Help my son sleep
July 18, 2010 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Sleeping options for a 9 month old while on vacation?

So our son will be nine months old when we vacation next month. We will be staying in a rented cabin on the coast of downeast Maine. Sleeping is a real issue for him, we've actually been consulting with Dr. Richard Ferber (he of "ferberizing"). We can't get him down in the crib for naps, but he does go down at night. We're terrified that he won't sleep at all, or very little at best. We've looked into several options, including renting a crib (but we'd have to go get it about 1 1/2 hours away from where we are staying and put it together, then break it down and return it at the end of the trip), buying a travel crib (which are either wickedly expensive or appear to be death traps - and have very thin mattresses anyhow), or simply buying a crib that we could then leave at my parents for him to use when we get down there. We've also heard of the "Peapod." Any suggestions? What have others done?
posted by waitingtoderail to Travel & Transportation (37 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you bring a Pack 'n' Play with you? If you don't already own one, you can pick one up cheaply in consignment shops, Craigslist, or via local moms groups, or you can borrow one from a friend.
posted by pinky at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2010


Peapod or Pack 'n' Play. We like the Peapod better but lots of pals use the Pack 'N' Play.
posted by k8t at 11:09 AM on July 18, 2010


Why not just put the baby on the floor, on a pile of blankets, surrounded by pillows? Why does he need an expensive bed for a temporary vacation visit? Babies are small: you can put 'em anywhere. On your bed, on the floor, you can even use a drawer as a temporary crib (I've seen women in my family do that, when visiting).
posted by goblinbox at 11:09 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW, my kid wouldn't nap well at that age either. He grew out of it around your son's age. At daycare the solution was to put him on a mat (like a toddler.)
posted by k8t at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2010


Also, if you're really concerned about him sleeping, give up the sleep training while you're on vacay. Car seat or stroller induced naps aren't the end of the world.
posted by k8t at 11:13 AM on July 18, 2010


The problem is that he is a terrible sleeper. It's hard enough getting him to sleep at night as is. We have a Pack n Play, it's just we don't know how we are going to get him to sleep in it. We wanted something as close to his own crib as possible, but we can't really bring it because it is a very big and bulky one.
posted by waitingtoderail at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2010


Car seat or stroller induced naps aren't the end of the world.

They're fine for July, but not for January in New England. One way or the other he's eventually going to have to learn to nap on his own.
posted by waitingtoderail at 11:19 AM on July 18, 2010


Since you have a Pack n Play, can you start now with training him to take naps in it? At least it will get him used to the idea, even though he has difficulty going down for sleep in general.
posted by sillymama at 11:28 AM on July 18, 2010


1. Why can't he just nap and sleep in the bed? That's the most logical solution I can think of.

2. Baby Zizzle is not the best at getting to sleep, either. It's incredibly frustrating at times (like at this very moment). Sometimes we have to take him for a walk in the stroller and then move him to the bed. At my parents', I found he goes down for his nap much better with Grandma than with either me or his father. If there will be another adults with you, would you and they be comfortable trying this approach?

3. I've been through two New England winters with Baby Zizzle who is not himself even two yet. Get one of those plastic stroller covers, throw the baby in his coat, put him in the stroller, and go for a walk. If he falls asleep normally in the stroller, this may be a solution. You can find cheap ones for $10. They're also great for rain. Then either leave the kid in the stroller, or put the kid where you intend him to sleep once he's out.

4. One way or the other he's eventually going to have to learn to nap on his own is true, but geez. He's nine months old. He's not even a toddler. I bet he doesn't walk and he probably doesn't talk all that much, though I'm sure he babbles. Nine months is still a baby. Really don't force the sleeping issue yet or you'll just make more trouble for yourself. Some babies just need more help getting to sleep than others for awhile longer than others. I really wouldn't make sleep an issue so young. When he's a bit older, sure, but right now, he's still a tiny baby.
posted by zizzle at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing is, and I think this is what k8t was getting at, is that no matter how hard you try, travel is always disruptive of routines. As much as you may want to stick to keeping things Exactly As At Home, the fact is that they aren't, and your son will know it. For a vacation, don't fight it. It isn't backsliding on sleep training to do things slightly differently when you travel, because replication of the home environment is simply not possible. To getting your son to sleep by Whatever Means Necessary while you are on vacation isn't going to have ramifications for January. It's temporary.

He will learn to sleep on his own. Eventually. For your own sanity, however, don't worry about it while you are away from home. Just suspend your expectations while you are away from home. Enjoy your vacation, and resume the routines when you return home.
posted by ambrosia at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would start using the pack and play now, with a blanket that's very distinctive - my son has this fake fur like throw that's unmistakeable even in the dark. If he sleeps on top of something like that for naps and night time til vacation, having it on vacation may help make any surface that he's put down to sleep on his bed automatically in his mind.
posted by lemniskate at 11:37 AM on July 18, 2010


We used the peapod. First trip with it we was when baby was around 9 months. We had to get her to fall asleep first (usually just by holding her and rocking/walking around), and then put her in the peapod, then she was okay.


She had pack and plays at both grandparents, and sometimes she sleeps fine in there, and sometimes she doesn't. No idea why.

She has a crib at daycare - she sleeps terrible there, I assume because there's other fun things going on.

Sometimes, in all those places, she napped in bed with us.

For next month, naps in the car/stroller/on your lap are probably okay. By January, trust me, everything will be 100% different - no way to know in what way, but by then the kid might be on one nap a day, or who knows what.

He will sleep, because he'll be exhausted. We find that when traveling that's really the key -- wait until they're more tired than usual. (For some babies that isn't going to work at all - for some, overtired = disaster).

Here's what I recommend most: don't stress out about it, because in my experience that's the best way to ensure no one sleeps at all.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You might consider an arm's reach co-sleeper. They collapse pretty small and so are relatively portable. Although depending on how big your baby is, it might be too small.

(A little off topic, we've had very good luck implementing some of Dr. Weissbluth's approaches. Just in case the Ferber approach doesn't work for you.)
posted by miss tea at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2010


Wait... This is in January? You're going to be in a completely different place sleep-wise.
posted by k8t at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2010


Miss Tea - no Arm's Reach past 4 months.
posted by k8t at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2010


PS, you're Ferberizing a 3 month old?
posted by k8t at 12:03 PM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, thanks. Sorry, my bad. I thought the larger size was OK until 10 or 11.
posted by miss tea at 12:17 PM on July 18, 2010


months that is...I am feeding my baby and typing at the same time, never a good idea...
posted by miss tea at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2010


So our son will be nine months old when we vacation next month.

In August... so where does July vs. January fit in? Are you going back in January? Baby will be 14 months then, right? So the approach may be different and he may be sleeping fine by then. Some clarification is needed, I think, because the question vs. follow-up is confusing.
posted by desjardins at 12:35 PM on July 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


The thing is, and I think this is what k8t was getting at, is that no matter how hard you try, travel is always disruptive of routines. As much as you may want to stick to keeping things Exactly As At Home, the fact is that they aren't, and your son will know it.

By this token, maybe he'll sleep better on vacation.
posted by rhizome at 12:41 PM on July 18, 2010


I should add, Baby Zizzle consistently takes two naps on vacation while he only takes one with us on weekends. I think the excitement and novelty of a different place wears him out more than his regular routine.
posted by zizzle at 12:53 PM on July 18, 2010


Yeah, my toddler always sleeps better on vacation because of all the activity.

Personally, all of us sleeping trumps a lot of other stuff. For us this means having kiddo in the bed with us, creating strong routines to let him know that bed is coming soon (PJs, books).

Since 14 months or so he says 'night-night' when he is tired, walks to the bedroom (or naproom at daycare) and if we aren't fast enough 'BYE BYE DADDY BYE BYE MOMMY.' This works no matter where we are. (We travel a lot.)

This is with 0 sleep training. Our sleep trained friends aren't able to travel as easily, need to create this 'perfect' setup to get kids to sleep, even now that they're nearly 2. YMMV.
posted by k8t at 1:03 PM on July 18, 2010


k8t, creating strong routines for bed IS sleep training.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:18 PM on July 18, 2010


what k8t said about sleep training sometimes resulting in less flexibility is also our experience. Our baby will sleep anywhere when she's tired - cars, strollers, floors, cribs, in your arms, in a sling, whereever. Certainly do what works for you, but you might want to keep that in mind if you travel a lot - we are constantly car traveling - soon to take a second plane trip - and I'm glad she's a flexible sleeper, even though it meant she didn't sleep all the way through the night consistently until after 11 months.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:24 PM on July 18, 2010


EMcG - ok, but not training in the formal sense with crying it out, special blankeys, very specific routines, counting down... I guess I'm distancing myself from the 'he falls asleep on the floor in his clothes and we carry him to the couch' end of no sleep training. We just do PJs and books when he says night-night and that can vary from 645-830 any given night.
posted by k8t at 1:26 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bet he doesn't walk and he probably doesn't talk all that much, though I'm sure he babbles.

He's cruising (Holding onto furniture and walking around). And he babbles all the time and says mama and dada. And if you were going through what my wife was going through you'd make it an issue. He was waking up hourly at night to nurse. Hourly. Not exaggerating.
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:28 PM on July 18, 2010


I do apologize if I confused, I'm not really worried about what method to use. I need to know what people did when they went on vacation.
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:29 PM on July 18, 2010


I only mentioned January because of the "Car seat or stroller induced naps aren't the end of the world" quote. Nothing to do with my original question. Sorry. Communication is hard.
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2010


We took a pack and play.
posted by leahwrenn at 3:02 PM on July 18, 2010


Okay - you're going on vacation next month and your kid is currently 8 months old.

IMHO don't detract from your vacation bliss by worrying about baby's sleep.

- for the duration of the vacation, be okay with stroller/carseat-induced naps or in your arms if you must.

- consider that all the vacation activity may put waitingtoderail Jr. down easier.

- it may be easiest/cheapest to have waitingtoderail Jr. sleep in a bed or the floor with pillows along the sides but a PeaPod or Pack 'N' Play would be "safer" although harder to transition kiddo from your arms/carseat/stroller into.
posted by k8t at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2010


PS, waitingtoderail, many, if not MOST 8 month olds wake numerous times a night to nurse. Every hour isn't odd or surprising at all. (And this too shall pass.) (And I strongly recommend the No-Cry Sleep Solution for some general thoughts on baby sleeping.)
posted by k8t at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2010


Well, he doesn't wake up (most nights) anymore. Sleeps eight hours. There are occassional wake-ups, but maybe once or twice a week and he goes back down quickly. It sounds like the Peapod maybe the way to go. Thanks everyone.
posted by waitingtoderail at 3:26 PM on July 18, 2010


Dude, do not presume to know what I have gone through with Baby Zizzle, but if you want to know, look up my history or MeMail me.
posted by zizzle at 3:36 PM on July 18, 2010


many, if not MOST 8 month olds wake numerous times a night to nurse.

Uhh, no. At eight months the kid is way past any nutritional need to nurse and should be sleeping through the night. Once an hour is a clear indication of a night waking problem and has nothing to do with being hungry. The lack of consolidated sleep at this age is detrimental to the child. (This kind of thinking is one of many problems with medically unsound books like No Cry Sleep Solutions.)

Also, nthing the pack n'play idea, and OP shouldn't stress the break in routine too much. Baby will get over it. When you get home get right back to your bedtime routine and be extra consistent for a week.
posted by werkzeuger at 5:12 PM on July 18, 2010


You've given some "best answers" already, so it seems like you have a plan in place. I just wanted to mention that we used pack-n-plays, along with crib tents (like this, but made specifically for a pack-n-play), and found them to be really helpful. The kids liked them, too. Good luck with it.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:01 PM on July 18, 2010


A friend of mine's mother always puts the babies/toddlers in their reclining strollers on the screen porch on vacation ... the fresh air zonks them right out. She even sets up a pack and play out there for better naps. So that's another option for an outdoorsy vacation, for naps at least.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:13 PM on July 18, 2010


Thanks everyone. Zizzle, I'm sorry if I offended, it was not my intent at all. My communication skills have apparently disappeared entirely.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:25 PM on July 18, 2010


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