OurOyster.com became a project of three on February 21st 2013. Our son, little Jacob, has changed our lives in a million different ways and travel is definitely one of them.
During his first three months we didn’t do as much travel as we had hoped to. The first month of his life saw me slowly recovering from his c section birth. Even now I still have tenderness around the incision scar. I have been able to become more and more active now, but in the first month after his birth I could only move around very slowly and carefully.
On his first month birthday, we finally learned that the neck pain that has plagued Dan for the last year was more serious then we thought. Dan had to immediately and permanently leave his job, had to give up driving, and could only engage in very light activity.
So now as we near the conclusion of Jacob’s third month, we don’t have much travel to look back on. However we have managed several smaller excursions which has given us a taste of travelling with an infant. Stay tuned to the end of the post where we will shout out to some other blogs who also travel with infants for those seeking further information.
Travelling With A Baby – The Challenges
Everyone said that travelling with a baby would be challenging. But I have to admit – I didn’t really believe them that much. That was the whole reason I did my travelling with children interview series. Also I spent most of 2009 living with a family in Belgium as a live in nanny, looking after their three children. But even that did not prepare me for the almost military precision that it now takes to leave the house at a pre specified time.
I mean how hard can it be? An infant only has a few needs, they sleep most of the day, and they don’t have any opinions. As far as I was concerned, this meant that Mom and Dad could mostly do what they pleased as long as baby was fed and watered.
The only real thing that I worried about when it came to travelling with an infant was the amount of extra things we would need to pack.
In reality, although we ended up buying way more gear for this child then he will ever need (but those outfits are just sooooo cute!), he doesn’t really need much of anything in the way of gear. All he needs is a car seat, stroller or sling, a safe place to sleep, and appropriate attire. Oh and diapers. But we will present a more comprehensive packing list later.
The real challenge in travelling with a baby has been keeping all his needs met. And his opinions. The me who thought babies didn’t have opinions was sorely wrong. He certainly does have some very strong opinions – and he a has a very loud voice to go along with them.
And he is hungry ALL THE TIME. I thought that I would be able to exclusively breast feed him. I was mistaken there as well. If I had gone down that route I would never be able to leave the couch. And with all the stress and running around we had to do with Dan’s medical condition it just was not feasible. But even with bottle feeding, a much larger portion of the day is taken up with preparing bottles, cleaning bottles, and feeding a screaming child. Much more than I had anticipated.
Travelling With A Baby – The Benefits
There are some benefits to travelling with a very young child. One is that they are not very interested in toys at this stage. So that cuts down on the packing list right there. Also they don’t really care where you take them, which means you can still engage in activities that only interest Mom and Dad. Although you may need to quickly vacate the art gallery if baby decides to have a tantrum.
People love babies. Having a small child is a great way to meet with and interact with the local population. Everyone seems to love little babies and they are much more likely to come over and start up a conversation with you. Although some people I have spoken to eventually do get tired of all the attention their little one may bring, I have so far been nothing but grateful to hand off my screaming child to anyone else if it buys me a moment peace.
And of course the main benefit – Mom and Dad get to spend quality time with baby. They grow so fast and are out of the newborn stage so quick, that having this time to spend with them is something you can never get back later. This is also the time of first smiles and first giggles.
Travelling With An Infant 0 – 3 Months Packing List
- Diapers, wipes and change mat – we have a great reusable change mat that we use when going out and about, but you can also buy disposable ones as well. I find the reusable mat great as it keeps everything we need together. Expect to pack 10 diapers for each day.
- Bottles and formula if not breastfeeding. You may also want to consider a portable bottle warmer or bottle sterilizer as well.
- Infant sling or stroller (or both – cause they get heavy to wear after a while!)
- Portable cot. We use the Phil & Ted’s nest. It is so compact and light and super easy to assemble. The carry case also doubles as a suitcase and since most airlines let you check a portacot for no additional cost, it is like a free extra piece of luggage. It is only suitable for babies under 9 months, although ours will probably grow out of it before then.
- Clothes, wraps and blankets. Since young babies are not yet crawling, they don’t have too many opportunities to get themselves dirty, so you wont need as many changes of clothes for them at this age as you will later on. I also pack one or two muslin wraps to use as a light blanket and to swaddle him for bedtime. I also bring a warmer fleece blanket for cooler nights as well.
Travelling with an infant is probably one of the easier times to travel, despite their frequent feeding requirements. At this stage they don’t need any toys to keep them engaged – just being talked to by Mom and Dad is enough stimulation for them. Also they don’t need many clothes, so it is possible to pack (relatively) light.
Unfortunately, due to bad luck and medical dramas, we didn’t get to travel with Jacob as much as we would have liked in his first three months. To read about other families travelling with small babies, check out these interviews from Portable Professionals and The Traveling Canucks.