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Traveling With Baby and Preserving the Routine
Earlier this month we went on a 5 night trip up north for Spring break. The two older kids haven’t napped in years and can survive off an adjusted sleep schedule for a few days with no real repercussions, but the baby is a different story. He needs his sleep, and so do we! Read on to see how we managed to vacation with all three while preserving somewhat of a routine for baby Hayden, but making sure the older kids didn’t feel cheated out of any vacation fun.
Hayden, at 7 months old, is currently on a 2 nap schedule, sometimes with a 3rd little cat nap if his earlier nap wasn’t very long. So the first thing we did was schedule our days so that we could always have him home in his pack and play for at least 1 nap, so he could get a solid sound sleep. Babies never seem to nap as well when out and about.
Most days we were lazy and got a late start, allowing him to take his morning nap at home, and then left for an outing right before lunch time. The big kids felt like it was a true vacation this way, by staying in their pajamas for most of the morning, and just playing or watching a movie. They never felt like they were being cheated out of “adventure” time, when we presented it as be “lazy” time. They appreciated the break from the hectic morning school routine.
For the next nap we usually had him go to sleep in the baby carrier or the car seat while we were out on an adventure. The picture above was taken the day we drove into Solvang and spent the day having lunch, riding a surrey, and walking around the town. He slept for almost 2 hours in that thing, but even if he would have only slept for 45 minutes, a short nap was better than no nap.
Lastly, each night we were back at the house for his normal bedtime routine by 7 pm. Luckily we were vacationing in a very small town that didn’t stay up late anyhow, so it worked out fine. Had we been at an amusement park or somewhere that we would have wanted to stay out late for, this would have been a bit more tricky to manage, but for the most part everyone was happy to settle in for an early night. We would put Hayden to bed at his normal bed time and then let the big kids stay up late either playing a game with us, watching a movie or roasting s’mores. So again, they didn’t feel cheated out of any vacation fun because we set aside special time with them after baby went to sleep.
I’m sure not all our vacations will be as slow paced as this one, but for the stage in life we’re at with a young baby, this slower vacation experience which allowed us to cater to baby a bit, was just perfect. I think we’ll be taking the mellow vacation route for at least another year.