When you first become a parent, you might think it’s darn near impossible to travel with a baby. Not so! Sure, it’s obviously more challenging than flying solo or making the trek with your significant somebody, but it’s quite doable if you prepare in advance and build in flexibility into your travel plans.
The biggest key is to make everywhere you go feel as close to home for your baby. After all, it’s the only environment (other than the womb!) where he or she has spent long periods of time so far. Anything new can be very scary and easily bring on spells of crying, tantrums of screaming and flash floods of diaper wetting-not to mention all-out exhaustion for you in coping. So take along the clothing, blankets, foods, toys and anything else that’s soothing for your baby. Sure, it’ll be extra stuff to look after, but the potential peace of mind is priceless!
If you are flying, check with the airline on their policies on infant passengers. For example, many require newborn babies to be more than 7 days old or even more than 14 days old. And while lap babies (under age 2) often fly free, it still pays to check given all the financial struggles airlines have gone through in recent years. The last thing you want is a scene at the airport ticket counter, which could be quite unnerving for Baby.
For road trips, plan enough rest stops along the way and bring along some music that will keep your baby calm as you venture through new territory. DVDs of children’s videos are another great pastime for long trips. You will never be more grateful to Barney the purple dinosaur or your child’s favorite cartoon characters than after a long car ride.
When you get to your travel destination, take enough time in between activities for Baby to rest. It’s important to plan your activities around your little one’s needs and natural cycles. Do that and you’ll get far more enjoyment out of your own “parental play times.”
And who knows….You just might have more fun than you ever thought possible. Babies are people magnets, which means you’ll probably meet more new people on your trip than ever before! Live it up and laugh it up with them while Baby sleeps soundly or is quietly absorbed in his or her new surroundings.
So before you start longing for the “good old days” when you could bum around with but a backpack and a boarding pass, remember the new benefits you’ve got with a little one now in tow. Embrace your new reality. Just think….Once you learn how to travel with a baby, your own world will expand immeasurably.