Want your baby to sleep in locations other than your home? Well here are some handy tips to get your baby to sleep anywhere!
Practice makes perfect
Help your baby to get used to sleeping in new locations by bringing them to sleep somewhere else other than your home. Bring a portable cot to a relative or close friend’s house and do some practice sleeping session runs from as early on as possible.
Get the routine down
Establish a bedtime routine early on. Then your baby will associate certain acts with sleeping and if this routine is carried out somewhere other than home, they will be more likely to fall asleep in the unfamiliar setting. For example, if your routine includes putting your baby down after a certain feeding or after a bath, do the same to get your baby to sleep in the new setting.
Bring along anything you use to help settle your baby to sleep. Music players or a white-noise machine can be great to lull your little one to sleep and if it’s what you use at home, your baby will connect it with sleep time. A sheet or a gro-bag from home may also help, as the smell will remind them of home.
Brief the childminders
If your child is sleeping somewhere else without you, make sure their supervisor, be it a relative or carer, knows their regular routine. If it is possible, they should stick to the routine as exactly as their environment will allow. Leave the minder with a list of all the things your baby uses to fall asleep. This will also help to ease any fears you may have about leaving your baby. If you know the minder understands all of your baby’s needs, you will feel a lot more relaxed and happy about leaving them.
“I would always let baby sleep when we were out and about so that going to sleep in different places was never an issue.”
“From very early on, we brought our son to relatives’ and friends’ places and settled him to sleep there. From doing this before he became familiar with his surroundings we ensured he had no issues with different locations. We always use one of three comforters we have on the go and his usual grobag so not everything is different.”
Checklist for your baby sleeping away from home:
- Nappies and nappy supplies
- Changing mat
- Baby monitors
- Travel sleeping bags
- Feeding equipment
- Change of outfits
- Sleeping suits or pyjamas
- Favourite toys and books
- Black out blinds
Find out about your sleeping arrangements before you go. Most holiday destinations will provide travel cots if you ask for them. I would suggest you bring your own mattress (they can fold up quite nicely) as mattress safety is very important. You might want to bring your own bedclothes – maybe a familiar duvet cover for your child. If your little one still takes a daytime nap, and usually does this in a dark room, you can with you to use. Alternatively, ask the hotel to put black sacks on the windows!
Also, bring a blackout cover for your buggy if you are expecting your little one to sleep in it during the day or if you are out for a meal at night. It can be a godsend. Bring your child’s grobag if you use one, as it will be a familiar part of the bedtime routine. If your child doesn’t normally sleep in your room, but you will be sharing on holidays, it would be an idea to position the cot as far as possible from your bed. This will cause the least disruption. If your child is waking at night while away and you wouldn’t normally bring him or her into your bed, try not to do so on holidays. By the time you go home, your little one will think this is the new normal and you might have a battle on your hands!
- Niamh O’Reilly, nanny and childminding expert
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