Sleeping Tip: Vary Sleeping Locations


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.

Newborn baby sleeping in bassinet

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.

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 with a picture of a baby sleeping in a bassinet

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24 thoughts on “Sleeping Tip: Vary Sleeping Locations”

  1. This was exactly my plan for baby number 2 who will be here in Feb. I found myself a little bound by the crib with the first, and I wasn’t even the one being put into it. LOL! I think this is a great suggestion.

  2. I just want to say that I love this blog. It is serving me well. I have my 2nd child but have always been a BabyWise lover….my first kid it worked like a dream! my 2nd…it's been tougher he is what the baby whisper would say was a spirited child. anyhow this site is helping me overcome the issues i'm facing with a bit more clarity than the BabyWise book. I think you have a great thing going here and should read the book: ProBlogger ( )I think you deserve to get paid for what you love to do and are good at! I just got this book for my husband. Yet when we got it in the mail i couldn't put it down and read it in a day. (with 2 kids! so you know it's good) I think you would benefit from it.Can i also make a suggestion? I would love to see a search box on your blog! that would help even are doing a great job. thank you for your service!Kristinps – I will be linking to your site and sending people your way often. I've spent all afternoon evening here. 🙂

  3. Even just linking to the book babywise through (after joining the affiliate program) will get you 4-10% for every person that orders the book after clicking on the link through your website. your time is worth it. even just the time you saved me/the help you have given me.

  4. I love your suggestions in this post. My son is not flexible at all. It has been such a struggle to get him to sleep outside of his crib. I didn’t have him do it very much when he was young unless I was forced to because he wouldn’t sleep at all. As he has gotten older (almost 11 months) and we have gone on a few trips, this has improved some.I’ve always had my son sleep in a dark, quiet room with a sound machine on (even if he is in his porta crib). He won’t sleep if he can see or hear anything. He is an extremely “spirited” baby. Do you think I’ve gotten him used to this environment and he would, if given the chance, sleep in a room that wasn’t pitch dark? Or is this just how he is and I shouldn’t waste weeks of no naps trying to get him to sleep in a light room (which would make life a bit easier for me when I’m on trips or visiting people).

  5. I have a question kind of along the same lines as rachel stella. When we travel, I always have big plans of practicing variable sleeping locations beforehand, but in the end I never do because I value his naptimes, and don’t want to “sacrifice” one by switching the sleeping location. I’m always afraid he won’t go to sleep during the practice sessions.That said, once we are on the trip, it sometimes takes him longer to fall asleep than normal, but I would say he does okay. Do you think I should practice beforehand (would it get even better?) or does it sound to you like he is one of the flexible children?

  6. Kristin, thanks for that suggestion! My husband is always telling me I need to figure out a way to make money here. I don’t want it to be an eye-sore and I don’t want people to question my motives. I will definitely check out that book.For search box, I will look into that. Until then, be sure to look through blog labels on the left hand side and through the blog index, linked at the left.

  7. Rachel, I definitely think it is possible that he has been trained this way. I have never used a sound machine and have never darkened rooms for naps. My kids can sleep in a room that is bright as the blazes, which is shocking to me. I didn’t want to create any dependency to things. I think sometimes those things are necessary and the good of them outweigh the bad, but you have to weigh your options.As far as training him in another direction right now, I would base the answer on how often you visit and how long you are gone. If you travel frequently, I think it would be worth some effort to try to get him to sleep other places. If you travel infrequently and trips are short, I might just leave things as are and expect sleep to be not good while you are traveling.

  8. Joanna, my answer to you would be similar to Rachel. If you feel like sleep is good enough based on how often you travel and how long you are there, then leave it. If you travel often enough that this is a regular disruption, I would try to vary things a bit for him regularly.

  9. Hi Val,I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and really appreciate your sharing! =) My girl (coming to 8 weeks) is not flexible in sleeping especially when we go out. When she sleeps at home (on her stomach), it’s normally in a quiet environment. Often times she’s tired but can’t sleep on her pram due to all the sights and sounds. Do you have any suggestions on how to make her sleep on her pram?

  10. Oh, I wanted to mention that in the top left hand corner of the blog there is already a search bar for you blog. Hope this helps!

  11. Kristin said…A worker is worthy of his wages. Obviously this is something you love, something you are good at, you spend hours a day doing, you have been faithful with it and you are worth what you have put in, AND it would still be a free service to others. There is NO SHAME in that. It’s just wise. I think all of your readers would agree. but there are ways to do it seamlessly. Problogger the book refers to it.Thought you might find these of interest (i hunted them down for you): 1. also have an idea i just wanted to share with you privately. feel free to contact me at your convenience at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX(i would prefer if you took at least my address down after you read this, as i don’t want my email remaining here)

  12. I am not sure exactly where to post this and thought this may be the best place, it is regarding toddler/infant room sharing.My husband and I are starting to think about #2, which results in me trying to pre-plan EVERYTHING…ha! Being that we only have 2 bedrooms, room-sharing immediately becomes a concern that I have. Does anyone have any experience with that? Any suggestions? My biggest fear is that they children would wake each other up. Our oldest daughter will be around age 3 at this time. I do not sleep well with an infant in my room, with our daughter, that only lasted 3 weeks…I heard every sound she made and I had trouble sleeping.I have considered some sort of white noise for their room, but am concerned that would become a sleep prop.Another option would be my husband and my closet. Crazy, I know. Our closet is huge and would easily house a crib. Would that be safe? There are no windows or vents in there. I would constantly run a fan while they slept, this reduces the risk of SIDS.Does anyone have an experience with this? How did it play out in your house? Is there a preferrable age difference for this to work well?Thanks!

  13. Jessica, I don't have any experience with two kids, however, when my first was born we lived in a one bedroom apartment. Like you, I couldn't handle having an infant in my room, so she slept in our walk-in closet. We had a pack-n-play in there at first and later put a full size crib in there until we moved when she was 8 months old. It worked great. I did run a small fan and though we closed the door when we put her down, we'd open it a few inches before we went to sleep so it was open during the night for ventilation. You could easily keep the baby in your closet until he/she is STTN and then transition to sharing a room. I know a lot of moms have their kids nap separately even when they share a room, so you could continue to use your closet for that. Good luck!

  14. Jessica,The closet idea is a good one. A lot of people do that. It isn't crazy :)If not, most people use white noise in the room. It helps muffle each other's sounds.One thing to know is that you really cannot have them nap in the same room, so even if they share a room at night, they can't nap in the same room in the day. If it were me, I think that I would have baby in my closet until baby is STTN. Then I would have the two share at night, but have one sleep in my room (or closet) for the afternoon nap (and you might need another nap if independent play is in the room). Those who have kids share say that they get used to each other's noises at night and will sleep well. But day is a different story 🙂

  15. I am not sure if this question is appropriate here.My almost 4 month old son can only sleep in his manual swing with pacifier during the day. He does not sleep in a stroller or baby carrier. He will start crying loudly once he feels sleepy. This makes me very home-bound. Is there anything that I can do to get him to sleep in the stroller or carrier when I am on the go?


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