Traveling with a baby (or more!) Traveling with a baby (or two!) can be difficult, especially if it’s your first trip. Everyone has a different opinion on the best and worst way to travel with your family. Corinne McDermott, a guest blogger at Have Baby Will Travel, encourages you to ignore the critics and find a solution for everyone.
You may have just welcomed a child into the world, or you are a seasoned traveler who has a bump that looks like a watermelon.
There are very few exclamations that you will hear. My personal favorite is “It’s very selfish.” Babies need routine, and they don’t like to wander around the world.
As a mother, I can confirm that babies have a routine. It is important to make new routines when traveling. However, I believe that infants are more adaptable if they have a break from the routine. Babies want to be with their parents, and if it makes mom and dad happy, so be it.
You won’t be choosing a conflict zone to become a parent. Instead, you will choose a location with easy access to healthcare. Smaller babies are less likely to get sick, but you have greater control over who they interact with when they’re very young.
Is it difficult to travel with a baby? Yes, traveling with a baby can be difficult. However, we love to travel without our babies. It is more work than just packing a few diapers in your backpack. But it doesn’t make it less worthwhile.
You’ll need to have the right things for your baby. Babies require food, so you will need to provide it. You’ll need to provide safe sleeping conditions for your baby. While hostels are great for single travelers, they can be dangerous for babies. You will need to adjust your pace. Trying to squeeze as much into your day as possible will only make you tired and cranky. Your expectations will need to change. You may be disappointed if your travel plans don’t change.
Before my daughter was born, I knew everything about motherhood. I had read the books and done the research. I was prepared. From the moment she arrived, everything was completely out of my control. I didn’t feel normal for nearly nine months. She was a very adaptable and easy-going baby who would have made a wonderful tiny traveler. But I didn’t feel ready to take that leap until she was almost one. “Smug daddy” and “sanctimony” would occasionally tut-tut about how they just slung their baby in a sling, and they set off hiking the Inca Trail/trek to Rwandan gorillas/summit mountain. The baby and Everest fit right into their lives. This was not my experience.
These are some key tips to help you get started.
1. Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, and it’s also the easiest food you can prepare while on the road. Breastfeeding eliminates the need to lug bottles, nipples, and sterilizing equipment. Breastfeeding will also help your baby develop antibodies that can protect you from illness while you are away.
2. You can use a sling or a baby carrier. A sling can be used to carry your baby, and however, it can also serve as a blanket or a nursing cover. Many lightweight cloth baby carriers offer great support and can be stored in a small space.
3. A stroller is more than just a vehicle for transporting children. A lightweight stroller or an all-terrain one will be appropriate depending on the type of travel you choose. However, don’t skimp here. Strollers that are lightweight and easy to maneuver can be folded up easily. Strollers can provide shade in warmer climates, as carriers and slings can become too uncomfortable.
4. Buy or pack plenty of wipes. Traveling parents will find diaper wipes to be a great friend. They are useful for their intended purpose and clean up any spit-up or sticky hands and face. They can be used to clean all surfaces you or your baby might need. You can make the unpleasant situations in public bathrooms a bit more bearable by using disposable wipes or hand sanitizer.
5. Do not over-schedule. You’ll feel exhausted and overwhelmed if you try to fit too much into your day and onto your trip. You can find places and activities that are safe and easy for your baby on the local parenting websites. The climbable monument/jungle trek/coral Reef has been around for a while and will be there when your child gets old enough.