Last Friday, my husband and I packed up the baby and all of her gear and headed out to the desert for the long weekend. We rented a house with a group of our closest friends, and planned to spend the whole time by the pool. I envisioned myself perched up on a lounger with a cocktail in one hand and a magazine in the other. Go ahead and laugh at my foolishness, mamas. You know you want to, because traveling with a baby (even for a quick little getaway) is no walk in the park.
My Instagram highlighted perfect moments from our trip, but what you didn’t see in my carefully curated feed were all the struggles that come when you travel with a baby. Nope, you won’t see a photo of Lily refusing to eat foods she usually enjoys, nor will you see a post about how she would wake up a measly hour after we put her down for bed (so much for a late night dip in the jacuzzi). Despite some of these baby hang ups, we actually had a good time, but I think it was because we were as prepared as we could be. Even so, there is always something new to learn when it comes to parenting, and traveling with baby is no different.
Start a packing list weeks before you go.
I’m a list addict, and I’m always afraid that I’m going to forget something important. A packing list is the perfect way to ensure you remember to bring everything you may need for baby. I start my list early so that I can continue to add to it as needed. As for what goes on that list, you want to cover all your bases, but don’t go overboard. Carefully consider what items are most important to take care of your baby while away. Make sure to pack plenty of the essentials (diapers, wipes, baby food), and limit the unnecessary stuff (too many toys, too many outfits). Take your accommodations, the climate, and what kind of activities you will be doing into consideration when making your packing list.
Bring a few containment options.
Between my husband and my girlfriends, I had a lot of people I could hand the baby off to on this trip. Still, there were plenty of times when there were no arms available to hold her, like when we were all huddled in the kitchen tackling dinner for 8 people. My husband and I were debating whether or not to bring our Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Playard, and I’m so happy we decided to take it with us. It’s portable and easy to pop open, so we were able to move it from outside to inside with no hassle. You’ll also want to think about where the baby will sleep. Consider bringing a portable bassinet or a Pack ‘n Play. We brought our Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper for nap time. This rocker also folds up, making it convenient for travel.
Don’t forget the baby monitor.
The baby monitor wasn’t on my original packing list. It only came to mind a few days before our getaway, and I immediately added it to the list because there was no way I was going to bed when the baby did. Each night we would put Lily down in our room, set up the baby monitor, and then join our friends for a cocktail and a game of Cards Against Humanity. The baby monitor allowed us to keep an eye on our sleeping angel (yeah right), while we enjoyed our grown up time. It also allowed us to continue playing in the pool while she napped in the house.
Make a game plan with your partner.
Prior to your trip, sit down with your spouse and discuss who will be on baby duty when. Assuming the majority of your vacation is spent together as a family, there may still be some instances when one parent needs a break. For example, if mom books herself a spa day, then dad better make sure he’s free to watch the little one. The same goes for mom, if dad should reserve a tee time for golf. Take turns putting the baby down for naps, changing diapers, and feeding, if possible. If mom breast feeds, dad can make her a plate of food or get her a glass of water. Make putting the baby down for bed a team effort. Someone is bound to feel resentment if they are stuck each night trying to get the baby to sleep while their partner is sipping a margarita and simmering in the hot tub.
You’re traveling with a baby. It’s doubtful that everything will go according to plan. Leave some wiggle room in your itinerary, just in case. You never know when an unexpected poo-explosion may happen. Try not to book any activities that aren’t easy to reschedule or that are non-refundable. My biggest piece of advice when traveling with a baby is to go with the flow. After all, you are traveling with a baby!
Got any tips of your own for traveling with a baby? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Post in the comments section below!