Identifying Baby Sleep Signs

If you’re letting your baby dictate her own schedule, it can often be difficult to spot her sleep signals, which can lead to an overtired baby (and a struggle to get her down). Don’t wait for your baby to yawn to recognize fatigue, there are many other baby sleep signs that indicate that it’s time to put your little one to bed.

Yawns and face rubbing aren't the only baby sleep signs. Read on to learn how to spot signs your little one is ready for a nap.

It can be tricky to get into a sleep routine during your baby’s first few months, especially as her body is adjusting to their natural circadian rhythm. You’re waiting for adorable baby yawns, and even some eye rubbing, but they rarely appear – what’s going on?

Less Obvious Baby Sleep Signs

Infants can exhibit less obvious sleep signs, which are often difficult for new parents to decipher. If you notice your little one scrunching her nose, pulling her ears or rubbing anywhere on her face, it’s a good sign that she’s ready for a nap.

Irritability

Irritability is another common sign of fatigue in babies. One minute she’s cooing at you, the next she’s red-faced and crying. As you begin your checklist (hungry, wet, etc.) she suddenly calms down and is all smiles again – what’s going on? Your baby has already become a master at hiding her fatigue, and her “mood swings” are the result of trying to fend off sleep.

Hyperactivity

If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of an overtired baby, you know that it can be unbelievably difficult to rein her in after she’s past the point of no return. Overtired babies are active babies. Squirming in your arms, arching her back, crawling around everywhere; babies in overdrive are tired babies. Some babies will push through fatigue, or hide it from you completely, by becoming more active to overcome feelings of tiredness. Your baby may even seem a bit hyperactive when she’s overtired.

Monitor Awake Time

If you’ve missed the signs, or have a calm little one who exhibits absolutely no baby sleep signs, you’ll want to gauge naps and bedtime by paying attention to your baby’s awake time.

Infants can handle approximately an hour-and-a-half of awake time before needing a nap. If your baby wakes for the day at 6am, then she will be ready for a nap at 7:30am. Once she wakes up, you’ll want to take a look at the clock and note her next nap time, an hour-and-a-half from then; continue this throughout the day. Have an older baby? I’ve included a simple awake time chart, by age, in this blog with baby sleep tips.

If you’re still having difficulty determining a healthy sleep schedule for your baby, I’m here to help. I offer a 15-minute sleep assessment, at no charge, for parents struggling to help their baby get restful sleep.

How To Treat Plagiocephaly

Maybe you’ve heard the term ‘flat head syndrome’, or perhaps you’ve seen a baby with a flat spot at the back of her head. Maybe your own baby’s head is beginning to look a bit flat in the back — don’t panic! Plagiocephaly, or Positional Plagiocephaly, is more common than one would think. In fact, almost half of all two month olds in the US have some form of Plagiocephaly, ranging from moderate to severe.

If your baby has flat head syndrome, don't panic! It's easy to treat Plagiocephaly with these tips...

What Is Plagiocephaly?

Babies grow at an extremely fast rate from birth, tripling their size in the first year, and their heads are no exception. To accommodate such a pace of growth, babies’ skulls remain “soft” with the cranial bones not yet fused. A baby’s unfused skull makes it easy to mold (how many babies have you seen born with a cone-shaped head?).

Positional Plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, can be present at birth (from cranial pressure in utero) or developed over time. Flat spots usually appear in the back or on either side, and are caused when a baby sleeps in the same position for a length of time.

The “Back Is Best” campaign, launched in the 1990s in an effort to combat SIDS, is largely responsible for the rise in Plagiocephaly in infants. With infants spending more time on their backs, Plagiocephaly has definitely become more common, but it’s not impossible to treat.

It’s important to note that cribs aren’t the only culprits here; bouncers, car seats and swings, anywhere your baby spends a significant amount of time laying, can all contribute to the development of Plagiocephaly.

How to Treat Plagiocephaly?

