Should You Let Your Baby Sleep Off Jet Lag?

by Mishal Ali Zafar

Going on a family vacation can be an amazing, memorable experience. But if you are traveling to lands far away with your little ones in tow, the long flights and excess luggage can become taxing. Once you reach your destination, you face the challenge of overcoming jet lag fatigue. When traveling with your baby, you may be curious as to how do deal with the time change and schedule and wonder, "Should I let my baby sleep off jet lag?"

Romper reached out to Christine Stevens, a Certified Sleep Coach and founder of Sleepy Tots Consulting, who says that when dealing with jet lag, you should give your child the opportunity to sleep as much as they want for the first few days when you get to the new time zone. "Expect that baby will probably be awake at odd hours," says Stevens, "but they're just on the schedule they are used to."

After the first few days in the new time zone, Stevens says that you can gradually start to shift your baby’s sleep schedule, including nap times. She suggests adjusting sleep schedules by 15 to 30 minute increments for infants, and 30 to 60 minutes for toddlers and older children.

Stevens notes that depending on the age of your baby, and the number of time zones you’ve crossed, your baby may begin to adjust their sleep schedule on their own. She adds that the more time zones you cross, the longer it will take for your baby to adjust to the new schedule. You can even try to help along the process by exposing your baby to daylight. "When it's daytime, get outside to see the sun," suggests Stevens. "It will help to adjust everyone's circadian rhythm."

It’s also a good idea to watch for your child's sleepy cues, advises Stevens, and get them to bed before they become overtired. She says it may take up to two weeks for your child to adjust to the new time zone, and you will have to go through the reverse when you get back home.

"Parents are probably just as tired as baby and should get a little extra sleep, too," she adds. It’s important for you and your family to be well rested, so you can truly enjoy every moment of your vacation, even if it means uprooting your normal sleep schedules.