Jet Lag is something every parent has experienced at least once. Whether traveling by air or driving long distances, parents who travel frequently find themselves dealing with their baby’s sleep schedule being thrown off due to changes in time zones.
Ways to Deal With Babies With Jet Lag
Here are 5 ways to cope with jet lag while still keeping your child happy and healthy during these times.
The best way to avoid the effects of jet lag on a young infant is to plan ahead for when you will be flying. If possible, try not to fly within 24 hours of bedtime. This can help keep your little one from getting too tired before they arrive at their destination. It also helps if you have an early flight so that you get some extra rest prior to arriving home.
Keep Your Baby Active
Keeping your baby active throughout the day may prevent them from feeling sleepy later on. Try taking walks around the airport terminal or shopping mall where there are lots of people moving about. You could even take turns holding your baby as you walk through the crowds.
It might seem like a good idea to feed your baby more than usual after a trip away but this isn’t always necessary. Babies need less food when they’re sleeping longer periods of time because it takes up energy. They don’t really eat much anyway until they start eating solids. So instead of overfeeding, just make sure your baby gets enough calories each day.
Use A Sleep Aid
If all else fails, use a sleep aid to help your baby stay awake and alert. There are many different types available including melatonin supplements, herbal remedies, and prescription medications. Talk to your doctor first though since using certain drugs can affect breastfeeding mothers.
Get Some Rest Yourself!
You’ll probably feel exhausted after a long journey, especially if you’ve been travelling across multiple time zones. Make sure you get plenty of rest yourself so that you aren’t dragging around when you reach your destination. Even if you only manage half-an-hour nap, it will do wonders for helping you relax and prepare for the next leg of your journey.
Baby Jet Lag Symptoms
When children experience jet lag, they often show symptoms similar to adults. These include:
Children tend to become cranky when they miss out on naps and meals. When they wake up late, they usually want to play rather than go back to sleep.
Kids typically lose interest in foods such as milk, eggs, meat, cheese, breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, etc., which contain protein. Instead, they prefer sweet snacks and sugary drinks.
Infants cry more easily when they’re overtired. Their cries sound louder and last longer compared to those who slept well.
Difficulty falling asleep
Many babies find it difficult to fall asleep once they’ve missed several consecutive night feeds. They may also refuse to settle down unless they receive comfort care.
How Long Does Jet Lag Last in Babies
The first thing you need to know is that it’s not a disease. It’s just your body adjusting to the time change, and it can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days for your baby to adjust. The good news: Jet lag doesn’t usually cause any problems with sleep or feeding patterns.
What Causes Jet Lag?
Jet lag happens because our bodies don’t get enough rest while we travel through different time zones. When we cross more than one zone, our internal clock gets confused about where day ends and night begins. This means that even though it feels like we’ve been awake all night, we actually haven’t slept at all! Our circadian rhythms which regulate everything from sleeping habits to hormone levels — also shift out of sync with each other. As a result, we feel tired throughout the entire trip.