In most cases, your baby’s flat spots will resolve themselves in a matter of months. However, your should consult your pediatrician if you notice any flattening of your baby’s head. If you wait too long, your baby’s skull will grow less pliable over time, making it difficult to resolve.

If your baby has Positional Plagiocephaly, or flat spots caused by lying down, there are a variety of things you can do to help resolve the issue. Remember to ACT to help treat Plagiocephaly:

Alternate Positions

Make a concerted effort to vary the way you lie your baby in his crib — you’d be surprised how much your dominant hand/arm influences repetition! You should also reposition your baby’s head throughout the night, ensuring that he is sleeping on both sides (this will help with muscle development in the neck as well).

Carry Your Baby

If you’re trying to treat Plagiocephaly, or just trying to avoid it, one of the best things you can do is to hold your baby. These days there are a variety of baby carriers available, allowing you to carry your baby while having both hands free. Babywearing isn’t just beneficial for your little one’s head though, the benefits are varied and plentiful!

Tummy Time

Yes, the dreaded ‘T’ word. I honestly don’t know of many moms and babies who had a blast with tummy time in the early days, but it’s necessary. Not only does it give your little one’s noggin a break, but it strengthens the neck muscles, which are integral to appropriate and timely development.

Just remember, Plagiocephaly is relatively common, but there are plenty of things you can do to help your baby’s head remain beautifully round. If you’re still having trouble with sleeping arrangements, give me a call!

Crib Toys: Use Them or Lose Them?

Imagine you are drowning in a sea of toys, the Legos, Barbies, stuffed animals and stacking blocks slowly creeping past your chin. You’re wading through those toys, trying to get a secure footfall to climb from them, but the toy level continues rising until you’re head is almost covered.

Everywhere parents look, toys are being marketed to them or their children. Get the scoop on crib toys and whether or not you should buy them.

It’s every parent’s nightmare, and I’m sure this scenario has never happened, but the toy creep is one of parenting’s unsolved mysteries. You set out with good intentions and through the course of the year, birthdays and holidays add to the growing toy collection in your home.

Before you know it, you have toys in your car for entertainment, toys in your diaper bag, cribs toys strapped to the crib with plush toys creating a pillow top for the crib mattress — you even have special toys just for the bathroom. It happens to the best of us, but I want to talk about the toys that may be in your child’s bedroom or nursery, specifically crib toys.

Toys are educational, some are cute and cuddly, others sing songs and have flashing buttons for your child to interact with – in short, most toys marketed for babies these days have some educational value, which is great and I encourage you to use them with your baby…just not in the crib.

These days you can find crib toys including everything from a projector to a moving seascape that can be strapped to your child’s crib – they’re cool, they’re fun — but they don’t belong in the crib; cribs are for sleeping.

Those projectors? They’re sabatoging your efforts to put your child to sleep. The lights, the movement, all of that serves to stimulate your baby’s brain, rather than lull her to sleep.

While I do advocate the use of one security toy (or “lovey”) in the crib, once your child is old enough, I do not advocate the use of any other toys in the crib. Not only are toys, blankets, and other loose articles unsafe for your sleeping baby, they also communicate the opposite message of what you’re trying so hard to convey – cribs are for sleeping, not playing.

Think about it from your own perspective. If someone ushered you to a bed full of books you’ve wanted to read, movies you’ve been waiting to see, apps and gadgets, would you be sleeping in minutes or staying awake to enjoy all of your favorite things? The exposure to screens – TV, cell phones, tablets – before bedtime are the first things sleep specialists recommend doing away with when an adult comes in with sleep issues. Babies and children are no different.

Although baby toys are not the same as electronics with lighted screens, your baby will want to play with crib toys, stimulating his brain when he should be winding down for the day. Even if your little one is tired, those toys will keep him awake (like you checking Facebook “one last time” before you go to bed).

To reiterate, I am not against babies having toys, they just don’t belong in their crib. The only item I suggest having in the crib with your little one is the attachment or security object I mentioned earlier, as a way of soothing or providing comfort for your baby (I recommend that mom sleep with the object before introducing it to your little one’s crib so that her scent also serves to comfort).

