Travelling with Baby
If you are a mom with a new baby, you may soon be lamenting that your personal “vacation party days” are over–probably for good. Your future vacations are going to be primarily dedicated to special family time. As my oldest daughter once said to me, when I informed her that Daddy and I were going away alone for three days, “There can be no vacation without your children.” Welcome to your child’s world view.
Hopefully, you will advise your children that there is such a thing as a parent’s time out. But in the meantime, travelling with little ones in tow can be a huge challenge. Not just for you, but for perfect strangers who sit next to you in airplanes, stand behind you in concession lines, and observe in amazement as your child goes completely ballistic because the unfamiliar surroundings, noises, people, and schedule have pushed your little one into overdrive.
How can you get the stress out of travel and “fun” into vacation? Since I have personally taken refuge with the locals at a bus stop with packets of food wrapped in foil and my breast in hand to comfort a hungry hot baby, I know your pain. With the input of others I offer the following suggestions:
1. Plan your travel time during a time of day when your baby is likely to sleep. Airplanes are close quarters and there is really no place for your little one to stretch out, crawl, or have tummy time.
2. Babies love being held, but even the most dedicated parent will find their arms need a break at some point. A baby carrier offers an easy way to keep your child close and comforted while freeing your hands to do other things.
3. Pack a separate small carry-on with a few of baby’s favorite things. Baby Einstein takes pride in its “on the go” products including the Discovery Kits, Books, and Toys that will entertain baby while travelling.
4. No matter where you are in the world, there is no better stress reducer for the family than making sure baby has the right amount of sleep EVERY DAY you travel, balanced against the right amount of food. Babies tend to be fussy and inconsolable when their sleep patterns are off, so adhere to a sleep regimen as much as possible.
5. There is just one travel problem that may be unavoidable. Resolving the ear pain as the plane descends can be unbearable and all you can do is encourage baby to suck for the 15-20 minutes of crying that is likely to ensue. Just make sure you’ve got that one last packet of milk ready.
6. Last, but not least, BE RELAXED yourself. I once saw a mother sit on the floor between the rows of seats and begin to go into dramatic play before the seat belt sign was turned off. I’m sure her baby was mortified; she actually turned away and pretended to be traveling alone as an unaccompanied minor. You don’t want to be that mom, EVER.