Everyone knows that a well-rested baby is a happy baby but as moms, we forget to give ourselves a little nap during travel. My success as a travel mom depends on my ability to sneak in a quick snooze for myself while Lucian is sleeping.
Here are 5 tricks I use to get my one year old Tiny Traveler to sleep on a plane, so I can catch a few ZZZ’s of mine own at 30,000 feet.
Let the ugly, sweaty and open-mouth sleeping begin!
1. Get Up Early – As awful as it may sound, a really early wake up call for my family makes for a smoother travel day overall. Weird, right? I look for flights that depart around the time Lucian normally wakes up in the morning (7am). This means, she’ll need to get up a couple hours earlier than normal to get breakfast, load up the car, get to the airport, charm the TSA workers, etc. By the time we are boarding the plane, I usually have a pretty crabby kid on my hands, but it’s worth it because she’s ready to snuggle in for snooze at take off. As soon as those engines roar to life, she’s out like a light and I can usually follow her lead. That is, until I get nailed in the elbow with the drink cart…good morning!
2. Stockpile of Soothies – You may call it a pacific, binky or nuk, but in our family we call it “The Soothie”. The Soothie helps to keep Lucian’s ears gently releasing pressure throughout the flight, especially during take-off and landing. It also provides her some comfort and distraction while she is winding down for sleep by giving her something to focus on instead of pulling the women’s hair in front of us. I recommend bringing several Soothies as they have a this magical way of falling out a sleeping baby’s mouth and completely disappearing forever into some sort of Secret Soothie Vortex. Better yet? Put the Soothie on pacifier strap!
3. Wear PJs – Although you may be tempted to dress your kiddo in spectacular fashion for the flight, keep those Tiny Travelers in pajamas. I’ve fallen victim to the trendy baby clothes and made the mistake of traveling with Lucian decked out front head to toe, in the cutest (and most uncomfortable) outfits on the earth. The key to getting a baby to sleep is the same as getting an adult to sleep, get comfortable, and what better way than to wear pajamas. You’re going to look like a total slacker mom with your kid in PJ’s at 2:00pm, but you’ll be thankful when you’re snoozing away and the baby wearing the pilot costume is screaming it’s head off from the back of the plane.
4. Limit Distraction – If at all possible, remove distractions from your Tiny Travelers view. This means, closing the window shade, turning off the overhead reading light, covering them up with a light blanket and most importantly, unplugging from media. If your baby is anything like mine, they’ll wake up at the slightest indication that YOU are awake, so don’t be tempted to whip out the Candy Crush once you think they are sleeping. Take a pass on the free pretzels and tomato juice, too! You don’t need clinking ice and crunching snacks as a sleeping soundtrack for your little one.
5. Keep Calm and Travel On – It is absolutely guaranteed that your baby is going to cry on the airplane at some point and you’re going to feel stressed out, so be prepared! But here’s the deal… babies pick up on your mood and energy, so don’t get too worked up. (Easier said than done, right?) If your baby is refusing to sleep, or is getting too sassy and restless, don’t force it. Get up and take a walk to the bathroom or show your little one a fun feature of your seat area like the window shade, tray table, those handy barf bags or the buttons on the armrest. Try to rest again in a little while when your baby is in the mood. You’ll have a much more enjoyable flight if you just relax, keep calm and travel on.
Share your tips for sneaking in a snooze with a little one!