baby jet lag
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Dealing With Baby Jet Lag and Adjusting Fast To A New Time Zone | Parenthood4ever

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Have you decided on your first family vacation together with your baby? Does it involve travelling with toddlers on long haul flights and a possible jet lag? Not to worry! Baby jet lags are not scary at all and can be managed perfectly well.

Let me share with you our family’s experience mixed with practical tips on the jet lag in babies, toddlers, and kids and help your baby adapt quickly to the new environment, adjust to a new time zone and overcome jet lag in just three to five days.

What is jet lag?

First of all, jet lag isn’t magic. Your body needs some time to adapt to a new time zone regardless if you are a child or an adult. Recovering from jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed while traveling. In general, the body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, the body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days. Secondly, it is important to know that jet lag is temporary, so the prognosis is excellent, and most people will recover within a few days.

In our case, we have moved from London to Mexico City. This is exactly six time zones to cross and to be honest, it took my little nug and us three days to accommodate a new reality. To understand how much you will be jet-lagged on a trip, I used one of the Jet Lag Calculators.

Honestly, weird exhaustion and constant sleepiness were main factors. I used to fall asleep at 7 pm, while my hubs made it up to 5 pm. The kid used to wake up at 3:30 am for the first two days, and I had to pass the time with him intentionally breastfeeding just to win a couple of minutes of precious sleep time.

How to help my baby with jet lag?

1. Take it easy

Don’t jump into 100 activities right from the start. It is always better to follow the golden rule of “one activity per day”. And of course, it is highly recommended to accommodate yourself first, take a shower, get some naps, eat some food and possibly just take a rest for the day near the pool or a nearby area at the place you have stayed.

Our activities were down to reaching our accommodation rented for three months; unpacking; taking showers and a long 2-hour nap; doing some groceries for the next few days; cooking and resting as much as possible.

2. Don’t insist on food

For me, food and sleep were always a so-called recipe to success for baby’s health and development. Although with a baby jet lag it is hard to achieve. Babies do usually get real fussy with the food until they recover from the long-distance flight. Try to offer a variety of “morsels” every hour, and let them have whatever they want. However, I would offer food your baby normally eats or should eat, such as meat, fish, vegetables, grains, and fruit, etc.

We didn’t change Teo’s diet. In general, being a fussy eater, we were challenged again dealing with sweeping the floor, catching thrown-away food and nicely receiving one coming back from his mouth. I must say, Teo gets his portion of breast milk too, so it also makes a difference, however, my trick was to keep offering food until the little denier felt hunger.

3. Let him sleep as much as he needs slowly coordinating the time

It is no problem if your baby falls asleep way too early or too late. Just let it happen, especially in the first two days. But try to wake him up during the day if needed to let him go to bed at a preferable hour.

Our flight departed at 22:30 LDN and landed at 3:40 MX (t.i. 9:40 LDN). Logically, he was knocked off by 5:30 MX. Then we all fell asleep by 9:00 for the next two hours. He used to go to bed as always – at 18:00. The next day he woke up at 3:30 and had two siestas (naps) at 7:00 and 13:00. The third day he woke up by 5:00 and rested at 10:00 and 13:30.

The whole point was to order his usual routine accommodating to a new time zone, which in my case, meant to wake him up during second siestas (if it was necessary) to be able to put him for the night sleep by 18:00.

4. Stay close to your baby

Every baby is different. It might happen that your little one doesn’t feel safe or reassured. It is always a great idea to pay close attention, play and just be as close as possible. Important: Check our family’s best selection of toys and traveling items for kids, including KIDS TRAVEL ENTERTAINMENT!

We got lucky as our dad had the whole week before starting his new job. So, Teo had 300% of our attention and family bonding. The amount he sat on daddy’s shoulders exceeded the total amount in the next three months. What can I say? Happy kid – happy parents!

How to adjust to a new time zone?

1. Start preparing beforehand

It is a good idea to start slightly adjusting your baby’s time a few days before the actual flight. Depending on where you go, you can introduce a later or earlier bedtime and coordinate his naps accordingly. The same goes for morning wake-ups. The baby’s body will feel then less extreme with changes.

2. Choosing a flight to reduce jet lag

I have traveled with my son during the night. This way I was sure we are all getting some sleep. It is recommended to book the flight when your baby normally falls asleep, even if it is a short one. During the long one, you can request your airline to provide you with the travel bassinet (under 12kg) for free. All information on reserving airplane bassinet and what some airlines hide from us is here.

Make sure you are not only watching movies feeling excited to rest while your baby is asleep but getting as much sleep as possible too.

3. Let your baby adjust to a new situation gradually

Your bodies will require you some time for adjustment regardless of your age. As your baby is tired, you will feel tired too. It might take you a few days until you will get back to normal, it all depends on how many time zones you have crossed. Don’t force your family into activities, just enjoy your time and rest as much as possible.

Try to coordinate your baby’s naps and let him stay awake a bit longer if needed by keeping him active outdoors. One of the best tricks is lots of sunlight. Keep your baby busy during daylight hours or dim all the lights and talk very softly when it is time to sleep. Also, taking a hot bath, reading a book or singing a lullaby comes to be very helpful. All you should know about giving a bath to your little nug is listed here in detail.

4. Reassure your baby

As your baby is going to face a whole new environment, it is always good to bring some of his favorite toys, blanket, toothbrush, or things he uses on a daily basis, so he would feel more comfortable. Check out our family’s best selection of baby essentials here.

5. Use the time to sleep when he sleeps

Not too much to add to this one. The rule is just similar to the one when your baby was born. Since jet lag is inevitable for you too, make sure you use your “time off” wisely.

6. Wake up when he wakes up but be in control of your time

During the first three to five days your baby might surprise you with very early wake-ups. Well, nothing much can be done here, it is a part of his body adjustment. However, you always can think of few tricks to help him sleep slightly longer, such as staying in bed longer with the light off (here in Mexico it is totally dark at 6:00 am, so it works just fine to show our son that it is still time to rest) and talk softly.

No matter what, just keep in mind that jet lag is 100% temporary state.

Have a safe flight and enjoy your journey!

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  1. Thank you, Shaiful! I am glad it helped.

  2. When I decided to take a trip to Portugal with my 10-week-old,  I knew all the horror stories of traveling with a baby. If I believed all the horror stories, he was inevitably going to scream through the whole flight, my husband and I would have to limit our sightseeing and I’d have to breastfeed in some strange places and get some strange reactions. Amazingly, none of that happened, though there was a feeding session in a castle, but that was actually pretty cool. The hardest part of vacationing overseas with a newborn? The jet lag.

    1. Hi Kathy! I totally agree, this is why I decided to share with this article. The jet lag is truly something you can’t avoid whether you are a baby or an adult, but get a good rest and enjoy your flight is absolutely doable. We never had problems during the flights and it is sad there are so many horror stories out there, not motivating at all. Did any of our tips help you? And hey, we are going to visit Portugal this Christmas for 2 weeks. So exciting! Did you enjoy Portugal?

  3. Thanks for sharing.I really appreciate it that you shared with us such informative post,great tips and very easy to understand.

    1. Thanks, Robert! I am glad it helps to so many parents and they are motivated to fly more with their babies.

  4. […] How to survive long haul flights with a baby.How to help my baby with jet lag. […]

  5. […] How to help my baby with jet lag and adjust to a new time zone. […]

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  7. […] How to adjust to a new time zone? · 1. Start preparing beforehand · 2. Choosing a flight to reduce jet lag · 3. Let your baby adjust to a new situation gradually. read more […]

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