Are you travelling international and worrying about how your baby is going to adjust to the new time zone? Nervous about handling the baby’s jet lag along with yours?
Well I am not going to lie to you. It’s tough but with practice you will get there. And hey! Go easy on yourself because you are bound to make a few mistakes here and there.
We have travelled with our toddler to six different time zones before he turned 3 years old. I have tried so many things to manage the jet lag situation that I can finally say that we have figured out our jet lag survival system.
1Do not force nap during the flight
This one comes out of my experience from our first international trip with our little one. I am sure if any of our co-passengers are reading this, they will surely remember. Our flight was at midnight and we assumed that our baby would doze off once he gets comfortable. And why not? After all we had been practising sleeping with dim light and low noise for a month at home to prepare ourselves.In addition we had also read up all kinds of books and guides to equip us with all the tips and tricks of the trade. But God! were we in for a surprise! Our baby was so excited in the flight that he became all chatty at 1 am in the morning and there was just abundance of cute baby noises. On trying to make him sleep, he wanted to get out of the plane right away. It took almost an hour of walking up and down the aisle for him to settle down and our co-passengers were thankfully all very understanding. On our flight back, when our baby got all excited, we just let him talk and tire out. He slept like a baby after half an hour 🙂
So here is my advise, do not under any circumstance force your baby or toddler to nap if they do not want to. You can carry some toys or books to keep them engaged and happy.
2Plan for your VISA
It’s always better to get a visa processed beforehand, if possible. If you are planning for Visa on Arrival, do have a game plan. Why do I say this? Imagine yourself jet lagged, looking out for your luggage, managing a baby while trying to complete the visa forms. You guessed it! Crazy right?
Unfortunately not all countries have a separate and faster ‘Visa on Arrival’ queue for families travelling with kids. Incase of Visa on Arrival, we generally get our Visa documentation ready at home or on the flight to avoid spending extra time in the airport.
3Take the first day off
Don’t plan anything major for the first day. Also if possible, book a nearby hotel so that your child does not have to undergo a long journey after an exhausting flight.
The first day is generally easier for babies as they nap many times a day. Toddlers tend to understand the time difference more. My advise is to let them sleep for sometime after the journey to rest and recover before switching on to the new timezone. We generally take a power nap along with our baby to ensure we are well rested for what’s coming our way.
4Eat food and stay hydrated
The first day, we generally eat as per our old schedule and start the transitioning process the next day. A hungry and exhausted baby is never a good idea. Be sure though not to indulge into sweets as that can affect the sleep schedule even more. For babies, it’s best if you feed on demand.
5Go out in the sun
The best way to tell your body to change it’s clock is to expose it to sun. With sunlight, the body adapts faster to the new routine and it increases the production of sleep hormones. Indulging in some outdoor activities with your kid will also help them get exercise and tire. If they wake up in the middle of the night try to keep them in the bed without switching on the lights. I know this is a tough one.
6Be Patient and Relax
Most importantly, do not feel guilty and remember that it’s just matter of time before your baby gets back to the new routine. Be patient with yourself and those around you and try doing something that relaxes you when you have time. If you fret, remind yourself you are on a holiday and slow down. You will live to tell this story.
Please note every child deals differently with a situation so if something does not work with your child please do not force it.
Do you have some Jet Lag tips? Tell us how else can we help you to have a soul travel with your little one….
Looking for more tips on how to prepare for your first flight with a baby. Check out this blog