mother wearing floral print blouse holding child

Overcoming Baby Jet Lag: Tips & Tricks

By: Brooke Hamilton


If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know how disorienting jet lag can be. You feel wide awake at 3 A.M. and ready for bed by lunchtime.

Navigating how to travel with a baby is tricky. If you’re raising a tiny globetrotter, you’ll probably run into baby jet lag at some point or another. Fortunately, the proper preparations and routine reset can help get your baby back on their sleep track.

Read on for a breakdown of baby jet lag, ways you can set your baby or toddler up for success before your trip even starts, and tips for surviving the first few nights in a new time zone.

Understanding Baby Jet Lag

At this point, you may be wondering, do babies get jet lagged? The answer is yes!1

However, every baby and toddler will experience jet lag differently. Some think that babies under six months old may not suffer from jet lag as badly as, say, a two-year-old, because their sleep pattern is on and off throughout the day, sometimes perfectly aligning for a long flight.1 However, since toddlers rely so heavily on a consistent sleep schedule, a shift in time zones can knock them out of whack.

How Time Zone Changes Affect Babies

Babies and toddlers experience jet lag symptoms just like adults do. If you’re flying with a baby and encountering a time change, you may notice these common jet lag symptoms:

  • Disturbed sleep patterns, especially at night

  • Extra irritability

  • Extra fussiness

  • Clinginess

Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks for adjusting your baby's schedule, you can help your little one adapt to a different time zone quickly and smoothly.

Preparing for Your Trip

Besides preparing for your trip with what you need on hand, like diaper bags and a change of clothes, you will also want to consider time zones and when you travel. One way to help head off the effects of baby jet lag is to adjust your little one’s sleep schedule to the local time of your destination before your trip.2 Additionally, consider when you travel so that you can align your baby’s sleep times with when you’ll be on the plane.

See related: Traveling With Diapers

Adjusting Your Baby’s Schedule Before Departure

Take into account the time zone of your destination and gradually adjust your baby’s bedtime in 15- to 20-minute increments in the days before your journey.

Keep in mind that if you’re only traveling for a handful of days or the time difference is only an hour or two, it may not make much sense to adjust your baby’s routine.2

Timing Your Flights

It’s a good idea to plan your travel days in such a way that they don’t overly disrupt your child’s routine. For example, a red-eye or overnight flight may be the best option for your travels because a night flight will naturally coincide with your little one’s bedtime.3 Dressing your child in comfortable  baby clothes, like their favorite pajamas, can also help maintain a sense of normalcy and promote rest during the flight.

Tips for Managing Jet Lag on Arrival

Helping a child through the first few hours of jet lag may sound daunting, but there are a few tips, tricks, and travel essentials for toddlers to help it go as smoothly as possible.

As Soon as You Arrive

How you handle your baby’s jet lag will depend on when you arrive at your destination.2

  • If you arrive early in the morning – Encourage your peanut to sleep as much as possible on the plane ride over. Once you’ve settled in, go out and explore, even if you only go around the block or to the nearest green space. Make sure your baby is eating and drinking plenty, and allow naps as needed (just don’t let them oversleep).

  • If you arrive at night – Try to keep your baby awake during the last few hours of the flight before heading to your lodging. Then, treat the evening like you would any other evening by performing your nightly routine.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment

For children, sleep is all about the ambiance. So, no matter the type of lodging you have, make sure to create a soothing atmosphere that promotes sweet dreams. Aside from ensuring the optimal temperature and darkness, this also means following your normal bedtime routine—bathtime, storytime, cuddles, lullabies, or whatever else helps ease your kiddo into relaxation mode.

Additionally, make sure to pack your child’s duffle bag or suitcase with anything they use as a soother at bedtime, like a stuffy, a security blanket, a special night light, or a pacifier. Even bringing your child’s bedsheets may provide an extra layer of comfort because of the familiar smell and texture.2

Sunlight and Activities to Reset Internal Clocks

To combat baby jet lag during the day, it’s a good idea to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. This can help regulate the body’s release of melatonin.3 While you should still allow your little one to cat nap if they need to, don’t let them oversleep. In fact, it may be helpful to cut their naps down so that they’re less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.3

Since it might take your baby or toddler a few days to adjust to the new time zone, make sure to fill the first part of your trip with plenty of physical activity: visits to the local playground, walks around a children’s museum, kid-friendly hikes, afternoons at the pool or at the beach—whatever will keep them moving and grooving so they fall (and stay) asleep at night.

Combat Baby Jet Lag and Jet Set in Style with Posh Peanut

Can babies and toddlers experience jet lag? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. However, if you gradually adjust their sleep schedule, time your travels right, and plan stimulating activities upon your arrival, you’ll set yourself and your baby up for success.

While you’re adventuring, make sure to keep your tiny traveler as comfortable (and stylish) as possible with Posh Peanut. Our stretchy, soft clothes are made from cozy and breathable viscose from bamboo fabric. Plus, they come in a variety of adorable patterns and designs.

Explore our collection and start packing today.


1 What to Expect. How to Manage Jet Lag in Babies.

2 Sleep Baby. How to Handle Jet Lag in Babies: A Comprehensive Guide.

3 Taking Cara Babies. Traveling Between Time Zones with a Baby.