Traveling Sleep Tips By Age

Baby-Sleeping-Plane-800x350Shared by CB Sleep Expert Angelique Millette

0-4 months:
– Most newborns don’t have a sleep schedule and will sleep every few hours. For this reason, flying with a newborn may be a lot easier than flying with an active toddler.
– Since newborns are not eating solids, you can easily breastfeed or offer a bottle of pumped breastmilk or formula. A quick tip for heating a bottle on the plane: pour hot water into a clean barf bag.
– While on your trip, sleep and feed baby on demand/as needed.
– Most importantly, be sure to speak with your baby’s doctor about traveling with a baby under 4 mos and if necessary, speak with your baby’s doctor about necessary vaccinations pre-trip.
4-12 months:
– If needed, bring a sound machine. Curious and social babies four months or older may have more trouble sleeping if there are a lot of interesting new sounds.
– Babies may have a more consistent sleep-feed schedule starting around 3-6 months so when possible, try to plan feed and sleep times around travel times.
– If you are planning on making sleep changes or using “sleep training” try not to do it right before departing for a trip. Better to give your baby 1-2 wks or more before the trip. Or, after returning from a trip you may need to delay sleep training to adjust for time zone.
– Some toddlers may not do well with new surroundings and may resist going to sleep or may be scared by new surroundings and faces. Try to help your toddler get used to a new sleep space by spending time together in the new room before bedtime.
– Try spending an additional 10-15 min with your child at bedtime the first few nights. This will mean that you want to start bedtime a little earlier than you normally would at home.
– If you have not been bed-sharing at home but find yourself bed-sharing with an anxious or scared toddler while traveling, the first night home from your trip, plan on moving your child back to his bed.

Baby’s First Flight

Here are a few general tips for your baby’s first trip:
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) encourages parents to only travel with as much juice, breastmilk, formula, or baby food as needed to reach your destination. It may be helpful to store it in a separate “food bag” and tell the TSA agent about the food bag. You do not need to store it in a zip lock bag and it can be in quantities greater than 3.4 oz. It will make it easier for the TSA to inspect the contents in the food bag.
  • When flying, plan to offer the breast, bottle, or pacifier, for take off and landing. This will help to equalize the pressure in the middle ear which can cause a lot of pain for little one’s since they can’t “pop” their ears like we can.
  • “Lap babies” (ages 2 and under) fly for free however the FAA recommends that babies under 40 pounds be secured in car seats on airplanes but it is not required. Most airlines have special rates for infants so check with your airline ahead of time. Not all car seats are approved for use in airplanes so be sure to check your car seat beforehand.
  • If you decide not to purchase an airplane seat for your baby, plan on bringing a sling or baby carrier. However, baby carriers and slings are not approved by the FAA during take off and landing so be prepared to have a flight attendant ask you to remove baby or unhook a strap from the carrier.
  • Be prepared with the proper identification to verify that your “lap baby” is less than two years of age. Appropriate ID includes: passport, birth certificate, and some domestic flights will accept your child’s health insurance card.
  • If flying, take advantage of pre-boarding or family boarding. Check with your airline to find out specifics. Also, try to fly non-stop flights when possible since it will mean less travel time.
  • If flying, you can check your baby/child’s car seat and stroller at the gate. But, do check with your specific airline to find out about getting a gate check ticket before the flight.
  • Most importantly, give yourself a lot of time for packing, getting to the airport, driving to your destination. That way you will be prepared in case your toddler has a messy diaper or your baby is on a growth spurt and more hungry.