Remember, not only is a bare crib a safe crib, it’s also conducive to healthy sleep!

Baby Sleep Products That Don’t Work

Parents with little ones struggling with sleep issues are often prey to companies willing to exploit people to make a dollar. If you take a look at the sheer number baby sleep products being marketed, your head will spin with the countless choices available. These products offer the promise of soothing your little one into a peaceful slumber, but are they really worth the expense?

The number of baby sleep products being marketed today can be enticing, but don't fall prey to placebos and sleep aids.

 

Yes and no. Take a look at the billion dollar diet industry, rife with products that promise quick fixes and weight loss…with absolutely no changes to your routine. We know successful weight loss requires a change in lifestyle, and sleep is no different. Enacting healthy sleep habits for your baby requires a plan and a change to your old bedtime routine; you’re teaching your child healthy habits instead of using baby sleep products that function as aids or placebos.

Melatonin

Would you take a supplement unregulated by the FDA? If the answer is no, then why on earth would you give it to your child? Does Melatonin work? Yes, it can, but it can be harmful as well, not to mention the fact that administering melatonin does nothing to correct the underlying issues causes sleep disruption. I’m adamantly opposed to administering melatonin to children, and you can read more of my thoughts on this topic in my blog post, Melatonin and Children.

Herbal Syrups

There are a plethora of herbal syrups available on the market, each promising to help your baby sleep. Ever hear of a Snake Oil Salesman? You’ll be wanting your money back after you purchase one of these concoctions.

Lotions, Oils, Balms and Sprays

So many to choose from, but which do you choose? These products can definitely calm and soothe your little one, and are great for promoting bonding and loving touch and massage. But, these lotions, oils and sprays can give you a false sense of security when your baby stops crying, calms and goes to sleep. It’s a miracle! Or is it?

Guess what? You’ve still not targeted the root of what’s causing sleep issues with your little one, and taught her how to sleep on her own. More than likely, she’ll be up in a couple of hours, and then a couple of hours after that, and so on and so forth.

Lullaby Plush Toys

Your aim is to teach your little one how to go to sleep by himself, so why, oh why, would you put him in the crib with a toy that can stimulate him? Blinking lights (no matter how “soft”), talking and singing stuffed toys serve only to create a stimulating, play-like environment for your little one. Keep the crib austere and simple, and your little one will know that when they hit the crib it’s time to get down to business, the sleep business that is.

A Book Promising to Put Your Child to Sleep

If you’re a parent, with a young child, who watches the news or is on social media, you can’t have missed the recent news stories touting a new book, developed by a scientist, that promises to make any child sleep. Look, I get it. Many parents are desperate to help their child sleep more/better/quickly. You gave up on the myriad of sleep help books on the market, but are thinking that this may be the easier route to go. Don’t do it. Well, you can get the book to read as a nice bedtime story, but don’t put all of your sleeping eggs in the miracle sleep book basket. Plain and simple, this book is a sleep prop, a band-aid that doesn’t get to the root of the sleep issues your child is having.

If you’re at your wits-end, and find yourself considering one of the products mentioned here, call me instead. I offer a complimentary phone consultation, and can work with you to ditch the props and placebos, working towards healthy sleep routines for your baby.

Baby Waking Too Early?

You’ve finally gotten into a groove, the whole house is sleeping great at night. Getting eight glorious hours of sleep has allowed to stay up past 9pm with your partner, enjoying some kid-free time. Just as you’re beginning to get really comfortable with this routine, you hear a cry. It’s 5:30am. As the days go on, your little one begins waking earlier and earlier, and you find yourself setting the timer on the coffee maker for 4:30am. Your baby is waking too early.

Morning wake time is getting earlier by the day and your baby is waking too early. These 5 tips will help you turn your early riser into a great sleeper.

If you’ve just begun The Sleep Sense Program, you’re used to your baby waking too early; early waking is pretty normal in the first couple of weeks, as your little one learns how to consolidate sleep. Don’t worry, the early mornings will become later as your little one becomes a master at sleeping.

