Have Infant, Will Travel
Traveling with a 0-to-6-month-old
In theory, traveling with infants is the easiest stage. Young babies don’t do much more than eat, sleep and poop, so if you take care of these basic requirements you are free to go wherever your heart desires. Breasts – check, bassinet – check, diaper bag – check, and you’re off.
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.
If this is your first baby or inaugural journey with one, this “unfamiliar territory” is more daunting than any destination you choose to travel to. The extreme fatigue of those first few months is palpable, making the orchestration of a trip to the park seem like a Herculean hurdle, let alone a journey farther afield. You’ll no doubt envision all sorts of complications, snafus and scenarios that will make you just want to stay close to home. However, relatives’ demands, your own R&R needs or a multitude of other reasons may prompt you to pack up junior and hit the road, skies or seas sooner than later.
Go forth with confidence – and keep the following practical tips in mind.
Take Care of You
Take care of yourself first and foremost. This is not selfish advice. If you’re running on empty you won’t have enough reserves left to focus on the baby’s needs. Don’t try to pack in too much activity, socialization or excitement on your trip. You’ll be bleary-eyed enough from those late night wake-ups. Eat well, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.
Be Considerate of Others
Be aware that not everyone around you appreciates the mess, smell, noise, and demands of a small baby, no matter how adorable he or she is. If you are knee-deep in a colicky phase or know that dinnertime is the “bewitching hour” for your little one, perhaps now’s not the best time to visit Great Uncle John or dine at that slick uptown bistro. On the flip side, don’t let fear of a meltdown prevent you from boarding a plane, hitting the road or going where you want to go. Those unpleasant moments are fleeting and intolerant glares from others will pass.
You have to be mentally and physically prepared for every possible contingency, from the inevitable spit-ups and diaper explosions (how do babies seem to time these for the most inopportune moments?) to potential sleep disruptions, cranky outbursts and spontaneous illnesses. If you plan ahead, get organized, be flexible and keep a positive attitude, your trip will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Think ahead on diaper needs. Figure out how long you will be in transit and factor in how many changes you might need, then factor in a few more for good measure (you never know when a delay or diarrhea will hit). Find out if your favorite brand or a suitable substitution is available at your destination. If so, pack enough to get you through at least two days so you’re not obliged to go shopping day one. If not, pack enough to get you through your trip (over-estimate to be on the safe side) or consider shipping a supply ahead to your accommodation.
Kudos if you’ve opted for cloth diapers, but you might want to switch to disposables while you’re away from home as finding a place to rinse, wash and dry might not be so convenient – not impossible for the keen and resourceful, but a bit challenging.
NOTE: If you are traveling to a country that uses a different unit of measure than you’re used to (eg: kilos or pounds), work out the conversion ahead of time so you can understand the sizing chart on the diaper package you need to buy.