4/3/12

Tips for Helping Your Baby Fall Asleep in Strange Places


New parents usually have enough problems getting their babies to fall asleep as it is, so the prospect of trying to get them to fall asleep in an unfamiliar environment can be a formidable venture. Despite how daunting this task may seem though, you can’t avoid
strange places just because it can interfere with your newborns sleep schedule. Instead you can do a few different things to make these experiences less unnerving for them and help coax them into sleep a little easier regardless of where they are.
  1. Bring familiar objects. Recreating their normal environment as much as possible will help them feel more at ease and calm about being in a new and strange setting. Be sure to bring along a blanket that your baby is used to sleeping with, as well as stuffed animals or other small objects that are easily transportable and familiar. 
  2. Keep them on the same schedule. One of the pitfalls of being away from home, whether you’re on a vacation, travelling, or just at a friend’s house, is that it can mess up normal routines and sleep times. Put your baby down to sleep at the same time that they would be going to bed if they were at home to keep them on their regular time schedule. 
  3. Pre-condition your child to different environments. If you’re planning on taking a trip then start conditioning them to sleep in different places before you actually leave. Let them sleep over at Grandma’s house one night or put them to bed in a playpen that you’re bringing along; teaching them to fall asleep no matter where they are early on will help them maintain a consistent sleep schedule more easily. 
  4. Play soothing music. When you’re ready for them to go down for a nap or to sleep for the night play soothing music or sounds on an iPod or CD player for them. Having an iPod or some other form of an MP3 player with calming music is perfect when you’re travelling because you can play it softly no matter where you are and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. 
  5. Try swaddling. Swaddling helps recreate the feeling of being held tight which is a comforting feeling for babies. This is an easy way to make them feel safe and secure no matter where they are and you can do it easily with a blanket. This is especially good for trips on airplanes, buses, etc. where there’s a lot of competing noises and faces that could be unnerving for your baby. 
The key to getting your baby to fall asleep no matter where they are is making them feel as normal and comfortable as possible. It may take a few times, but soon enough they’ll likely have no problem falling asleep no matter what the circumstances.


Author Bio
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

9 comments :

  1. hunniebee530 @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

    thanks Rachel for sharing this post! and so timely too! we will be going on a cruise in about 6 weeks and i am worried about my baby not being able to sleep in a different environment. he will be 8 months next week. when he was younger i feel like it was easier for him to sleep in different environments. now he is much more aware. when he was 6 months old we took him to mammoth and he tooks his naps but they were much shorter and his nighttime sleep, he woke up and cried several times when he usually doesn't cry. he will be about 9 months and 1 week when we go on the cruise.

    should i start having him sleep in different rooms and in his playpen? does that really work? any other thoughts? thanks so much!

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    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      hunniebee,
      Many kids do seem to have a time between baby and preschoolhood where they don't sleep as well in other places. This is certainly how it has been with mine. At least you know it will probably get better, right?

      As for whether practice will help or not, it totally depends on the child. You will have to try it to see. Practice made no difference with my oldest and my youngest does really well without the practice (although we have been out of town so much he has had practice that way). If you are able to have him sleep in a different room than you and you can keep dark and he has his lovey (or whatever) with him then that will probably help tons. Many kids that aren't used to sleeping with parents will start to wake up with them there. I'd say have him sleep in the bathroom if you can but likely the playpen will not fit there. They are so tiny on cruise ships. Don't be surprised if you have to get up and breastfeed more during the night. Just try to get things back to normal as soon as you can when you get home if they get off at all. If my kids have any sort of change out of town, they usually go right back to where they were before we left the moment their head hits their own bed. If you don't have a baby carrier I'd consider investing in one of those. A soft structured carrier will probably be your best bet, something that fits like an ergo (rather than a bjorn) will probably be more comfortable for the two of you. If you are sharing a room, my husband and I have found ipads super useful. We can read all evening in the dark while the kids sleep. We love to read so it is like a vacation just being able to do that :) HA. a little more info than you asked for! Sorry!

      Rachel

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    2. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      hunniebee,
      Terrible me! I forgot to say Have a Great Trip!

      Delete
  2. Ruth Rodrigues @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

    Any hints on helping a baby sleep in the same room as the parents? The music/sound machine is a good idea.

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    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Hey Ruth,
      Mainly, wait until they get a bit older :) Until then, keep it dark and have them sleep in a way that they can't see you. My friend even puts a sheet up in the middle of their room so baby can't see them. Practice may help, but with some kids, practice doesn't make much of a difference. If they know their parent is near, they want to play.

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  3. Emily @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    I find that keeping your little ones on the same schedule is so helpful! That is one thing that we always do, sometimes it cuts into the fun, but it is more important to be consistent.

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    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      I agree that consitency is helpful Emily. Sometimes you miss out on stuff, but then your kids aren't cranky the entire time (and resisting sleep) so you often end up being better off.

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  4. Krisitn Wheeler @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    I could have used this when my daughter was a baby. We literally drove around and wasted gas for 1-2 hours a day to get her to nap. It was awful. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      Kristin,
      I bet that was an expensive year or two!

      Delete