A question came in today about sleeping arrangements with a 4-month-old, on a long vacation, with multiple stops/stays. In other words, a family is going on a long vacation with their 16-week-old baby and aren’t staying in one place. They’ll be stopping in different homes and hotels throughout their trip. What can they do in terms of sleeping arrangements? Baby no longer fits in a bassinet and won’t sleep in the stroller.
Our advice? Well, we’ve been on the road for up to 5-weeks at a time so we know what that’s all about. There’s not always a crib/play-pen available and our son doesn’t sleep in his stroller — ever. Our solution (while contentious) has always worked. With wee ones, we define a space in the middle of the bed using tightly rolled towels or sheets to form a rectangle on the bed about 3 feet long by two-feet wide (adjust to accommodate your own child). Our son then sleeps between us in the space. If your child isn’t used to co-sleeping, it can sometimes take longer to get them down for naps because they’re excited you’re there. But if you make a “travel routine” so they know what’s expected of them, eventually it gets easier. We use a white noise machine to help soothe and just got for it. We started this at 7-weeks of age and still use it now that he’s 16-months. Although it’s harder once they start wanting to get up and crawl all over the bed, it’s a great test in early discipline. Our son understands what we mean by “lay down” and eventually, when he’s tired enough he passes out.
If co-sleeping isn’t an option for your family, there are small, collapsible, portable mini-play-pen style beds. The issue I found with these is that you’ve got to take them with you and I’m sure you’re already loaded down with supplies. There’s not always guaranteed space in the place you’re staying, so then what? Most families then end up putting the baby in bed with them so what’s the point of bringing along the extra baggage in the first place?
Let me know how you sleep with your kids on the road.