomed to, but it worked for our trip.
See these guest post for more ideas on setting up sleep for your little one:
Try to Maintain Eating Times While Away
I keep meals at about the same times while traveling as they are at home. I find my kids are used to eating at the same times each day and they get grumpy fast if a meal is late. I make sure I have anything I might need to feed the child with me wherever we are. The younger your child, the more important consistency will be to your child’s schedule staying on track. A preteen can handle eating at different times better than a 6 month old.
While you will sometimes sacrifice fun things for the sake of your baby, do not sacrifice all things. Remember that your baby joins a family, and family travel is a great time for bonding. Follow these tips to maintain your schedule overall and have the least disruptions with your Babywise routine. Have fun!
For more on travel, see:
- General Travel Tips
- Traveling Tips
- Traveling with Children
- Traveling With a Toddler
- Feeding/Napping Away From Home
- Packing for a Vacation
- Traveling with Baby
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