Congratulations! You have become first time parents, and now that you are truly in need of some R&R, your dreams of travel seem to be drifting off into the far future, leaving you wondering if you will ever be able to take a vacation again now that you have a new baby in your life. Expecting parents hear the famous phrase all the time, "Travel before you have kids because once the baby comes... you won't be able to go anywhere." Well, I am here to tell you that this is absolutely not true. Guess what? You can still travel the world with a baby! And, you can enjoy it. Yes, there will be ups and downs, crying (hopefully just the baby) and laughs, but if you plan properly, you can still take that dream vacation. Being prepared is the first step in being able to enjoy your trip together. After all, that cute new baby that brings you so much joy (and sleepless nights) is a part of your life now. So, if you still want to "have a life" post baby, you need to take the plunge and just book that holiday you've been longing for. I promise the anxiety you are feeling while googling hotels will disappear the moment you arrive - if you plan properly. So, here are some travel tips from an experienced traveler and first time mom on how to prepare for your vacation with your new baby.
Choosing your destination
A relaxing beach vacation, eating pizza in Rome, shopping the Grand Bazaar, there are so many options to choose from. And while most places are okay to take your little one too, you still want to do a little research before booking your trip. Things like transportation, medical care, et cetera. are all things you should check out. After all, you wouldn't want to be on a remote island somewhere where the nearest hospital is an hour boat ride away, just in case baby needs a doctor.
This is the scariest part of going away for most parents. Thinking about all the people staring at you while your baby cries the entire flight will make anyone feel doubtful about going somewhere. But trust me, your baby most likely won't cry the entire flight, and a little crying at times is normal (just ignore everyone and try your best to keep baby happy).
When checking in, ask for a bassinet seat. It gives you a place for your baby to sleep, as well as extra legroom, which means extra space to be able to move around with your little one.
Don't b e the first passengers to board. Waiting in your seat with a restless baby for everyone else to find their seats will just make things harder, and you will probably have to make trips to the restroom before everyone else is ready.
Prepare a "surprise bag" of new simple activities, books, crayons and healthy snacks to surprise them with when they start to become restless. Always bring enough snacks, formula, diapers, diaper rash cream, wipes, a change pad and a sippy cup for water.
Bring several bottles if you are using them so you won't have to wash them on the plane. Depending on the length of your flight it may be a good idea to bring a baby fever reducer/pain killer like ibuprofen and a thermometer in your bag, just in case. Don't overdress your baby! Airplanes tend to be stuffy and warm, and a hot uncomfortable baby leads to a fussy baby. Dress your baby in loose, light comfortable clothing and don't forget to pack a minimum of two changes of clothes in the diaper bag for the baby and one for mommy in case of any accidents, plus a plastic zip lock bag to put dirty or wet clothes in. Trust me on this one.
Some hotels offer baby cots or play pens for sleeping and it is a good idea to call ahead and reserve this if they do, as most will have it set up and waiting in your room when you arrive. Research the room before you choose it. Is it somewhat baby friendly? Is the balcony safe for mobile babies? Is there a mini bar fridge to store milk and a kettle for heating water? The hotel can provide you with any additional information if the amenities you are looking for aren't clearly listed.
I know what you're thinking: A baby is so much hard work at home, and they need so much "stuff," so how can you ever go on a vacation somewhere far? You will be tempted to pack everything... but don't. Pack two outfits for every day you will be away, plus pajamas. One sweatshirt, a jacket and a pair of comfy shoes; shoes should get you through your trip. After all, you can always hand wash an item if you really need too.
Packing a basic medicine supply is always a good idea, especially when visiting a foreign country. Only pack the ones your baby uses frequently, such as fever reducers, cold and pain medications, et cetera. A thermometer may come in handy as well.
A small travel friendly stroller is a must wherever you go. It allows you to keep baby comfortable while you sightsee and take naps when the time comes. But do a little research on where you will be vacationing. Are the streets stroller friendly? Is your hotel located on a hill with a million steps? If a stroller will be hard to get around with, a baby carrier might be a good idea.
It will allow you to be hands free, keeping the baby close, while still being able to take all your photos.
Half the stress when traveling with a baby is getting to your destination. Once you arrive, things always fall into place as you settle in. As unpredictable as babies can be, no one knows your baby better than you. So relax, take lots of pictures and enjoy your time together.
Things might not run according to schedule, but in the end, you will create lasting memories and plenty of funny stories to tell your little one later in life about all of your great adventures together.