How to make your baby sleep when travelling abroad

Sleep. It’s a major issue when you’re travelling abroad with a baby in tow. Will your little one nap on the plane or will they cry and disturb other passengers? How will they cope with a different cot and an unfamiliar room?

That’s why we’ve come up with seven simple strategies that will soothe your baby to sleep while you’re away…

Preparing to fly

1. Choose your time carefully

Quieter midweek flights make travelling during term time the ideal option for babies. So if your tot doesn’t have any older siblings at school, make the most of this opportunity. The tickets will be cheaper too.

Not sure what time of day to travel? If your baby has settled into a routine, we suggest taking their feeds and naps into account when you book your flight.  Nine am flights can work well, as your little one should be ready for a post breakfast nap during the flight. Early afternoon is ideal for babies who snooze after lunch.

It’s also worth considering an overnight flight. If you pop your baby into their pyjamas, allow  them to nap and wake them just before you leave the house, they should stay awake while you check in and crash out after takeoff.


2. Request a bassinet

A baby bassinet is a basket that can be hung from the walls of an aircraft or placed on a specially designed shelf. Hiring one allows your little one to lie down and sleep safely during your flight.

While bassinets are available from most airlines, you’ll need to check that your baby fits the age and size requirements before you book one. We also recommend taking a bassinet cover or swaddle blanket with you, so that you can block out any light from the cabin.

Fidgety babies might need to be settled in their parent’s arms before they’re transferred to their bassinet and if you encounter any turbulence during the flight, you’ll be asked to remove them.


3. Take a baby carrier

If your baby won’t settle at all during the flight, popping them into a carrier or sling will enable you to walk around and gently bounce them to sleep. Taking a baby carrier also makes carrying hand luggage, boarding and exiting the plane much easier, especially if you have to retrieve your buggy from the luggage carousel.

Once you arrive at your destination, transporting your little one in a front carrier will help them to feel secure and free up your hands for taking those all important family photos.


4. Establish a routine

Establishing a bedtime routine before you travel abroad will help you to recreate it while you’re on holiday. Does your baby have a favourite lullaby or song? Try singing it just before bedtime, so that your little one associates it with going to sleep.

If your baby’s bedtime routine also includes a story, we recommend sticking to a handful of favourite books before you travel. Read the same stories while you’re away and your baby will be comforted by their familiarity, making it easier for them to settle.


When you arrive

5. Recreate familiar surroundings

Your baby will sleep better if you add a few familiar touches to your hotel bedroom, so why not pack their usual sleep sack, a couple of their crib sheets, a few favourite teddies and a selection of bath toys? ,

If you’ll be taking your own travel cot on holiday, getting your baby used to sleeping in it before you go should make a real difference when bedtime arrives.


6. Stick to the schedule

While travelling with a young baby is generally easier if you prioritise their naps, there will be times when this isn’t practical. Thanks to the fresh air and stimulation of being on holiday, your tot will probably snooze while you’re out and about, but we recommend keeping an eye on this. Allow them to sleep for too long and they simply won’t settle at night.

If you’ve travelled to a hot country in the summer, expect to get a little less sleep than you would at home. To combat exhaustion, try napping with your baby, as even a twenty minute catnap can work wonders. If you get desperate and end up with the baby in your bed, don’t beat yourself up. Simply enjoy the rest and reintroduce your normal routine as soon as you arrive home.


7. Create good sleeping conditions

When bedtime arrives, it’s a good idea to keep the lights and your voices low. Bring a book to read while you wait for your baby to settle and consider packing some temporary blackout blinds, which are cheap, portable and easy to put up.

Hotel a little on the noisy side? How about downloading the Sound Sleeper: White Noise app, which uses familiar sounds and sounds from nature to soothe baby to sleep?

We hope our tips help your little one to sleep soundly while you’re away. After all, when baby sleeps, everybody sleeps. Here’s to a relaxing time abroad!

Do you have any sleeping suggestions to share? We’d love to hear them.