Although all my children loved sleeping in the car, it seems that there are so many babies who will cry non-stop, get overwrought, then overtired and still not fall asleep when in the car and pram.
In today’s hectic schedules, when older children need to get to school, sports training, ballet classes, or you simply need to do the shopping, baby will have to come along for the ride. It could be the pram or the car that appears to be the trigger for crying and heart wrenching screaming from your little one.
Remember that eventually they do learn to fall asleep “on the move”.
Here are a few ideas and tips to help them on the way.
8 tips for when your baby won’t fall asleep in the car or pram
Time it well
It has been thought that the first daytime nap is most beneficial of the day, so if you can organise your schedule to leave home after this nap at home — it would be optimal. However, this is not always possible.
Play white noise or music
If your child likes to fall asleep to sounds play the CD in the car, or use a white noise app off your mobile.
Don’t forget their comforter
Have baby’s favourite lovey, cuddly toy or comforter within their reach.
Block the windows
If possible place a screen over the side window so that the car appears darkened with the light blocked out like the bedroom and the sunlight doesn’t stream onto your child’s face.
Cover the pram
Place a light cloth over the pram to provide similar darkness while still allowing in the fresh air. Look for a product that blocks the sun, protects against UV rays but allows air to filter through easily.
Stick to your routine
Be true to your usual routine, and put baby into the car or pram with 20-30 minutes before naptime. Make sure your child is fed and has a clean nappy. This way there is sufficient time to relax and fall asleep without becoming overwrought. Now would be a good time to play the music your infant finds soothing.
Watch for the startle reflex
Babies can wake with a sudden start after a few minutes sleep this is known as “startle reflex”. It is a good idea to wrap your baby snuggly in a blanket as this will hold their arms still to prevent being woken. (Remember if you do this in a car seat, the blanket should go on above the harness, ALWAYS monitor your baby and NEVER leave the child alone asleep in the car).
Sit with your baby
On longer journeys, it may be comforting to have a parent next to the infant. Often repeating the gentle sleep-time pats will soothe your child. Knowing that you are close by sometimes provides the security and comfort to drift into sleep.
Some children really never take to sleeping in a car or pram but usually can eventually learn how to fall asleep there. For some children this may not happen quickly, but as your child learns to self-settle, falling asleep in the car or pram will happen with preparation as perseverance.
Happy and safe travels.