Jetlag in babies and how to cope
There are different philosophies around jetlag management in babies (as with everything in parenting 🙄!)
I am of the school of thought to immediately try to adjust to the new time zone and not think too much about ‘home time zone’. So here are some tips how to make jetlag easier on your baby:
- Eat and sleep in line with the time zones of your destination as soon as you land. Of course keep an eye on those awake windows but you won’t need to stick to them as strictly as you would at home so you can try and gently push baby into the new time zone. It will likely happen that baby falls asleep in random places like e.g. in the baby chair while eating. That’s ok!
- Daylight and outdoor time are amazing remedies for jetlag and can help you push sleep boundaries a little bit.
- Use blackout curtains if needed in countries where it’s light for long hours in evening (think Europe in summer!) so you can create a dark environment. Darkness helps with the natural production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Food: make sure you get lots of calories into baby during the day. We don’t want baby waking because they’re hungry!
- Stick to normal nap and bedtime routines. Routines are crucial to tell baby it’s time to sleep and predictability is wonderful for babies and toddlers of all ages. Is it bath, bottle, book and bed at home? Stick to the same routine when away.
- Don’t forget to eat and sleep yourself too! Hydrate, especially if you are a breastfeeding mother.
Be gracious with yourself and your baby. We usually say it takes 1 day of jetlag for every hour of time difference.