Travelling with a Baby {Painful Truth Edition}

derek-imageOh man guys. I know I need to tell you all about this while it’s fresh in my mom-brain, but even thinking about it brings back a flood of stress and anxiety. If you’re a parent looking for tips that will help you travel with your LO: I warn you. This will both help you, and make you want to barf. #Sorry

We embarked upon a 12 hour, multi-state drive with my parents this past week. I really thought I had prepared for everything. Beach cabana for baby, travel DVD player, toys, blah blah blah. And let me tell you, no amount of prepping for this trip could actually PREPARE my mind.

  1. The Trip Down
    1. We decided to leave at 2AM. My LO goes to bed at 8, so we figured “great, he’ll sleep and we’ll sleep, and we’ll wake up to leave and he’ll stay sleeping.” Wrong. He was up and ready to party. Our pediatrician12065520_10205056619637005_1249445246177441679_n told us that we really needed to get him out of the car seat about every 3 hours to move around. HA. Do babies actually last that long in a car seat in the first place? So, the trip down was marked with many stops, lots of crying, and the occasional hour of constant entertaining to avoid screaming. (Photo is of my LO’s “comfortable” sleeping. He put the book there on his own.)
  2. Once at Our Destination
    1. Our condo had a pack n’ play and high chair provided. Sounds good, right? No. Just no. Though the condo was immaculate, the baby amenities were old, worn, and really kind of just sketch-city. Thankfully, I brought my own quilted pack n’ play sheet. If you’re traveling and have space, bring as much as you can. Bring your own pack n’ play, and something your LO can sit in to be entertained by (something you can fold flat for travel is ideal.)
    2. Don’t bring extra of everything. Bring enough to get you there, and then go to the grocery store for any food, diapers, wipes, etc. Same for the trip back: take what you need.
    3. The beach isn’t fun with a baby. Plain and simple. My LO had an interest level of ZERO in actually playing on the beach for more than an hour. And the ocean? HA. No. So we made short trips down to the beach, mostly to s12038538_10205056783961113_6812155279190095261_nave our sanity. We used our baby carrier and walked along the coastline often. Definitely the best/most relaxing part of our trip. (Photo is of me on the beach, with Lucas in his Tula.)
    4. SUNSCREEN. Tons of it. Also, swim diapers. You’ll be happy you can just tear the sides and throw them away when you’re done. I kept my LO shaded most of the time, so the swim suit with SPF was really a waste of money (considering you need to get the kind with “rash guard”, a thing I didn’t even know existed until last month.)
    5. Plan trips where you can use your stroller. If your LO is like mine, they love being carted around and seeing new things. We took our little umbrella stroller, and it was perfect. Malls, aquariums, places where you can move freely.
    6. When going to restaurants: go to places that are loud. Your LOs giggles, grumbles, and cries will be masked and others won’t be irritated with you. Also, bring a few toys, sanitary wipes to clean the high chair and table, and their food (my LO ate puffs often to keep him entertained.) Let them play with things at the table– our LO was entertained forever by a crumbly napkin.
  3. The Trip Back
    1. I was now a survivor. I prepared myself for the trip home. I learned from my mistakes. This momma was NOT going to lose her sanity again.
    2. We left a day early. This gave us two days at home to just get back into our “element” before having to go back to work. Best decision we made. Sure, we lost out on a day’s worth of condo rent… but totally worth it.
    3. We left at 8:30 AM. LO was fed, diapered, and in a good mood.
    4. I kept the atmosphere calm the entire trip. This helped not to get him super worked up, just to be stuck in his car seat for 10 more hours.
    5. We sat in the farthest back seat, where I could be right next to him.
    6. Toys. Just a few toys that are good for travel. Nothing to big that will be a hazard if a wreck should happen.
    7. We avoided the portable DVD player and just had some constant, steady music going.
    8. When he got tired, I wrapped him in a blanket and gave him his binkie. He slept much more the trip back than the trip down.
    9. All-in-all: our trip down was infinitely more successful. No stress, and our LO did great.
  4. To the Moms
    1. I know you want to look good. Especially if you plan on date nights. BUT, take my word on this… find ways to just look casual and cute, or you’ll end up looking Like Suzanne Somers after a sweaty episode on Dancing with the Stars. Your LO will interrupt your beauty routine, and you’ll have makeup everywhere and end up half dressed.
    2. I took a few casual summer dresses, which worked out great. I twisted my hair into “mom buns” so that later in the day my hair would have some natural wave to it.
    3. Keep the makeup simple. Less is more.
    4. Take advantage of the time your LO is sleeping to do what you need to do for yourself.

Our Travel Bag Included:

  • Several onesies, for approximately 2 outfit changes per day. A sweater for cold weather. 2 pairs of shorts. 2 pairs of pants. Socks. 1 pair of shoes. 2 pairs of pajamas.
  • Bath Chair that folds flat for a suitcase (Summer Infant)
  • Bath supplies: wash, powder, lotion. Diaper ointment. Nail clippers. A few small bath toys.
  • 2 baby blankets.
  • Quilted pack n’ play sheet.
  • Several toys. Our favorite was the Leap Frog drum
  • Food necessities: Travel spoons (I like Plum Organic’s) Bib that can be wiped off, any bottles or breastfeeding supplies. Take your own formula! And if you prefer organic food for your baby, research your options prior to travel. We found plenty of organic supplies while on vacation.
  • Extra diapers/wipes for travel, (but we bought most of our supply while there.)
  • Medications. Tylenol, saline, Advil, gas drops. Our LO was teething, and we ended up using Tylenol several times.
  • Teethers, if teething.
  • Video monitor. Our LO went to bed before we did, so this was great to keep an eye on him, and didn’t take up much space in our luggage.
  • Sound machine. Our LO doesn’t typically use one, but he wasn’t used to the new sounds and the close proximity (he slept in our room, when he typically sleeps in his own at home.)
  •  Beach: Cabana or umbrella, sunscreen, swim diapers, hat, portable fan.

Best of luck, travelling parents! May the force be with you.

-Katie

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