If you’ve been working on transitioning your little one from being an early riser – with no success – give these 5 tips a try:

1. Make sure the room is dark enough.

I’ve stressed the importance of keeping the nursery dark for naps and bedtime, but you also want to make sure that the room is dark enough to facilitate sleep. You may need to adjust your window coverings with the changing seasons, as summer brings early daylight – a change in the lighting in the room, no matter how slight, may be enough to stimulate a wake up. My advice is too ensure that the room is as dark at 5:00am as it is at 3:00am.

2. Implement white noise.

Environmental noise is one of the top culprits of sleep disruption. Remember those early sunlight hours I was just referencing? Well, the birds will be up with the sun and they can get pretty noisy (so can the garbage truck that rolls by at 5:30am).

While I recommend investing in a white noise machine, you can easily use a fan to help block out any errant noises.

3. Remain steadfast with your minimum wake time.

Pick a minimum wake up time (for me it’s 7:00am) and stick to it. It’s amazing how the time can creep up on you when you relax your minimum, allowing for ten early minutes. Before you know it, those ten minutes turn into twenty minutes, and then an entire half hour earlier. Pick your minimum and stick with it.

4. Take a look at your bedtime.

Many parents are taken aback when I tell them to move their child’s bedtime earlier. The fear is that moving bedtime earlier will create an earlier wake time. The reality is that their child is very likely waking early due to overtiredness. Try moving your baby’s bedtime just 30 minutes earlier and see if it makes a difference in his morning wake time.

Much like sleep training, you need to give your baby time to adjust to changes in her sleep schedule. If you put her to bed early one night, and don’t see any change in her wake time, don’t give up! Allow two weeks before trying something different.

5. Be aware of sleep associations.

Does your baby get fed as soon as he wakes up? If your baby loves to nurse, and nursing has played a large role in his sleep associations, he could be waking early because he’s looking forward to nursing.

Just like bedtime, it may help to put a little distance between wake time and first feed (or whatever your baby is anticipating first thing in the morning). Change a diaper, sing a little song or dance and then transition to nursing/feeding. Having a short break between waking and feeding can help break the association.

Hang in there and remember that you’re doing a great job! If you need more suggestions or a customized plan for you and your little one, please give me a call.

7 Baby Sleep Tips

As a sleep consultant, I am constantly asked for baby sleep tips: what is the secret to getting your baby to sleep through the night? The reality is that there is not one secret, or one way, to get your baby to sleep through the night. Teaching your baby healthy sleep habits is the best foundation for getting your little one to sleep through the night. These baby sleep tips will help you set the foundation for healthy sleep habits and a good night’s rest!

7-BABY-SLEEP-TIPS

 

#1 WATCH THE WAKING HOURS

Sleep begets sleep, so ensuring that your baby or toddler is napping well during the day helps prevent overtiredness. Overtiredness is a sleep killer, making naps and nighttime sleep difficult for your little one. Let’s take a quick look at how long your child should be awake between naps throughout the day:

NEWBORNS (0-12 weeks): 45 minutes of awake time

3-5 MONTHS: 1 1/2 – 2 hours of awake time

6-8 MONTHS: 2-3 hours of awake time

9-12 MONTHS: 3-4 hours of awake time

13 MONTHS to 2 1/2 YEARS: 5-6 hours of awake time

The key to great naps is ensuring that your little on is put down before she gets overtired. Once you’ve mastered nap times, you’ll find that bedtime will be a smooth process.

#2 DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

It’s no secret that humans, adults and children, sleep better in a dark environment. Make your child’s room as dark as possible, using blackout shades or curtains, to create a dark and cozy environment conducive to sleep. Be mindful of any ambient light you may have in the room, such as digital alarm clocks or night lights, as these items can possibly disrupt sleep.

