One of the major concerns for parents travelling with babies and toddlers is a lack of sleep. If your child is rested then it will increase the whole family’s enjoyment of a holiday. The following are some tips in how to help your child sleep during flights and on arrival.
Sleeping On a Plane
Generally babies will sleep well on planes as the movement will relax them. Some airlines offer a Bassinet for long haul flights and these can be used by children aged 10 month or less or those that weight 10 kilos or less. Jojo Maman Bebe sells the SkyBaby mattress (£33.00) which is ideal for long haul flights. It is designed to make flying with your baby easier. It works with the infant loop belt and allows your baby to lie across your knee in a natural sleeping position. The wrap around ‘wings’ makes your child feel safe and secure. You can also carry your baby on and off the aircraft on the mattress so they aren’t disturbed. It does not restrict where you sit on the aircraft and rolls up neatly in its own carry bag to fit in hand luggage. Please click here for information on how to help your child sleep on the plane.
Jet Lag & New Surroundings
When in a new place your child may find it difficult to sleep due to his or her new surroundings or he or she might be jet lagged. You may want to recreate your child’s familiar surroundings as much as possible for example by using his or her own grow bag or blankets. You may also consider bringing a blackout curtain for your hotel room or your child’s bedroom in self-catering accommodation. You can get blackout blinds specifically for travel from Mothercare. The Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind is an excellent product and it retails for €35.99. For further information on dealing with jet lag click here.
Hotel Cribs and Cots
Most hotels that are family friendly will provide a cot, usually this is a travel cot. These tend to be quite large, especially for babies younger than 6 months who may not be used to sleeping with so much space around them. You could opt to use your pram for young babies to sleep in (if they are marked safe for overnight sleeping). You could also bring a smaller travel crib with you on the plane or rent a smaller crib at your destination. Another option is to buy a travel bassinet, the Koo-di 80 x 50 x 58 cm Pop Up Travel Bassinette is great for babies under 6 months as it is highly portable and smaller than the cots provided in most hotels.
The cots offered by 4 and 5 star hotels are usually good quality travel cots with sheets and a baby duvet or blanket on them. Make sure to check first to see if a hotel has a crib before booking. (most online booking sites will say whether cots are available). If there are no cots in the accommodation that you are going to you could bring a travel cot or a smaller travel crib.
Most airlines will allow you to travel with two pieces of baby equipment so if you are bringing a stroller, this could be your second piece. If you need a car seat as well you could pay for an extra piece of checked luggage. There are also many rental agencies in larger towns and cities in the USA and Europe where you can hire a cot or a crib. When hotel staff set up a travel cot make sure that it is done correctly as if it is not it could buckle when you put your child in. Also, check the crib is generally clean and safe by moving it around a bit and if it is not right ask for another. For information on the best travel cots on the market, click here.
Please see our ‘Destinations’ section for more country specific information on sleeping soundly.