If you are flying to your holiday destination you may wish to use baby massage on the flight to calm your baby. This will be even more effective if you use this technique before you travel. Baby Massage can promote the release of oxytocin (the feel good hormone) in both the baby and the parent supplying it. It can help to relax and calm your baby, whilst having a positive effect on both sleep quality and encourage reduced sleep onset latency (the time it takes to fall asleep).
If your baby uses a dummy, offering this on the flight may help to counterbalance some of the discomfort caused by the flight pressure. It does this by encouraging your baby to swallow.
If your baby uses white noise at sleep times, it may be beneficial to have this available during the flight. Try downloading a white noise app prior to the flight, which will then be available when your phone is put onto aeroplane mode.
If you are travelling outside of your babies usual time-zone, it is normal for it to take a few days for them to adjust. Exposing them to natural light, particularly in the afternoon, can help your child become accustomed to the new time-zone. Similarly, ensure that they are provided with a really dark atmosphere at nap and bedtime. You can acquire travel black out blinds for travelling.
Where possible, try to feed you baby at similar times as you do at home, but on the new time-zone to help to ‘reset’ their sleep / wake body clock.
Offering bedtime between 6 – 8pm (local time) will allow your child to take advantage of the natural melatonin (the sleepy hormone) surge which occurs at this time.
Offer the same bedtime routine as you do at home – this will allow your child to understand and prepare that bedtime if approaching.
Try to recreate your child’s home sleep environment as much as possible. If they usually sleep with white noise, then bring the same device with you. If they sleep with a comfort teddy* then ensure that this is available.
*Teddies should only be placed in the cot after the age of 12 months
If you are bringing a travel cot with you, then encourage your child to sleep in this cot for several nights before you leave. This will ensure the environment is familiar to them when they are away.
If possible, bring fitted bedsheets from home and use these in their cot. These will smell comforting to your baby.
Have some downtime, to help your baby to regulate. Holidays are often exciting times, but it is important to schedule some ‘relax’ time to encourage your baby to process all the new sensory experiences they have encountered. Take some time out together, lay beside them and take deep breaths, in the hope that your baby will use these calming breaths to regulate their own breathing.
Ensure your baby does not become too hot. Their bedroom should be kept at an appropriate temperature and dress your baby accordingly. If possible try to ensure their room is kept between 16 – 20 degrees.
Settled Petals is a Sleep Consultancy Service based in Belfast. It specialises in Infant Sleep, Baby Massage and Children’s Yoga.
Please visit Settled Petals on Facebook or www.settledpetals.com for more details.