Whenever we travel the first thing I do is try to organize her sleeping space hoping that this will encourage peaceful sleep for her and thus, in the end, for us. I try to work on the following principles:
- Darkened Room Most children need a dark room to sleep in (melatonin starts being produced as it gets dark). Consider a dim night light to ensure that it is not completely black if your child is afraid of the dark.
- Relaxing Sleep Environment. The crib or bed should be calming and soothing, avoid mobiles and large colorful stuffed toys as these can be very stimulating.
- If there is too much noise in the area consider using a white noise machine, fan or nature sounds.
- The temperature should be comfortable - neither too hot nor too cold. (The American Academy of Pediatrics used to provide specific temperature guidelines, but now just warns parents of infants to avoid allowing their children to get too warm as this is a risk for SIDS, see this article). Can you sleep when it is too hot?
- Lovey. Once your child has reached 6 months old you can introduce a lovey/blankey to her.
We moved to the country so there is not much extraneous noise and no siblings running around. We have heating and cooling for moderating the temperature, our problem, is light. Bella's room here is large and full of light, we all love it - except at bed time. It is the middle of summer here and the sun shines directly into her bedroom until about 9pm. The current shades are lovely but not effective at blocking light. Who wants to fall asleep with all that light? Not me and certainly not Baby Bel!
As soon as we realized there was a problem: "Mommy it's too bright, I can't sleep." on day 3 of being in the house., the realization hit that we needed something temporary; in a hurry. We had used Redi Shade black out shades for up to a year in one of our apartments (they do have other options but these are the most cost effective, temporary AND available from one of those national hardware chains). I ran out and got them and we now have success! 1 week of falling asleep within 20 minutes. Long may this continue!