Holiday Road

Sleeping Baby + Vacation = Relaxed And Rested Parents

When you’re planning a family holiday with a baby, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable vacation if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep schedule.

This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip—which is bound to make your holiday more enjoyable for everyone!

Here are some tips to help ensure sure your baby gets the sleep he needs during your travels:

Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their “child-free” days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby you can’t plan to go bungee-jumping in the morning, swim with dolphins in the early afternoon, go parasailing in the late afternoon, and go on a dinner cruise in the evening.

It’s better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home.

Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime

An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your baby’s naps are all over the place and she goes to bed much later than usual several days in a row, your baby will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable.

Tip 3: Be patient as your baby acclimatizes to the new environment

Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment things might be very different. It’s normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re someone new.

Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Grandma’s house.

In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behavior is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Tip 4. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket

If your child has a treasured comfort item, it will go a long way to helping him feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment.

Tip 5. If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now

Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while traveling. Even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and put her back in her crib.

The good news is, most hotels have a crib you can use or rent. You could also take your portable playpen along and use that as a crib.

Melatonin for Babies? No Way!

Melatonin for Babies?  No Way!

There was a recent article in Today’s Parent about an busy, working mom with two children who claimed she has tried everything to get her children to sleep well. (I posted the article on my Facebook page.) I commented on the post that she should hire a sleep consultant  and my comment was deleted. Most likely because I included my website. I did this because I feel I have a responsibility to let sleep deprived parents know there is help out there. I am also 100% confident that I could help her get both of her children sleeping well.

There was another post from a mom that gave her children Melatonin and it worked like a charm. It was very concerning for me as it was not deleted and planted the idea for many other sleep deprived parents that Melatonin was the answer.

For overtired parents who can’t seem to get their kids on a healthy sleep schedule, the promise of a magic pill can be pretty enticing.

But it seems to me that more and more doctors and parents are turning to Melatonin as a Band-Aid for sleep issues with their children. I hear stories all the time about people saying they are giving their babies Melatonin to help them fall asleep at night, and I have serious concerns about this.

Here’s the deal: Melatonin is NOT a long-term solution to poor sleep habits. Healthy sleep habits need to be learned at a young age in order to set kids up for a lifetime of healthy sleep habits.

And while some studies have shown that Melatonin can be helpful with autistic children or children with ADHD, most babies and children do not need Melatonin; they need to be taught good, independent sleep skills.

Here’s why:

Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by your brain and is present in every person’s body. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “no other hormone is available in the United States without a prescription. Because melatonin is contained naturally in some foods, the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 allows it to be sold as a dietary supplement. These do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or controlled in the same way as drugs.” The same goes for Canada.

Dr. Johnson-Arbor, a Hartford Hospital toxicologist, says, “It’s (melatonin) possibly thought to affect growth, and to affect sexual development and puberty.” Other side-effects can include headaches, drowsiness and stomach ache.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Melatonin should not be used in most children. It is possibly unsafe. Because of its effects on other hormones, Melatonin might interfere with development.”

There’s no need to put your kids at risk just to get them down for the night. The plain truth is, children need to be taught to sleep properly — and it’s up to you, Mom and Dad, to show them how.sleepingbaby