Even though Henrik is only five months old, he’s got three hotel stays and an overnight stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s under his belt. As we were packing for our most recent trip, I looked at my husband and said “There really is no traveling light with an infant, is there?”
The first hotel stay of Henrik’s was when he was eight weeks old. My husband had been in Germany for work for a week and Henrik and I drove to Des Moines to pick him up – which meant it was up to me to get everything he needed packed and in the car. Talk about daunting – I had never traveled with an infant before and had no clue what I might need. Somehow both Henrik and I made it in the car with all his gear, which was a win in my book.
The second trip, after working all day and traveling right after work, by the time we got to the hotel room, I just wanted to put my baby to bed, pump and go to sleep myself. When I went to pump I found that I had forgotten both flanges for the pump at home. By that time, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart was the only store left open and was 15 minutes away. I had no choice, but to go. Once I got there, I got the last flange left on the shelf – problem was, there was only one and I needed two, but had to make due with pumping one side at a time.
I am by no means an expert in travel with a baby. I hear stories of taking babies on planes and I have no clue how parents make it through such trips with their sanity in tack. But I thought I’d share a few things that I find helpful when traveling with a baby:
1.) Package baby’s outfits in large Ziploc bags. This helps keep things organized once you get to your destination.
2.) Make a list. I am a list person – the night before we leave, I make a list of things we’ll need for the trip and try to make the last thing I do before I leave, checking the list.
3.) Plan for stops. Our last trip took us four hours pre-baby. So for this trip, we planned on 5.5. This made it far less stressful when we arrived in just under five hours.
4.) Make a food plan for baby. I am still pumping/nursing Henrik and he is not eating any solids. So my days are still planned around my pump and his nutritional needs. For each of our trips, I take inventory of the milk I can bring with us and make a plan for when I can pump. I bought a car adapter for my pump, so I can pump and feed Henrik fresh milk, without having to stop. This makes it so we only have to stop to change his diaper, which expedites the trip.
5.) Go with the flow. The nice part about having a baby is no one is ever surprised or offended if you show up late because baby decided he or she needed to eat as you are leaving the house. I am one who likes a game plan, but I am learning quickly that when it comes to babies, plans are meant to be changed.
Do you have any special tips for traveling with an infant?