Helping your baby cope with jet lag and time zone changes
Just like adults, babies can be affected by time zone changes and jet lag when they travel long distances.
Although they can’t articulate it, you just know they feel groggy, light-headed and short-tempered due to the upset of their circadian rhythms and familiar routine.
Babies who aren’t on a firmly established schedule don’t tend to suffer from this as much as older children, as they are used to simply snacking and snoozing whenever the feeling hits.
But for more clockwork babies, a big trip can disrupt the usual cues that help trigger them to the next activity or phase of the day. Here are some tips to help your baby cope with this travel nuisance.
- Keep your baby well hydrated on the journey – offer water-packed fruits and vegetables as well as milk, water and juice.
- Fortify your tot with healthy snacks along the way, not empty-calorie junk food.
- Try to shift meal, nap and bed times little by little a few days before embarking on your trip so the adjustment is not such a shock to the system.
- If possible, plan to arrive at your destination during daylight hours and have your baby spend some time being active in the sunshine – play, splash in the pool, go for a walk.
- Try to adjust bedtime and wake time to the new time zone rather than keep to the clock back home. It may take a day or so for every hour of time difference to adjust.
- Don’t schedule too much socializing, stimulation or activity during the first few days of a trip. Give your baby a chance to adjust to the change in venue.