Our 6 month old is sleeping through the night at home and used to sleep fairly well on overnight trips (with us). However, we have just had two weekends away from home when he hardly slept at all. He was in a pack and play (not his usual one - but one we keep at my parents). My wife would nurse him when he cried and he would quiet to feed - but once back in the pack and play he would cry and not suck his thumb as he normally does when falling asleep.

After reading some other advice, next time we plan to bring his usual pack and play as well as his normal sheets (for scent). We are assuming this is just a phase that he will grow out of - but what are other strategies to try to help him feel at home and calm so that he (and we) can get some sleep?


2 Answers 2


As you've already learned, giving your child as similar an environment as possible helps tremendously, but so does keeping your routine as similar as possible. If you can keep the bedtime routine as close to normal as possible, that can also make a big difference.

If your child doesn't already have a "lovey," it is also safe to introduce such an item at around this age (before six months, it is recommended not to have anyhting lose or fluffy in babies' bed). A lovey can be a special blanket or stuffed toy that is used at bedtime (and to save yourselves trouble later, only at bedtime) for snuggling. Some kids never really take to one, but if yours does the advantage can be that the lovey will become the thing that offers "sameness" while traveling even through the toddler years.

  • This is a great idea. He doesn't have a lovey now but now that you mention it, he seems ready for one.
    – bsigrist
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 16:17

There is that element of familiarity which is essential at that young age - if you can make the new environment smell/feel/seem just like the old one, then your child will sleep much better, as they will not be so disturbed at something new.

Yes - it is a bit of a phase, although some kids retain the need for same-ness until much older.

  • Good to know it is hopefully a phase!
    – bsigrist
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 16:18
  • 1
    @bsigrist: with kids, everything is just a phase :-D Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 7:22

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