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

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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.

Summary

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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valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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