How to Get 6 Month Old to Adjust to an EIGHT Hour Time Difference?!?

Updated on January 21, 2009
J.O. asks from Pleasant Hill, CA
4 answers

Hi Moms, I am considering taking my daughter on a 12 hour flight overseas next month (when she will be 6 months old). While I am dreading the flight my true worry is adjusting her to the 8 hour time difference on the way there and again on the way back....we will be away about a month. She is already not the greatest sleeper and it has taken a long time to get her somewhat established so the thought of throwing all that away makes me want to break out in a cold sweat :) I am still very much a sleep deprived mommy! :) Those of you who have done it - how did you get your babies to adjust??

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answers from San Francisco on

When my son was 10 months old we took him to visit family on the East Coast. (Yeah, Yeah, I know, only a mere 3 hour time difference! :) I discovered on that trip that he is more driven by sunrise/daylight/sunset than actual time, so adjustment was not nearly as bad as I had feared.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi J.,
I fly almost every 6 months with my 2 sons, they started to fly when they were around 6 months old. We go to Europe and the time difference is 9 hour. They take more or less a week to absorb the jet lag. Going there, they usually wake up at 1am, then 3am, then 4 am etc ... and then will fall asleep at 4pm, 5pm. I always tried not to let them sleep during the afternoon, but at night when they wake up early in the morning they are fully awake and want to play in the middle of the night. You can not do anything else than let them play. For myself I can force myself to sleep or stay in bed just because I know that it is night time, but kids do not know, they just go with their biological clock. It is very terrible when they wake you up at 2am and maybe you have just fallen asleep or are very deep in your sleep. That is awful.
So you just can not sleep until they are adjusted and then can adjust yourself.
Coming back here, same story - 1 week to adjust. The body does it itself, nothing else to do. For us it is not worth going abroad for less than 4 week. it will be too destroying.
Hope this helps,



answers from San Francisco on

I traveled to Europe with my son when he was about 8 months old. I kept to his CA schedule until he went to sleep that 'night' (on the flight). When we reached the other end, I moved to local time. I found that it was a balance between letting him sleep enough so he wasn't exhausted and waking him in the new time zone so he adjusted. The first 3 days in the UK were pretty miserable (he didn't sleep well at nights) but then he was fine, and luckily he adjusted well coming back here.

Because his sleep was disrupted on the flight etc, I found that he was tired when we arrived, so getting him to sleep wasn't an issue.

Hope that helps!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi J.,
I took my daughter to Europe when she was 5 months old and like you I was anxious about it too. It was a piece of cake.. my daughter adjusted so well it was unbelieveable. Babies at that age are so flexible and adjustable, they are quite impressive. My daughter in fact slept better overseas than she did at home, I think it was the cooler climate and the cloudy skies of Ireland that did it for her !!

With regards to the time difference, I didn't really do anything specific. I just kept up with her naps and the rest fell into place. Try not to worry, you may be pleasantly surprised and remember you can't control this kind of thing anyway. Relax and enjoy your trip. You could also try a little bit of children's benadryl, it may help your baby sleep on the plane, but make sure you give a few "test" doses before your trip to make sure it's tolerated ok. Also, remember to feed her for take off and landing to minimize any discomfort due to take off and landing.

Good luck and have a great trip and remember, you may be worrying over nothing.

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