Sleep tips for getting a great sleeper. Vary your baby’s nap and night sleep locations. Baby will learn to sleep anywhere and will travel better.
If your home is large enough or set up in such a way that allows it, I suggest you vary sleeping locations for your child, especially if you know or suspect your child is not a flexible person. With the Babywise schedule, our children sleep regularly and usually sleep in the same place: their crib. That is wonderful and it trains them to be excellent sleepers. However, children who are not flexible can end up having a hard time sleeping in other locations, like when you travel.
For the flexible child, if you are going to travel soon, you can practice sleeping in different locations for 2-3 weeks before the trip and things will be fine. But for others, it is too much of a change for them.
While Brayden has never been one to do well when thrown off of his schedule, he has always been very flexible about changes such as sleeping locations. When we visited family, he slept just as well. When we moved him from the pack and play to a crib at 6 months, he slept better than usual. When we moved to a new house, no problem. When we moved him from his crib to a toddler bed and into a new bedroom, he never batted an eye.
I have a friend who does Babywise whose oldest son is not very flexible with sleeping locations. When they travel, he often won’t nap at all and nights can be difficult at times. His life has always been very stable with sleeping in the same bed in the same room from birth.
Part of it is personality, and part of it is experience. When Brayden was a baby, I tried moving his bed all over the place trying to find the right spot (we were essentially in a studio apartment). We visited family often. He was just used to sleeping in different places so it didn’t phase him.
When Kaitlyn was born, I worried she could become like my friend’s son. She had her own bedroom and we were living very stable, predictable lives. We lived closer to family so we traveled less. We had also made the determination to not disrupt her sleeping habits for her first 8 weeks. Kaitlyn is different from Brayden in many ways. She is very flexible when it comes to her actual schedule being off, but I suspected she could easily become attached to things like a sleeping location.
In order to avoid her becoming this way, I varied her sleeping locations. I had a bassinet in my room for her to sleep in for a few naps a day. She also had her crib in her room to sleep in for a few naps and nighttime. As she got older, the number of naps in each place diminished, but I maintained her sleeping in both places.
She is a small girl and fit in her bassinet until she was 7 months old. At that point, I started to set up the pack and play in my room for one nap a day. Now, at 19 months old, she still takes one of her two naps in the pack and play in my room each day. Once she moves to one nap a day, she will take it in her room most days. I might do a nap in the pack and play every so often if I see the need, but I suspect that by now she has learned to be flexible. She sleeps just as well when we travel as she does at home.
If every day is unpractical for you, try once a week or so. Varying sleep locations can really help your child to be more flexible when traveling.