Traveling with Baby : Adapting to a different time zone

There are different approaches to help our little ones adapting to different time zones after a long travel. It can take about one day per time zone changed for the body clock to adjust, so how far and how long you are traveling for can be determinant when choosing what to do.





If you are traveling east, you will likely experience more difficulties depending on how many time zones away from the original one, you’ll be going. Let’s say you are traveling from Los Angeles to Brazil. You will be “losing” 4 hours of your day (during daylight savings). In the beginning, this will impact your circadian rhythm which regulates sleep, meals and bowel movement. When traveling west, usually considered easier to adapt, you are gaining hours in your day.


So let’s get back the the example of traveling to Brazil, if you are staying for a month and baby sleeps at 7:30pm when in LA. That means that in Brazil, his bedtime (related to his body clock) would be 11:30 pm when you arrive. You can either keep it this way, and when you are back baby will continue to fall asleep at around the same time (7:30 pm), or you can move bed time earlier but not as earlier as in LA. Why? Because once you are back, if baby falls asleep at 7:30pm in Brazil, in LA this would mean 3:30pm. Instead, you can adapt bedtime to maybe 9:30 pm while in Brazil which means 5:30 pm is LA and once you are back home, you’ll only need a couple of days to push bedtime back to 7:30 pm.


Basically if you will be traveling for a short period of time, maybe less than a couple of weeks, crossing two time zones for example, keep baby on the same rhythms. This make things easier once you're back.

Be ready to be flexible! Traveling with little ones is not easy, and I believe we have unrealistic expectations from ourselves and our children…Letting go of the perfect travel can be freeing!


Also, try to expose yourself and baby to lots of natural light during the day waking baby up at around the same time in the morning during the adaptation period.


I hope this helps!

Sources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-adjust-to-a-new-time-zone-and-avoid-jet-lag-3014936

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-travel

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/travel-and-sleep/jet-lag

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I love writing about Sleep, Parenting, Infants & Toddlers and Motherhood. I hope you feel safe, seen and respected here in this space.

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