44 degrees today in Dubai!
Summer is well and truly on us, meaning that many of you with babies and young children will be travelling in the near future – off to cooler climates in an effort to avoid the worst of this insane Dubai heat!
Over the past week our consultants have been inundated with questions about coping with the upheaval travelling can have on your baby’s sleep routine so we thought we would write a tip list for surviving the worst of it.
#1: KEEP IT SIMPLE
The key to stress free travel is to have as little to carry as possible. There is absolutely no need to bring anything and everything you think you ‘might need’. If you didn’t use it this week, you aren’t going to use it next week on holiday, so leave the state of the art, all singing all dancing, latest baby contraption at home. It is just going to be heavy, take up space, be difficult to manoeuvre in crowded airports, and leave you with less hands for dealing with important things like your children, passports, etc.
#2: PACK LIGHT
Your baby is happy playing with a spoon, so don’t go nuts with the toys and books etc. One or two favourites will be enough to get you through. Most hotels have wonderful children’s rooms/kid’s clubs that will have more than enough toys to keep your baby and older children occupied if they are taking a break from other holiday activities.
#3: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR HOTEL SERVICES
Unless you are trecking through the amazon, (which we wouldn’t recommend with a baby!) you are going to be able to find most baby basics very easily. In most cases your hotel will happily get them all for you. All it takes is a quick email, or phone call with concierge services, and ta da! You don’t even have to go to the shops! It never hurts to ask. You can even specify your preferred brand and they will be able to let you know if it is available in that country. You should know roughly how many nappies, bottles and so on your baby will go through in a day. Pack enough for 24 hours, (you never know – your flight may be delayed) plus one extra, and buy the rest when you get there. It is amazing how many people think that they only sell nappies and Formula here. They sell both in every country in the world!!!
#4: TRY TO TAKE A MORNING FLIGHT
If you are travelling long haul it is better to travel during the day for two reasons:
A) If your baby decides not to sleep on the plane, arriving close to evening time means that they should be well and truly ready for bed and you can kick start the new time zone fairly smoothly (Incidentally, this works for grown ups too!).
B) Less of your fellow passengers will be trying to sleep during the day, so if your baby is screaming at the top of their lungs, people tend to be a little more tolerant.
#5: DRESS YOUR BABY IN THE CLOTHES YOU WANT THEM TO TRAVEL IN
Dress your baby before putting them down for the night. Make sure everything is in the car, and just before you are about to leave, get your baby in the car. Try not to wake them if it is a very early start, just transfer them to car seat and let them continue sleeping until the last possible moment. The extra stimulation around them at the airport and on the plane will mean that their usual day routine will, in all likelihood, go out the window and they may not nap as long as usual. Don’t stress if this happens, take comfort in the fact that the closer to evening you arrive, the faster you can start your night time feed/bath/bed routine and the faster they will adjust to the new time zone.
#6: OPERATE ON THE TIME ZONE YOU ARE IN
Don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of thinking “oh, it’s only 4 o’clock in Dubai…” If it is 6 o’clock where you are, and that is the usual time you feed and bath your baby, then feed and bath your baby. These are part of their recognisable sleep routine, and the faster you show them everything is ok, and the usual things happen here too, the faster they will get over jet lag. It should only take 72 hours, maximum!
#7: KEEP BABY’S ROOM AS SIMILAR TO HOME AS POSSIBLE
No, we don’t mean re-decorate the hotel! Just make sure that the room the baby sleeps in is as dark as it is at home, is the same temperature, and isn’t excessively noisy. Don’t worry if you are sharing a room with your baby while you are on holiday, which you might not do at home, this shouldn’t effect things too much.
#8: RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELVES
Take a deep breath, everything will be just fine! This will be a memorable trip for you as parents, so make sure you have as much fun as possible. Don’t forget, stressed parents make for a stressed baby!
Bon Voyage 🙂
By Genevieve Ramirez – Nutritionist, Sleep Trainer & Infant Specialist