Okay, so I am by no means a professional at this whole mom gig, but my husband and I just took our first big trip with baby in tow. The trip was a combo plane/road trip (five flights and 10 hours driving in total). Here are some of tips and lessons we learned along the way…
1. When in doubt, PACK IT! This motto has never been my mantra before. No matter whether we are traveling to Charleston or Capri my husband and I like to pack all of our belongings in a carry-on bag in order to save time and possible lost possessions. That rule was out the window with a baby in tow. When you are traveling with a little one extra baby wipes, toys, books, pacifiers, etc… are not creature comforts, they are lifesavers!
2. Baby Carriers are the way to go. I want to KISS the makers of the ERGOBABY carrier. They made our life so much easier. Our little girl quickly outgrew the cheaper carrier that I registered for when I was pregnant (rookie mom mistake). In hindsight I should have spent the extra mulah up front and bought a carrier that would hold up to 45lbs and checked the reviews for which one was most popular. I ended up getting the one we took on the trip secondhand from a friend at just a fraction of the price. Addie loves to be held and she often cat naps in it!
3. Leave the Stroller! We used the stroller a total or two times on the trip and it was a big hassle pushing it up hills and packing it in the car! Also, it was super inconvenient having to check it on the plane.
4. IF you have to take the stroller, GATE CHECK it! This way you get the benefit of using the stroller while you are in the airport and you get it right as you get off the plane instead of at the baggage claim carousel.
5. Don’t go it alone! Travelling with our best friends made it so much easier. When hubby was tired of driving he could switch off with Justin. If I couldn’t make Addie happy, Aunt Meri could make a silly face and get her to laugh. You know the saying…”it takes a village…”
6. Plan for some down town. We like to go go go on vacation, and for the most part we were able to keep a pretty jam packed itinerary, however it was important to plan a bit of down time in the morning or in the evening of every day. Addie just wants to roll around in the floor from time to time so it was best if we already had time scheduled out in the day that was just for her.
7. Use a Mesh Feeder. Feeding an infant on the road can be difficult, especially one who is used to having homemade baby food. I was able to take a banana or avocado and place them in her mesh feeder to eat. I didn’t have to worry about her chocking in the airport or out for the day, and she was still able to get in some solid foods.
8. Practice nursing in public. For me, nursing my baby is something I have become surprisingly passionate about, but it can still be a bit awkward in unknown public places. Make sure you bring a cover up that you have practiced with and that the baby and you are both comfortable with if you decide to go that route.
9. Bring a hand pump. Hand pumps are small and take up relatively little space. I did not use mine on the trip, however I felt more secure knowing that if I decided to make a reservation at the SPA or just have daddy feed the baby I had the option.
10. Disposable Bibs are life savers. We learned this the hard way….I packed a few of both types of bibs, but those soiled cloth bibs start to smell pretty ripe after a few days.
11. Ziploc bags are a mama’s best friend! I always keep a stash of these in Addie’s bag. They work great for blow out diapers when you don’t have a trashcan handy, soiled bibs and cloths, extra pacifiers, mesh eaters, bows, etc…
12. Pack baby outfits in ziploc bags. If you pack the complete outfit, complete with socks and bows, you won’t have to worry about that microscopic missing sock!
13. Stay in a vacation rental (think VRBO, AIRBNB, HOMEAWAY) instead of a hotel. You will have so many more comforts from home, more space, and a unique perspective for the same price as a budget hotel room.
14. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Yes, you baby may have a blow out in the middle of Yosemite. Yes, you may have to change her on a tree stump because the ranger station is closed. Yes, you may receive cheers from a whole bus full of onlookers, but you will make some the best memories of you life along the way!