Leaving the house with a baby ( or babies) seems like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be! Sure, it will be a tad bit more effort than grabbing your purse and running out the door, but it doesn’t have to be a big and stressful hassle either. Since my 10-month-old was born I have flown to the other side of the country, moved to a different state, and stayed in many hotels. From quick trips to the grocery store to long week-long travels, I feel like a pro at traveling with a baby. Here’s the best advice that I can give to new (or seasoned) parents for relieving the stress of travel:
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• When my son was a newborn I didn’t want to constantly take him in and out of his car seat. I bought this travel set and it’s been a great investment! I would pull the easy to open stroller out of the trunk, then snap the car seat into it. I pushed the stroller around the neighborhood, grocery stores, malls, and wherever else I needed to go. I love that with this stroller it grows with my child, so once he was too big for the infant car seat I could still use the stroller without it. The diaper bag that I mentioned in my earlier post clipped right on to the stroller handles so I didn’t have to carry it around. For grocery shopping I purchased this stroller hook and used it to hold the grocery bags while I shopped and worked my way back to the car after checking out.
• There were times when I wanted my son closer to me, or when there wasn’t space for the stroller, such as riding on a subway or going up and down stairs. That’s when my Tula came into play. This baby wearing carrier was truly amazing. It freed my hands to do anything, and kept my baby close to me so I knew he was safe. I even used it around the house so that I could hold him at the same time as doing dishes! It was very comfortable to wear and you can use it to wear your baby on your front, or back (although I never wore Little L on my back because he liked to pull my hair). It also has a pocket on the front for your phone or keys! It comes in many adorable colors and designs. Don’t forget the infant insert for babies 7-15lbs.
• If your baby loves their pacifier then these clips are great for preventing the pacifier from falling on the ground when out and about.
• For overnight stays I invested in the Pack n Play Lite. This portable crib is lightweight, doesn’t take up much room in the trunk of the car, works great as checked luggage for flights, and is super easy to put up and take down. It’s a must have for overnight stays.
2. Don’t Stress Over the Germs
As a first-time mom, I was crazy over germs. I didn’t want to leave the house at all because I feared my baby getting sick. I still require those that spend long periods of time with my baby to get their flu shot, and I still wipe down grocery carts with antibacterial wipes, but I’ve learned that some germs are good. Babies need to come in contact with germs to help build their immune system.
Don’t believe me? Read this post from Johns Hopkins Medicine on how being exposed to things such as pet hair and dander can help prevent asthma development later, and this post on how germs help strengthen immune systems so that their bodies are more equipped to fight the bigger sicknesses they encounter down the road.
My 10-month-old has had 2 colds and the flu in his life so I understand the suffering that the parents and child go through when they are sick, but my son is better for it.
I take my son to playgroups often so he’s exposed to quite a lot of things. The social aspect is important, and the germs build his immune system. There’s no need to have your child sitting near a super sick person, but don’t fear leaving your house because there’s germs outside the door.
I’m not at all a professional, so of course consult your doctor on matters of child health, especially if your child suffers from immune system problems.
3. Plan Accordingly
Are you going to the zoo or beach? Then pack hats, lots of fluids, and sunscreen. Are you going on a plane? Then check airline rules for tickets and TSA’s rules on bringing liquids through security. Being prepared ahead of time can make all the difference in how smooth the travel goes.
4. Decide Ahead of Time
When my son was about 2 months old I was grocery shopping and a lady tried to pat my son’s back. I didn’t know this lady, so I was completely mortified that she would just walk up and touch my baby…. without at least asking first. I didn’t know how to react, so I just let it happen. Strangers for the most part have good intentions, but they don’t realize that mothers really don’t like their babies touched by strangers. After I went home from shopping that day, I sat down and thought about what I was and wasn’t okay with when it came to my baby and strangers. I then rehearsed a couple of kind lines to say to them to let them know that I wasn’t okay with their actions towards my baby. The next time I was in public and an older man came up and started tickling my baby to get him to laugh, I knew exactly what to say to let him know that I disapproved without hurting his feelings. I’ve used lines such as “Please don’t touch my baby, we are trying to avoid any contact with germs”, or “Hi, I usually try to get to know people before they have contact with my baby, so you are more than welcome to talk and smile at him, but please don’t touch him.” Everyone that I’ve told those lines to have been very understanding.
The same can even go with family members and friends. Decide ahead of time what you are and aren’t okay with, and any disapproving actions can be avoided.
It sounds daunting to leave your house and travel with a baby, but the only way to conquer the fear and stress is to get out and do it! The more you leave, the easier it will be. It’s very important too for your child to socialize and get some fresh air. Gather your courage, collect your travel gear, and take the leap into traveling with your baby! You’ll find that you’re pleasantly surprised at how easy it is!