Are you wondering how to deal with jet lag and your baby?
First of all, try not to worry – jetlag is going to be temporary. It should only last a few days, or a week potentially, depending which timezone you have been in.
A change of an hour or two rarely makes too much difference, especially for younger babies who can catch up with a nap.
Here are some tips:
Try to keep up your bedtime routine while you are away. That doesn’t mean it needs to be exactly the same as at home. Simply doing the same things in the same order will help. Bringing a familiar comforter or toy & slept in bedding can help signal that its bedtime.
Natural light plays a big part in re-setting our internal body clocks. Lots of exposure to light during the day when you get to your destination, or when you return home can help your little one (and you!) to adjust.
Physical exertion. Going for a walk, run around or playing outside can really help. Burning off a bit of energy to make us physically tired can help. Also, it signals to the body that this is awake time, when we are active. For toddlers and babies on the move, try to find an area in the airport before you leave where they can run off a bit of energy – this can help with your flight and arrival.
Eating at the new time. When we eat has an impact on our internal body clocks. So having your meals or snacks during daytime hours can really help. If you have a hungry baby during the night then do give them their usual milk, or if you have a toddler try to stick to light snacks (a banana or porridge is great).
Planning. If you aren’t heading too far away it could be worth sticking to your normal schedule. For example if you were going to Greece, which is 2 hours ahead of GMT, you could potentially work on a 9-9 schedule (hey, you might even get a lay in!).
Think about how long you are away for. If it’s an extended trip it could be worth gradually adjusting to the new time. Think of it a little like a clock change. You could prepare your little one in advance and move their bedtime (and the rest of their routine) by 15 minutes per day, either earlier or later, to get them closer to the time of your destination. Or you can do this when you arrive.
Your little one may nap longer than usual to catch up on lost sleep, but try to limit these in order to preserve your night time sleep. You could end up with a baby or toddler who is awake all night otherwise. If you do experience this try to keep things dark, quiet and boring. For older ones telling them a story can help – avoid giving them a tablet or watching tv, as this is likely going to wake them up more and signal to the brain that its time to be awake!
Think about booking a night flight. In theory this means your little one ‘should’ sleep, and arrive well rested at your destination. If all else fails just go with the flow – enjoy your time away.
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.
Early Days & Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months
This course will teach you how you can work towards great sleep habits, without ‘sleep training.’ It provides gentle solutions for settling and works towards the end goal of a settled night’s sleep, whilst understanding and responding to your baby’s needs.
Sleep Success: 6-9 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 10-18 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine, the transition from two naps to one and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 1.5 – 4 years
This course which covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, potential sleep disturbances in this age group, a suggested daily routine, the transition from cot to bed, dropping the daytime nap, early waking and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan.