How to get a baby to cope with new time zones?
May 24, 2008 2:44 AM   Subscribe

How should I reconcile my baby's happy, working sleep schedule with our upcoming international travel?

I will be flying to the States (from Australia) in six weeks with my eight month old son. He's been sleeping brilliantly thanks to a routine practically since birth, but I'm afraid all that all sleep tranquility will be lost when we hit a time zone not at all similar to the one we are dwelling in.

Any tips? Should I start changing up his routine now? Once in the States, should I keep him awake during daylight hours and try to get him to sleep at night, or just let him do what his body dictates? Either way, I predict the two weeks we are away to be without adequate sleep for myself, but my main priority is for him to return to Australia and be able to settle at the times he is used to.

He is currently going to bed at 7pm, I wake him for a feed at 9:30pm, then he sleeps through 'til about 7am without waking (or more realistically, waking then re-settling himself without fuss). He doesn't have any sleep cues like a pacifier/dummy or toys, and is generally able to sleep anywhere as long as I take him through his feed-bath-cuddle-feed routine before putting him down.

I should also mention that we will be in the East and West coast time zones, and in Colorado in between.
posted by lottie to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have taken all of my children on international travels when they were very babies (US to Europe and back many times and a few longer trips US to China and back) and they were remarkably adaptable to the time change. For all three, there was really not much by way of transition beyond what we the parents were doing - they all slept on the plane, mostly continued to sleep if it was night when we arrived or were awake if it was day when we arrived. The night arrivals were a bit more disruptive (up once or twice the first night) but that didn't last. We didn't do anything in particular to prepare them, just kept their normal schedules/routines before and after the travel. One thing I did do, is make sure that we all got outside into the sun for the first few days - exposure to sunlight helps the internal clock reset. have a wonderful trip!
posted by bluesky43 at 5:03 AM on May 24, 2008

One thing my brother swears works, and he travels with baby (and wife) from Hong Kong to San Francisco and back multiple times each year is a rigorous sleep schedule for the whole family. If baby is awake on the plane, they will each try to stay awake and alert for the entirety of that period until the baby nods off, then it's carte blanche to drop the seat into a bed and sleep. My brother also has a CD of me, a deep-voiced broadcaster, reading Robert's Rules of Order unrehearsed. My brother says it's the best sleep aid for children he's ever found.
posted by parmanparman at 6:29 AM on May 24, 2008 [3 favorites]

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