#3 BE PREDICTABLE

Babies and toddlers thrive with the predictability of set routines and schedules. Establishing nap and bedtime routines aids greatly in creating healthy sleep habits. Keep your child’s bedtime routine predictable as well, lasting no longer than 30 minutes. Establishing these routines signals sleep for your little one. Here is an example of a typical bedtime routine:

  • Bath (5 minutes)
  • Put on pajamas (5 minutes)
  • Nurse or bottle-feed (10 minutes)
  • Read a book (10 minutes)

The keys to establishing your baby’s bedtime routine is ensuring that a.) it happens at the same time each night (or within a 30 minute window), and b.) the routine follows the same order each night (predictability, remember?). Remember that bedtime is a time of quiet, devoid of any stimulation, so be boring. If your little one throws a blanket or stuffed animal from their crib, or stands up, quietly replace the item and leave the room — no talking!

#4 FEED AFTER NAPS, NOT BEFORE

A vast majority of babies and toddlers have difficulty sleeping because they associate feeding with sleep. Unknowingly, you’ve created an association that makes your little one think that she needs to nurse or have a bottle before she can fall asleep. By feeding your little one after nap time, you can break this association.

NOTE: This tip pertains to naps only; your little one needs a full tummy at bedtime to prevent night wakings.

#5 SAME PLACE, SAME TIME

As I’ve stated, routine and predictability are the secrets to establishing healthy sleep habits for your baby or toddler. Place your child to bed in the same place each day for both nap and bedtimes. If your child is with a caregiver during the day, create a similar sleep environment to establish familiarity. Keep nap and bedtimes on a set schedule (or within the same 30 minute window) to establish a predictable routine.

#6 TRY THE 1, 2, 3 SYSTEM

Night wakings can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome with babies and sleep. When your baby begins to fuss, try to wait before running in to tend to her.

The first day, wait one minute before going into the nursery, two minutes the second day, three minutes the third day, and so on. The purpose of this is to allow your baby time to self-soothe back to sleep. Everyone wakes briefly at the end of each 45 minute sleep cycle, including babies, and the 1, 2, 3 system helps you teach your baby what you already know — how to transition between sleep cycles.

#7 TAKE FIVE

Once you’ve gone through your baby’s nap or bedtime routine, be mindful of the final five minutes of the routine. The last five minutes of your child’s sleep routine should be calm and quiet, setting the tone for sleep. This means no tickle fights and no television (ticklefights are perfect for when your little one wakes!).

These baby sleep tips are often all that is needed to get your child to sleep, and sleep well. If you find that you’re still struggling after implementing these tips, I’m available to give you guidance.

Napping After Age 2: No-No or No Worries?

You and your little one have finally mastered a sleep routine and the entire family is feeling rested. Your 2 year old has healthy sleep habits, knowing when and where to sleep, and she follows her routine with precision and mastery. You secretly pat yourself on the back and relish the fact that you and your toddler are sleeping soundly through the night. Then, you see an article saying that napping after age 2 serves to disrupt sleep, rather than provide restorative benefits for cognitive and physical development. What do you do?

A new study purports that napping after age 2 can interrupt healthy sleep; here are my thoughts on these findings.

 

A recent study (Thorpe 2015), making rounds on the internet and causing a buzz among parents of toddlers, presents findings that show that “napping beyond the age of 2 lengthens the amount of time it takes for a child to fall asleep (sleep onset) and shortens the overall amount of night-time sleep s/he has” (Science Daily).

As of now, there are no long-term studies showing a link between napping after age 2 and any impediment in cognitive and behavioral growth, in addition to overall health (Science Daily). So, what do you do with this information?

As with any information, there are a multitude of factors to take into consideration before coming to a conclusion; the most important factor is your own child. Take a look at your toddler’s current sleep habits before making any changes to her routine. Is your toddler/preschooler still falling asleep at her usual bedtime, or are you noticing that she stays awake or has difficulty falling asleep at her bedtime?

