Varying the Sleep Location

While you want to try and keep the sleep environment as consistent as possible, some variation can be very beneficial. This helps baby get used to sleeping in other places besides his crib which will make things a lot easier for everyone in the long run. For example, you could have baby sleep in his car seat or port-a-crib occasionally or take him
on a walk during one of their naps in a stroller a couple times a week. Just remember that consistency is the key, so baby needs to be in his crib most of the time. I would recommend not having your baby take more than 1 nap each day outside their crib when they are a newborn, and less when they get older and take less naps.

Keep in mind that the more consistent the environment is, the easier it will be to vary the environment occasionally without causing much of a disruption. But of course, you need to have a norm to return to in the first place. It probably is a good idea to have a few weeks of extreme consistency (e.g. almost always having your baby sleep in their crib) before attempting to incorporate some additional variability. This will help your baby to have something they are very used to that they will more easily be able to bounce back to.

There are some babies simply won't sleep well in places outside their cribs no matter what. I've heard from many people with babies like this that it got better as their little ones got older. If you have one of these children just keep in mind all the long term benefits of healthy sleep... and look into hobbies you can do from home!

Related Posts:
Where should my baby sleep?
Getting the Right Temperature
What impact does light have on my child's sleep?
Should my baby sleep with white noise?
Sleep Attire
What does sound have to do with Sleep?


  1. Hi Rachel,

    Your website is so informative and helpful.

    I have a question about sleep location. I just started training my 15 wks old DS to sleep in his crib. Prior to that, he requires to be rocked or sleep in the car seat. In another words, he needs motion to fall asleep but wouldn't stay asleep even if i carefully put him down after holding him for 30 to 45 mins. Anyways, I follow the baby whisperer and got him to sleep in the crib during naps and at night. I started this last week.

    We are travelling to another country and will stay there for 4 wks of time. I want to get him used to sleep somewhere other than his own crib. Do u have any recommendations? We have a playpen downstairs and would like to try that out. Should i wait for another 2 - 3 wks b4 i do that since he just started sleeping in his crib?!

    Thanks in advance, Iris

  2. I should mention that we are travelling in about 2 months, so i guess we still have some time to train him.

  3. Iris,
    Some kids will be better at sleeping in other locations. Some will sleep wherever as long as it somewhat resembles their bed. Others will be distracted by a while wall. Just keep that in mind.

    When I have kids elsewhere I try to find a semi-quiet location that is dark. I use a sound machine. I make sure to include a comfort item if they have one, same swaddle they normally use etc, to make it more like home.

    Some kids you don't really need to practice. My youngest is like this. He'll sleep pretty good other places even though we rarely do it. We don't practice. We plan a trip somewhere for a week and we put him in a new sleeping place the whole time (keeping it dark and turn on a sound machine) and he sleeps normally. Practice makes no difference with my oldest. He is distracted by a white wall and his own hand and is easily excited so sleeping somewhere else is always a struggle for him (and us!)

    Some kids will benefit with some practice. Some parents always have their kids nap a couple naps a week in a playpen somewhere else to help them practice. It is hard to know how your child will be unless you try it. And then they might change with age. Ahh, things are never simple with kids!

    Two things come to mind. 1) if you get the idea of the crib ingrained in your baby's mind he might have a harder time sleeping elsewhere, but 2) if you switch too soon he might have a harder time sleeping overall. Since you only sleep trained last week I would work at it for another week at least before changing things. Then I would try it a couple times and see how things go. How is the rest of the day and the next day affected? If things go smoothly, then continue. If not, wait a bit longer. Just keep in mind that he might struggle regardless, some kids do. And keep in mind the the is getting to the age where he will get distracted more easily so darkness very likely will start to be important to prevent distraction during sleep times.

    Also, keep in mind that you might have a bit of chaos with sleep while traveling and have to retrain when you get home. It depends a lot on your traveling situation and your child's disposition. Just take it as it goes.


  4. Hi there,

    I've been worrying so much about this. I'm going back to work as a nanny and will be bringing my now 7 week old baby with me which is great so I can spend time with her but I'm also nervous about napping. She does great going down for naps at home in her bed but obviously I can't bring her bed with me. Am I going to be screwing up her sleep massively bc she will likely be sleeping on me while I baby wear her or in a stroller or possibly a rock and play that j will will all depend on the day. The kids I nanny are older and don't nap so it's likely we will be out and about at the park or library or in the backyard until it gets too cold out. Any advice??