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Emily: My daughter is 6 months old now, and we’ve taken a total of 3 trips! We get a lot of questions about tips for traveling with infants, so I wanted to share what has worked best for us for sleeping arrangements.
Just remember, every baby is different and each family has different parenting styles. There’s no one right way, just do what works best for you and your family!
Our Home Set-Up
At home, we use a side co-sleeper crib, which has been very convenient for those middle of the night feedings early on. We were also gifted a SnuggleMe (thanks again Laura! ;)) and put that inside of her crib.
Our baby has slept there from day one, and fortunately has pretty much always been a good sleeper. By good sleeper, I mean sleeping for ~5 hours straight at a few weeks old, and at 6 months, she sleeps for ~12 hours straight!
Portable Baby Beds for Children 0 to ~5 Months Old
We brought our SnuggleMe on her first 3 trips. It’s like a small dog bed, and the baby lays securely in the middle. It’s small enough to fit into your luggage (I’d always pack it with her car seat and check it in for free).
The downside of it is that you have to find a secure space to place it on, like another bed or a sofa. And it’s also pricey.
On our first family trip, our bed was located next to a sofa. So we put her SnuggleMe baby bed on the sofa while we slept nearby.
On our second trip (this was a road trip from Texas to Michigan), we took her SnuggleMe and her Lotus Travel Crib by Guava Family. We put her SnuggleMe inside of her Lotus Travel Crib while we slept in a bed in the same room.
I like the Lotus Travel Crib, but it’s essentially another big piece of luggage. And you have to pay extra for it (strollers and car seats are free). So it’s a lot to lug around!
Pro Tip: Certain credit cards offer free checked bags. For example, you can get a FREE checked bag (a savings of up to $100 per round-trip) when you use your Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Card to purchase your United Airlines ticket.
And remember, you can find a TON of gently used baby supplies & furniture on the Facebook Marketplace and posting in moms’ groups. Babies outgrow stuff so fast and there is nothing wrong with saving some money! I recently found a crib and changing table for $120 – the regular full price would have been at least $700!
Portable Baby Beds for Children ~5+ Months Old
Now that our baby is frequently rolling over, we phased out the SnuggleMe. She was recently in the Lotus Travel Crib by herself and slept well.
The other benefit of traveling with a playpen like this is that it’s a contained, safe play area.
Other Options to Consider
When my baby turns ~1 year old, I’m excited to try the KidCo PeaPod or PeaPod Plus Travel Bed. It looks really lightweight and easy to fit into checked luggage.
For toddlers, Million Mile Secrets Instagram commenter @jacqnh suggested an inflatable bed. Based on my research, the Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed also looks like an easy bed to travel with.
Always Check With Hotels & Airbnbs
On a recent trip to North Carolina, we stayed at a Staybridge Suites, where they delivered an actual crib on wheels to our hotel room. And for an upcoming Airbnb stay, a crib is available for use.
I’m a fan of traveling lighter (and saving money!), so check with your host to see what infant sleeping beds they have so you can leave yours at home.
Other Tips to Make Sleeping Easier
Our baby has slept in a swaddle from day one. Now that she is rolling over, we started using a Zipadee-Zip transition swaddle. These swaddles are safe for babies that roll over, and also help keep them warm at night.
We also have a white noise machine that mimics the sound babies hear in the womb. And l dream feed (feed her again right before I go to sleep) so she stays fuller longer.
There are several portable baby bed options you can use when traveling with your baby. The SnuggleMe and Lotus Travel Crib are 2 baby beds we have used in the past. Swaddles, sound machines, and dream feeding your baby can also help them sleep.
What’s worked (or hasn’t worked!) for you and your family? Let me know in the comments!