While in the planning stages of the trip, parents would be wise to consider how the baby might sleep on the journey. Since it is often; how well the baby has slept and what type of mood he is in that can dictate the terms of the day. Many parents are right in thinking plenty of fresh air from the great outdoors can help to tire the little ones out, but for some babies sleep is the last thing on their agenda.
Getting Baby to Sleep or Nap in the Campervan
The average 9 month old baby may sleep 11-12 hours a night and also need a couple of naps (1-2 hours each) during the day. Keep sleep routines consistent to that at home as much as possible, for example, bath, story and then bed. If a familiar comfort object such as a blanket or toy is normally used, this can make the transition easier. Decide in advance where will baby sleep on the vacation.
For many babies, the daytime naps can be more ad-hoc and less structured, governed by when the baby appears tired. The baby may sleep while secured safely in their infant car seat as the parents drive. This works well for many babies, but plenty of rest stops will be required throughout the journey for baby to feed, change, stretch, cuddle and play.
Baby may also sleep well during rest breaks or sight-seeing while being carried on his parents in a baby carrier or sling. Strollers or prams may also offer this function but may not be so practical in terms of the amount of room taken up in the vehicle and the destination may not have great access (steps, uneven paths or hills).
Note that baby may be quite tired from the travel during the day, his naps may have been disturbed, or perhaps they didn’t occur at all. Baby could be overtired or stimulated from all the new experiences. All this plus being in an unfamiliar environment can make it even more challenging for baby to sleep at night.
Baby Waking at Night on the RV Vacation
Parents should expect some night waking from their baby. Even if he normally sleeps through the night at home, he is likely to be aware of different surroundings and may wake crying, unsure of where he is or why. Parents can quickly reassure baby, let him know he is safe and it is still sleep time. Consistency and responding in a timely way will give baby the security he craves.
As with any vacation, planning is key and this is especially important when travelling with young children. Sleep is often a challenge for even babies with the best temperament and more so while in a different environment. Keeping routines consistent and familiar objects close to hand will go along way towards keeping familiarity and comfort for baby. A happy, well rested baby leads to an enjoyable family RV vacation.