My professional opinion is that if your child is napping well during the day, while maintaining an early bedtime (allowing for eleven to twelve hours of continuous sleep per night), and appears happy and well rested, then there is no need to transition away from the afternoon nap. However, if your child struggles to get to sleep each night, and/or begins waking several times a night of for long stretches, then it is a clear indication that they no longer need to nap during the day; at this point, the family should work on transitioning away from naps by using afternoon quiet time.

The bottom line is that this study’s findings are not a ‘one size fits all’ statement about napping after age 2. The circumstances always depend on the individual child’s needs, and many toddlers still benefit from an afternoon nap. Again, take a look at your little one’s sleeping habits and let that be the decision maker, not a scientific study making a blanket statement.

If you’re unsure whether your toddler is ready to transition from an afternoon nap to quiet time, I’m more than happy to evaluate your child’s needs. I offer a fifteen minute child sleep assessment at no charge, to assess whether you can benefit from my assistance.

5 Ways Parents Sabotage Their Baby’s Sleep

Sleep-Sabotage

Your baby’s first year is typically marked by a blur of amazing milestones, and a healthy sleep routine is often the most difficult to master. Many parents are often surprised to find that they are often the cause behind their little one’s sleep difficulties. Today I’m going to share five ways parents unintentionally sabotage their little one’s restful sleep routine.

Don’t Be a Night Owl

With many parents working long hours, it can be tempting to keep little ones up late. Many parents will push back baby’s bedtime in order to spend a little more time with him/her, with some parents going so far as to wake their little one to fit in a snuggle. It can be tempting to push back bedtime, but you and your baby will be happier when you’re all well rested. Set an early bedtime and enforce it nightly.

Set a Routine…and stick to it

An integral part of your baby’s sleep patterns is teaching him/her when to sleep. By setting a sleep routine, your baby will know what to do and when to do it; this goes for naps and bedtime. Instead of hoping your baby will master the art of expecting the unexpected, set a sleep routine that leaves out the guesswork. Your routine can be as simple as setting bathtime for six o’clock each night, and running through a familiar BATH-BOTTLE/BREAST-BOOK-BED sequence. By six-thirty, your baby knows that it is time to sleep.

Help Your Baby To Peaceful Sleep
Help Your Baby To Peaceful Sleep

Don’t turn ON the lights!

Newborn and infant nights are marked with feedings and diaper changes, but those sleep interruptions don’t have to last an hour or more. The fewer stimuli you present during the night, the quicker your little one will fall back into a restful sleep.

No Midnight Dance Parties

It can be tempting to rock, bounce, walk, sway, and cajole your baby, in an effort to get him/her back to sleep in the middle of the night. Not only do some of these actions stimulate your baby into a more wakeful state, but you’re also sabotaging your little one’s ability to learn how to soothe him/herself back to sleep. Treat sleep like any other skill you practice with your baby during his/her first year; learning to sleep is a skill just as important as learning how to eat from a spoon, grasping objects, or even crawling. Save the dance parties for daylight hours.

Save the Helicopter for Flying

As tempting and instinctual as it is to rush to your infant’s crib at the sound of every mewl or whimper, try to give your little one time to soothe him/herself. Sleep is a skill, and babies need the time to learn how to effortlessly glide from one sleep cycle to the next. When parents rush in at the slightest peep, they are unintentionally disrupting a learning process [that adults take for granted]. When you hear your baby stir in the night, pause for a couple of minutes to allow your little one to soothe him/herself into the next sleep cycle.   As parents, we’re attuned to the needs of our children, and fostering healthy sleep habits is of the utmost importance. If your nights are disrupted, or bedtime is a battle, remember these five tips and get back on the road to restfulness.   Are you ‘0’ for ‘5’? Keep up the great work! Are you unintentionally sabotaging your little one’s sleep? A few adjustments will get you back on track.  Not sure where to start?  Contact me!   I want to hear from you!

