One of the biggest uncertainties we had with bringing Aiden from the East Coast to West Coast was managing the time change. Should we try to ease him into the time change by adjusting his schedule slowly at home a couple of weeks leading up to the trip? Should we try to stay on our schedule while we are there? Here are some tips for managing a time change with a baby while on vacation.
We decided because the trip was so short (4 days) we would keep him on his home schedule as best as possible while we were there, with the exception of bedtime. A few weeks before the trip, we started a bedtime routine with Aiden every night so that when we got to San Diego we could replicate that and help him understand when it was time to go to sleep. We made sure to pack all those bedtime items so he was familiar and comfortable.
As far as managing the time change each night we put Aiden down around 7pm which was 10pm east coast time. He would wake up at 2:45am which was his normal 5:45am at home. I would feed him and then we would put him back to sleep. To keep him awake until 7pm we would take him out in the fresh air and sunlight so that he knew that it was not bedtime. The only tricky time was our dinner time because that was after his normal bedtime. We tried to eat around 5pm. Luckily most places were really bright so we had that going for us. Or, we ate outside thanks to the beautiful San Diego weather! We usually took him out of his stroller and let him look around or changed his position. The constant movement and people kept his attention and helped us keep him calm. We also brought his Zippy in case he got really fussy (and only had to use it once). When we got back to the hotel we would close the black out shades, do our bedtime routine and then put him to bed.
The first day he was fine. The second day he was a bit more fussy than usual, but that was the worst of the four days. We didn’t have any issues with him waking up throughout the night with the exception of the 2:45am wake ups but he would go right back to sleep.
We took an afternoon flight coming home so by the time we got home it was about 10pm. Aiden fell asleep in the car, but if I were to do this trip again with a baby, I would probably take a morning flight, just because he was usually in a better mood in the mornings and he could have gone to bed at his normal east coast bed time. Once we were home we really didn’t have any issues with him re-acclimating to his normal routine/time zone; if anything, for the first few days he would take a long nap right after his first feeding of the day.
Have you done a trip with a time difference with your little one? What tips would you recommend for managing a time change with a baby?