help your baby sleep in other locations
Sleeping

Get your baby to sleep anywhere!

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.

Sleep associations

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.

Get your baby to sleep anywhere!

“I would always let baby sleep when we were out and about so that going to sleep in different places was never an issue.”

  • Kacy Downes

“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.”

  • Hannah Boylan

Checklist for your baby sleeping away from home:

  • Nappies and nappy supplies
  • Changing mat
  • Baby monitors
  • Travel sleeping bags
  • Feeding equipment
  • Snacks
  • Change of outfits
  • Sleeping suits or pyjamas
  • Blankets
  • Favourite toys and books
  • Black out blinds

Get your baby to sleep anywhere!

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

More like this:

Baby sleep safe checklist
Bath before bedtime
Help your baby sleep through the night

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.

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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.