How should you sleep your baby when you're traveling? This question popped up every month of Etta's life until we finally purchased a travel bed before heading off to Sweden. We have had to be creative with a minimal budget and packing space while travelling with Etta. Read on if you want to find out some of the ways Etta has slept in her little nomad life. I`ll also put in some links to some travel beds that I have come across that are great for camping, the beach or traveling to the grandparents house just in case your looking to purchase one. We finally invested in a used travel bed that fits our little Nomad's personality just right.
CAUTION: Please be forewarned that I am not an expert in baby sleep and safety so if you choose to try any of these out, use at your own risk and set up the beds according to safety standards.
The"Moses" Wicker Bassinet:
Oh the beautiful "Moses" wicker bassinet. Etta slept in her "Moses" in our home in Vancouver for the first 3 months of her life. Along with it we had the jolly jumper rocker. The added jolly jumper rocker was amazing. When Etta needed a rockin' the foot would come a knockin'. We would do the ol' extended foot out of the bed to rock her to sleep, which we will call the 'extended leg rock.' The trick when using the 'extended leg rock' is trying to get into a good rocking rhythm while still lying in bed.
We bought this one on Craigslist. We also sold it on Craigslist just as easily to get all our money back. Etta also slept in this when she went on her first camping trip when she was around 5 weeks old (We did not take the rocking part). It was easy to throw in the back of our hatchback and allowed Etta a complete 'Glamping' experience. .
|Behind me in the picture is the bassinet in our big tent from MEC. This is our 'Glamping' tent. Unfortunately we left our 'Glamping' mattress at home.|
The true Nomad spirit was summoned when we used "The Suitcase". "The Suitcase" was actually my mom`s suggestion. Apparently when we were under 3 months old we would sleep in a padded drawer or a laundry basket if needed. No fuss indeed!! We used the suitcase when we went to Montreal for a conference when she was about 2 months old and when we went to Edmonton the first time to visit family when she was 3 months old. In the suitcase we would put the Moses mattress in the bottom. We swaddled her like above and she would hardly move anything but her head occasionally back and forth.This was perfect for the first 3 months of her life.
"The Borrowed" and "The Bought":
When Etta was around 4 months old we went home for Christmas. I knew she would no longer fit the suitcases. What were we going to do! We still did not want to pack one of those bulky travel beds let alone spend the money on something we thought we would rarely use! (Looking back, Etta has ventured around the world more than most babies and a travel bed probably would have been a good investment at the time). At that point we were really lucky, as Cam`s parents had borrowed a playpen/travel bed from a friend and my parents bought a nice used crib. It was perfect for us and really nice of our parents.
When we moved to Copenhagen we asked around before if anyone had a crib we could borrow. We borrowed a nice simple white crib and it was delivered to us by one of Cam's co-workers the day we landed in Copenhagen.
When Etta was 8 months old we traveled to Arhus, Denmark. We packed the crib mattress in half of one of our suitcases by folding it up (It was a foam mattress). When we got to Arhus we made a bed with the mattress, the wall and our suitcase right beside the bed where we were sleeping.
|This is `The Mattress` bed. She also sleeps with Husk, a sleep sac and her animal blanky.|
The baby carrier was excellent for when we went to Montreal when Etta was around 2 months old. I could explore the sights of Montreal and grab a coffee, all while Etta slept.
For the first 6 months we used the Baby Bjorn that we borrowed from my sister. I love how you do not need an infant insert to use it and when the baby becomes more alert and stronger they can face outwards.
Ergo Baby Carrier:
For our travels to Copenhagen we did end up buying an Ergo baby carrier and took that instead of the Bjorn. This was because Etta was getting heavier and we wanted the option to be able to carry her on our backs for long travel days and hikes.
|Etta sleeping in the Baby Bjorn while we are enjoying a Rough Rider Game in Vancouver. Here she is in the Baby Bjorn.|
|Sleeping in the Ergo Baby Carrier on our hike through the Swedish Archipelago|
|Etta sleeping again in the Ergo Baby Carrier!|
Great for touring, sitting outdoors having a drink, at the park or running. "The Stroller" offers the ability to keep doing what you love while the babe gets some sleep. In Copenhagen most of the babies strollers is their actual bed. However, their strollers are HUGE!
"The Stroller" for us is always a hit or miss. We can never be sure we won't get the "Dreaded" half hour nap, which usually tides her over, although with a bit of crankiness, till nighttime. Every once in a while we get an hour to an hour and half nap in. On those occasions we do a happy sleep dance and have an extra drink.
|Napping in Malmo, Sweden outside the Fortress.|
|Napping in Portugal. One side is the city of Lagos and the other side is the ocean.|
"The Car seat"
This is actually an ACE family inside joke. I will let you be a part of the 'IN'. Etta did not sleep in the car for the first 6 months. Ok maybe I am exaggerating a bit. She did sleep in the car seat the first 5 weeks. She would also sleep in the car if you were driving longer then 20 minutes and if you covered the car seat with a blanket to block out all stimulus (she would scream for those first 20 minutes and eventually tire out and fall asleep). If your drive was shorter than 20 minutes, which usually it is, you would always know that you would have to listen to 20 minutes of screaming on the way to your destination. BREAK MY HEART! Anyways apparently some babies do not like car seats.
Now at 10 months old she will occasionally fall asleep in the car if it is nap time. It is usually important to block out all stimulation.
|Etta sleeping at a restaurant when Grandma and Grandpa were visiting.|
After months of evading the purchase of a proper travel cot, the time came when Etta was going to start crawling and standing and we wouldn't be able to trust her in our makeshift beds. This started a travel cot search. We had a few options.
1. Buy one of the standard travel cots and leave it in Europe before flying home to Canada.
2. Try another new and improved makeshift bed for Etta but risk her destroying the hotel or apartment we are staying in.
3. Find another option.... BUT WHAT!!!
There is a website in Denmark similar to Craiglist that is called dba.dk It is a website where people sell used furniture, toys, goods etc.
That is when Cam came across "The Nomad" on the used website. The Nomad has been perfect for Etta. It had an opening at the top that could be closed to keep mosquitoes out, provided some UV protection and allows air to flow. The sides can also be opened and provide the same protection. The poles and the material of "The Nomad" are made with high quality materials. They are the same materials used in high quality outdoors tents and therefore it is extremely durable.
|Set up in the kitchen in our cabin on Finnhamn.|
|The nice wide opening that can be zipped closed with a breathable mesh that keeps out mosquitoes.|
Other Travel Bed Options:
If you are about to have a baby and your thinking of getting a travel cot here are just a few options. I came across them in my search for a travel bed for Etta. I thought they were pretty awesome ways for a baby or toddler to sleep and also very practical for the beach as well.They are all the 'tent' style which is perfect because kids love camping or pretending to be camping when away from home.
Initially I tried to buy a Deryan travel cot which is a really cool pop up travel cot. It literally takes 5 seconds to set up. It also compacts very and is about 2 kg. It is not too pricy compared to other travel cots depending on the style. The Deryan website has a bunch of other options for parents that love travelling and the outdoors.
|This one comes in for a baby and also a larger one for toddlers. There is a sun block out option as well. Mattress goes underneath for child safety.|
|This one is closer to a regular cot as it has the opening at the top.|
The "Pea Pod":
Another pop up travel cot. Just like the Deryan it pops up in a matter of seconds. Click Here for more info.
|Compacts really small.|