So you have survived the flight and made it to your destination, however, now you have jet lag to tackle. We think it's great that you're an active parent bringing your baby away with you and letting them see the world from a young age! To help you out, we've compiled a list of handy strategies to minimise sleep disruption.
What happens when little ones get jet lag?
When it comes to babies, the reality of jet lag is that it is all the more intense for them, as they cannot adapt to a new time zone with ease. As an adult, travelling across time zones, you can trick your body into staying awake and force yourself onto local time. Babies are not able to do this of course, so they might be up from around 11pm-4am locally, if back home it's still day-time! Expect jet lag to be in full swing if you're travelling internationally, he'll be up and rearing to go, no matter how little sleep he's had. Body clocks are impossible to ignore at their age! So the first tip is, don't force them into it, follow our guide below on how to overcome this sleepless period.
How to solve baby jet lag:
1. Build in a stop-over
If your schedule allows it, build in a stopover and stay a night or two before continuing. Breaking up an ultra-long-haul flight half way can make the journey much more bearable for everyone, plus it gives your body more time to adapt.
2. Stay hydrated
Keep hydrated before and during and after the flight. Make sure both and you baby drink lots of water, as the more dehydrated your baby becomes en route, the tougher the jet lag will be. The same applies to you, so every hour you’re in the air, try to toss back 6 – 8 oz of goodl old H20.
3. Stretch their legs
Stretch your legs during the flight and let your little one crawl or toddle around as much as you can throughout the flight. Any movement will help keep his/and your blood flowing and help their little bodies to feel a little less cramped and tight, causing discomfort.
4. Fresh air
Whilst away, try and be outside as much as possible. Fresh air, light exercise and daylight all help to re-set your body clock, which is key for your little one.
5. Establish a new routine
Immediately establish a new routine based on the new time zone. If you are breastfeeding, a new time zone can temporarily impact your supply – so try and eat & drink even if you don't feel like it. If you can, avoid caffeine after 2pm, particularly if you are breastfeeding, this will help level out both you and your baby's sleep cycle whilst away.
6. Consume calories during the day
Encourage your little one to consume most calories during the day, whether that's through multiple breast feeds or solids. This will help to avoid them waking up in the night due to hunger and make them sleep more deeply.
7. No napping!
Avoid long naps during the day, however tempting they are! This applies to both you and your baby, as the trick is to convince your body to be upright and active during the hours of daylight. If your baby is exhausted from being up all night, have him nap in the morning so that the day still stretches ahead of you.
8. Take turns doing the night shift
Make sure you take turns during the night shift whilst your away. It’s inevitable that someone will be up during the night, but by taking shifts with your partner, you will both get enough sleep to power through the next day.
9. Minimal lighting at night
Use minimal lighting at night. Even if you are all wide wake, still keep the lights down low as this helps to further deceive the body clock. Play quiet games too, rather than anything active, stick to puzzles, storybooks, sticker books, etc.
10. Light snacks to help them sleep
Give a light snack to your baby if you feel it is needed at night. A bowl of warm porridge, milk or food high in magnesium such as bananas will help make her feel sleepier and more likely to nod off...
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