Have Baby, Still Travel
Traveling with a 6 to 12 Month Old
By the 6-month mark, your baby is no longer a passive infant who sleeps the day away. A new level of alertness has taken hold, and that spark of distinctive personality has been ignited. By now, junior knows who you are and is (often painfully) aware when you are gone. As a parent, you are over the initial culture shock of having a new baby and are more into the swing of things, able to read your baby’s moods at first peep, juggle responsibilities with confidence and anticipate needs like a pro (well, sort of).
Babies at this stage make great traveling companions, as they are eager to observe and explore the world around them. You’ll delight in watching your child soak up every new experience with eager curiosity. It might make you more open and observant to the little details and special moments too.
Here is some advice to keep in mind when embarking on a journey with a 6-to-12 monther.
You’ll have to engage and entertain your child a bit more at six months and up. The sound of your voice, eye contact and smiles are the cornerstone to baby play. Start amassing your repertoire of nursery rhymes, songs and finger games, all of which make for easy, portable, battery-free travel fun.
By now, you’ve no doubt got a zoo of plush animals and a collection of squeaky toys at home. Pack a few small favorites along on your trip to give your baby something familiar to play with – or chew on, as the case may be. One or two new surprises can buy you a few extra minutes of novelty at a restaurant or on a plane, but the recognizable old stand-bys are also comforting and reassuring at this stage. Cloth books, nesting cups, keys on rings and small toys with moving parts to spin, turn, twist and push are easy to tote on the road and can provide endless amusement.
Perhaps your little one has formed an attachment to a particular blanket or stuffed animal friend. This is a sacred bond and should not be taken lightly. It can make your child feel secure a world turned upside down due to travel. Keep hyper-vigil over this object as losing a special friend while away from home may make for sleepless nights, napless days and a strained holiday for all.
Ideally you have a spare or two identical “loveys” that you circulate at home (e.g. one in the wash, one in the diaper bag, one in the crib). Then you can pack one along on your trip without too much worry of permanent traumatic consequences should you lose it (or so it will seem at the time – your baby will eventually get over it). However, some babies are wise to this trick and know the difference between their “real” blankie and the imposter. If that’s the case, bring the original along with you for comfort’s sake and keep close tabs on it.
Keep to Your Routine
Try to stick to a semblance of the routine or schedule you’ve established at home. This is not always possible when in transit, but once you reach your destination try to get back on track as soon as possible. For example, having a familiar bath, book and lullaby can trigger the sleep response in your child because he or she knows the pattern. Even the smell and texture of a blanket or pillow from home can add comfort, reassurance and security. Children are creatures of habit, and having familiar expectations met can help them feel at home away from home.