Sleep Training After Crossing 5000 time zones
So we just flew from Mississippi to Singapore (about 26 hours total travel time, about 22.5 hours flight time) with our sleep trained almost 6 month old and guess what, WE MADE IT. (More on that in another post!) I honestly don't know how many time zones we actually crossed, but it was a LOT.
This is day 5 of touching down, with a 14 hour time difference from Mississippi and she's already pretty much adjusted to schedule here and is almost completely back to her sleep training.
Anyway, before we left, I tried to do some research on sleep training, jet lag and what the heck to expect! There wasn't a ton of advice out there so I wanted to share my experience. This is purely based on personal experience and every baby is different, but hopefully this will help with forming your OWN plan on what to do.
Guys, it CAN be done and it will all be fine and don't worry yourself to death like I did.
First Day + Night
The most important step we took was we started her back on her regular day schedule the very first day we got back. This was hard cos she was sleepy all day but we tried our very best to keep her awake and put her down during the usual nap times. Being on the plane meant that there was a lot of rocking and holding for the entire duration, so she did want that when we touched down.
For the first day we got to Singapore, we did whatever we needed to get her to sleep during her scheduled times, so rocking her, holding her. We would put her down once she was asleep and she would stay that way, largely due to the fact that she had been trained a month prior to us leaving.
Naps weren't the best at all. Getting it super dark in the room for naps was key. Her first two naps back, the room was really bright cos we hadn't figured out how to get it dark and she screamed practically the whole time. Definitely buy one of those blackout things you can stick on windows from Amazon! I think a lot of it also had to do with adjusting to a new place, and when it was really bright, she could see she wasn't at home and that made everything worse, even though we had the same crib at our destination and brought her bumper and sheet.
Since we're staying here for 5 weeks, that is the one advantage we have, but if you're on vacation, I highly recommend getting baby to sleep in whatever is closest to their environment during travel (pack n play, etc) a few days before leaving! That first night, she didn't sleep well, as expected and woke up about 2-3 times.
Second Day + Night
The second day, I could see she was starting to be back on schedule, but we still continued with just getting her to sleep during the scheduled times. That night, she went to bed at 730am, slept a 6 hour stretch, then fed, then cried once where we rocked her back to sleep, then slept till 630am. We were so thankful.
Third Day + Night
Third day, we could tell she was almost completely adjusted, so we did just about 1 minute of holding and rocking until she closed her eyes and then put her down. She would still cry but only for about 5-10mins and then put herself to sleep. She's generally a "crier" and does this at every nap and bedtime, even at home in her own crib. Third night, Did our bedtime routine and put her down drowsy. She cried for less than 10 mins and went to sleep. She did cry out a number of times through the night (teething), but was able to put herself back to sleep quickly without any intervention, woke up at 1am for a feeding and then slept till 7am.
Sleep Props or Not?
I struggled with this a ton - do we just try and get her to sleep? Or do we start training immediately??
My ultimate decision was I didn't go full on sleep re/training the minute we got here, because I knew if I was feeling this bad being jet lagged, that she was feeling the same and I didn't want to over do things. After all she is just a baby and this is a very special circumstance that's hard for even adults to deal with!
I did worry a ton about whether we had just "undone" all the training that we did and after these three days, I know now that we haven't! A great way to judge how she's feeling in terms of jet lag is to just assess how you're feeling yourself. My husband and her would get extra sleepy in the day at the same time, haha!
- Nothing will be undone, babies are adaptable and even if you have to retrain, don't stress, it's all going to be fine.
- Use your judgement on how your baby is feeling. She/he may need some extra help with sleep just because they've gone through a TON trying to get to your destination. No need to be a hard ass from the beginning, no one is going to judge you either way! Listen to your baby and your mama instincts.
- Getting her on her regular daytime schedule the minute you can is KEY to getting your baby adjusted.
Anyway, just wanted to put this out there for all moms and dads looking for some advice on this! You'll make it guys!!