Sleep Problems in Babies May Not Fade with Time Say Researchers

A well rested family is so important for every member of the family. If you little one is not sleeping well at night and waking up frequently, that means that Mommy and Daddy are as well. That’s quite a bit of lost sleep! Why not make it a New Year Resolution to give the gift of sleep to your family.
Let 2014 be the year of Sweet Dreams and Peaceful Nights. Give me a call (267)382-0826 or email me at info@giftofsleepconsulting.com to set up a free 15 minute telephone evaluation if you are worried about sleep problems in babies. I’ll gather some important information from you and we can dedicate ourselves to creating a customized plan tailor made to help give the gift of sleep to your little one. baby sleep sack

 

Sleep Problems in Babies May Not Fade with Time Say Researchers : Growing Your Baby#.UOTUj45ghRk.facebook.

Vacations for Kids – Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road

Summer is in full swing and you know what that means…VACATION!  While the idea of traveling on your much anticipated holiday is very exciting, for some parents it can also be met with a bit of anxiety.  The reasoning might very well be because you have worked hard to get your little one on a great schedule and sleeping through the night.  Now that everyone’s sleep is back on track you probably don’t want to do anything that is going to cause you to undo your great work.  Below are some of my tips and suggestions to make your vacation one to remember while also creating a great little traveler.

Don’t Over-Schedule!

Vacations for Kids - Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road
Vacations for Kids – Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road

Many parents want to make the most of every moment of their vacation.  While seeing the sites and enjoying the attractions are why you planned your family’s vacation, keep on the agenda time every day (preferably at the same time) to allow for rest and relaxation.  A great time to pencil this in is early afternoon just after lunch.  It allows everyone to recharge their batteries for the remainder of the day while also allowing your little napper the sleep time they need.  And speaking of naps…

Limit The Number of Naps That Your Baby or Toddler is Taking in The Car

The occasional car nap is okay once in a while, but if you find your little one napping often in the car over the course of your vacation, you may run into difficulty getting them to take naps in their crib or bed once you have returned.

Avoid too late bedtimes

A slightly later bedtime during your vacation is okay, but if you consistently keep your little one awake well past their bedtime, you are setting the scene for the perfect toddler meltdown storm.  And we parents like to avoid that at all costs.

Keep to the same bedtime routine and rules while away on vacation

Although you might be miles away from home, continuing with the normal bedtime routine will help set the stage and expectation of sleep.  Babies and toddlers love to test boundaries, and if given an opportunity during the vacation, you could be looking at bedtime battles every evening and wakings during the night.  If night wakings do occur, respond as you would at home and guide your little one back to sleep independently.

Create Your Child’s Own Sleeping Space in Your Home Away From Home.

If they are small enough to use a portable crib for sleep, I suggest bringing along your child’s lovey, blanket or sleep sack, and your own crib sheets (and pack n play if possible).  Familiar sleep items and the familiar smell of your child’s sheets will help reinforce the sleep expectation while also guarding against the temptation to bring your baby or toddler into bed with you.  Speaking of bed sharing…

Don’t Bed Share with Your Little One if You Don’t Normally Do It at Home.

If your child spends a week in your bed while on vacation they will surely want to continue this new standard once they are home.  Besides the possible safety issues I can guarantee that your baby would much prefer sleeping with you than in their own crib.

If possible, Allow Your Child Time to Fall Asleep Alone in Your Hotel Room.

Now, I am not advocating leaving your child unattended.  But I am suggesting that once you put your little one down for the night you sit right outside your hotel room door or on your balcony (preferably with some prearranged wine and snack via room service) for at least a half hour to allow your sleep trained child to fall asleep without distraction.  Once they are asleep you can move back into the room and get ready for bed yourself.

Portable White Noise

Hotels and the area around some vacation houses can be rather noisy throughout the night.  If your little one normally listens to white noise while sleeping at home, I strongly suggest you continue use during your vacation.  I am a huge advocate of using white noise in a child’s room to reduce possible waking in the night due to environmental noise.  I know that Amazon.com has quite a few portable options to choose from that can fit right in your baby back.

Enjoy yourself and your family

Vacations are a great time to reconnect and refresh.  Enjoy the time you spend together and make the most of the experience while also keeping a watchful eye on your little one’s sleep needs.

Sweet Dreams!