We made it back onto the plane and after 2 nice hours (thanks to Levi’s hotel nap… and free olives and crackers on the airplane) – we land in Dubrovnik!
We arrive at night to the small airport and it has been a full 24 hours since we left New Jersey. It is 9pm and we are relieved to see our luggage and a man waiting for us with our name on a sign AKA our way of feeling mature and COOL.
He takes us to the AirBnb and voila! It is a dreamy apartment in a safe, quiet, nice area. Thank gd! BH! We learn from the taxi driver that this apartment complex was built less than a year ago, and the host I have been working with did not exaggerate one bit by how well set up it is. The crib is ready, so I give Levi some comfort snacks from America and spend 30 minutes introducing him to his new room, reading books, singing the same ol’ songs, and thankfully he dozes off for a 12 hour night sleep…
I always try to lie to myself and say I am above jetlag, but then it hits hard. Joshua is better than I am and allows the jetlag to take him into a weird sleep phase, so I try to follow the boys and go along with the jetlag, but I am TOO excited to be here that it is hard to sleep! We do our best though, and here are some tips I came up with for other moms w/ babies traveling to a new timezone:
1. Go Wit It: Allow your baby to go to sleep when you sense he is tired, and stay awake even if it is his regular scheduled sleep time. it will pass! he will get on track! Baby is just as excited as you are to be in a new place! this is not exactly the “Cry it out” time.. just let him seek comfort in learning his new room and figuring out that his parents are in the room over as usual.
2. Stay nearby: While it is within us to want to explore and plan trips when we land in a new city, the first week must be dedicated to helping baby get on track with sleep. Try to stick to learning the neighborhood, finding the parks, checking out the markets within a 30 minute radius so if you feel baby needs his sleep you get a crib sleep rather than stroller. This helps with the adjustment to a foreign crib.
3. Awake times vs. Sleep times: any sleep training mom knows by now how many hours your baby sleeps vs. how many hours he can be awake for. Be strict with the awake time! and make it active! For example, I know that Levi’s awake times on his schedule are usually between 5-6 hours, meaning that regardless of the time difference, he should still be going to sleep after the same awake time from home.
4. Stick with the Same: Routine! Do the same exact bedtime routine you do at home, introducing the newness around him. While reading books, take a break to take in the new room, examining and appreciating the parts of his room that might confuse him and cause him to wake. For example, I noticed that the shudders in Levi’s room shake with the wind so from the get go I taught him about wind (which he remembered from our time at the beach…) and use it as a lullaby.
5. Do Fun, Don’t Fight: Thankfully the human body does adjust in time. But for the first days, have 0 expectations and enjoy the long evenings (Levi’s bedtime was pushed to 10pm due to late nap wake up) and don’t let it upset you if it takes time. Sleep when the baby sleeps, to avoid getting sick, or crazy:). While keeping in mind his awake hours, make sure to fill that time with activities that will make him sleepy enough to get right into the crib, happily. These are the days that make it good to have a pacifier (or comfort blanket of the sorts)…
Feel free to reach out on any more tips re: baby and the adjustment to a new timezone!