Traveling with a Toddler for the First Time: How the SlumberPod Helped Him Get Great Sleep

After having my first son, Anthony, in the middle of the pandemic, we stayed inside a lot! Vacationing was the last thing on our minds until this year. My husband suggested we take a mini beach trip with our now 2.5-year-old, and the idea excited me … but also made me nervous as well. Here is why.

Anthony was sleep trained by four months old and became a master at sleeping in his own sleep space. He became so familiar with all the sleep associations in his bedtime routine that the moment we laid his favorite puppy lovey next to him in his crib, he started to yawn and turn over to go to sleep!  A sleep master indeed!

With all that being said, even though Anthony had rocked his sleep game at home … he was a novice when it came to sleeping in other sleep spaces that were not his own - including the occasional naps and overnight stays at grandma and grandpa’s house!

So the moment my husband suggested that we go on a beach trip … in another city … in a different sleep space … with our toddler … I about had a heart attack! There was no way that our son could get good rest in an entirely different space that he had never seen before … right?

Wrong! Even though I had every reason to be nervous about traveling with my toddler for the first time … SlumberPod was a game-changer in alleviating our stress and providing a great sleep space for our toddler. 

Before trip preparation

Once my husband and I decided to invest in the SlumberPod, we made it a point to ensure that we helped out toddler get used to his new sleep space before the trip. Here are a few ways we introduced our child to their new SlumberPod!

Talking up the Slumberpod

Around two weeks before the beach trip, we started talking about the SlumberPod to our toddler. We nicknamed it the “sleep-pod” and would say encouraging statements like, “Anthony, your sleep-pod is coming in soon! We will be using it on our beach trip in a couple of weeks. Are you excited?” We would repeat this daily, and by the end of the week, he would be saying “sleep-pod, sleep-pod, sleep-pod,” over and over again!

The entire point of this step is to really get your child excited about their new sleep space, even though they cannot see it yet.

Getting them involved with the set-up

Once Anthony’s new sleep-pod arrived, we got him involved in opening up the box, taking out the parts of his SlumberPod, and putting it all together (with our help, of course)!

I absolutely loved this step because there was a lot of laughing and bonding involved with the set-up! Plus, our toddler truly enjoyed taking control over putting together his new sleep space.

Test-nap is a must!

The next day, we decided to introduce the SlumberPod for one of Anthony’s naps! Since this SlumberPod was created to black out your child’s sleep space completely, it can be a little unnerving for your little one if they are just using it for the first time. 

Since my toddler started to cry immediately after closing the opening of the SlumberPod, we decided to keep it slightly open, so whenever he popped up, he could see my husband and me sitting there while we waited for him to fall asleep. After about 30 minutes of popping his little head in and out of the pod, he finally fell asleep!

This is why I highly recommend doing at least one test-nap pre-vacay with the SlumberPod for your child to get used to it.

During trip preparation

Once we made it to our vacation destination, we encouraged our toddler to roam around our new hotel room.  We also did two things that made a big difference in setting Anthony up for a great night’s sleep!

Getting them involved with set-up…once again!

I cannot stress this step's importance - both before and during vacation.  Anthony was super excited to set up his new sleep-pod in the new hotel room and kept screaming (and I mean literally screaming at the top of his lungs…) “SLEEP-POD, SLEEP-POD” all during set-up. 

Let’s just say after just a few minutes of setting up the SlumberPod, my husband and I were very over-stimulated by all the excitement! But we really saw how important it was for our toddler to stay involved.

Give them choices

Once the SlumberPod was set up, we gave Anthony two choices as to where he wanted to position his sleep-pod in the hotel room. We also gave him a choice between two mattress covers we brought and had him help us put them over the mini-crib mattress the hotel supplied.

Once again, this helped him feel in control and independent during this new travel experience while also allowing him to feel comfortable with his new sleep surroundings!

The Sleep Results

Even after all of this mindful preparation, I was still nervous about how well my toddler would sleep. This would be the first time he slept anywhere else other than home or his grandparents, so I knew it would be a change for all of us!

But I knew I had to stay positive and trust that the prep and the SlumberPod itself would work its magic! 

And it did! The first night my toddler fell asleep within 15 minutes and slept 11hrs! During the first nap of the trip, he slept for 2 hours (parents included!). Then the next two days and nights, he slept just like he did at home. 

The SlumberPod created an optimal sleep environment for my toddler, which included:

  • Complete black-out coverage
  • Temperature regulation through ventilation flaps and option for fan pouch
  • Separate sleep space away from bright or distracting conditions

But most importantly, the SlumberPod gave all of us peace of mind going into our first vacation together as a family! 

Combining nurturing sleep habits with great sleep products like the SlumberPod will set your child up for travel sleep success.

If you are interested in working 1:1 with me in establishing these good sleep habits for your child and helping you and your child get more rest,  book a discovery session with me so we can go over options. You can also grab my free napping guide here, which will serve as a great tool for setting up a reliable sleep schedule during travel.

Parenting can be hard, but getting good rest does not have to be.

Live, Laugh, & Sleep Well Honeys!

Amber Ochoa-Sanchez

Amber Ochoa-Sanchez is the founder of Sleep-A-Bye Baby and lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband Nick and 2 boys, Anthony and Samuel.  Amber and Nick met in high school, but then reunited after college and married in the middle of the pandemic.  Amber also graduated from nursing school back in 2019 and has been working with families and babies as a NICU nurse for over 3 years.

After Amber successfully sleep-trained both her toddler and infant, she decided to launch her own sleep business. She started realizing the importance sleep had on the entire family, both mentally and emotionally.  

Amber has a mission to support all families in getting better sleep while reducing stress and anxiety for parents during the sleep-training process. When you work with Amber she will get to know you on a personal level, create a customized sleep plan that will work for your family, and will help you achieve your sleep goals. Follow Sleep-A-Bye Baby on Instagram here.

Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors. 

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