When I found out I was pregnant, a million thoughts rushed through my brain. Will I be a good mom? Will he/she be healthy? When will I want to stop eating ALL THE PIZZA? We were beyond thrilled, but from what everyone told us, by having a baby, our traveling days were over. Thankfully, the pregnancy was great (minus a few food aversions!) and our beautiful baby boy arrived. He was big, he was happy, and we couldn’t WAIT to start traveling with a baby around the world.
We booked flight to Ireland a couple of weeks after he was born. It was a ten day road trip around the entire coast, with pit stops at various cities, coastal towns, and a special stop to introduce him to my family — and see the house my grandmother grew up in! I spent my 12 week maternity leave researching how to manage a trip like this with a baby. And I’m here to share what I learned: what worked, what didn’t, and how to enjoy it even when things go wrong.
Five reflections on traveling with a baby:
Traveling with a baby: Find your Mama Tribe.
Join an online platform, like Kidbo. It helped me realize that other families are able to incorporate their lives into their new, growing family life. It’s endless inspiration. Seeing other parents rocking the travel world with kids in tow, will make anyone want to dust off their passport. This mama included!
Traveling with a baby: Find the Right Gear
All the baby gear we purchased leading up to the birth were travel sized, light, and portable. I cannot stress enough how much this saved us. Some of my favorites: an extra light weight travel cot (we used a portable pack and play), a clip on high chair, and a baby wearing carrier. My absolute favorite item is a lightweight backpack that we use as a baby bag! (editors note: can add links to my favorite items if you’d like!).
Traveling with a baby: Don’t Forget that People Around The World Have Babies
You won’t have to worry about finding diapers, wipes, even formula in Europe. Actually, in the UK, formula, according to some standards, are much better quality than the brands in the US. I may or may not have bought out the stock in Boots Pharmacy our last day!
Traveling with a baby: Remembering Forgiveness.
As a new mom, I realized there were going to points where I was going to mess up. Don’t stress out if your child’s naps or bedtime becomes disrupted. You’re traveling! I pumped in our rental car more times that I can count, and shed numerous tears on the flight home with a fussy baby. It will be ok. Give yourself a break — and a pint of the good stuff (you’re in Ireland!). Tomorrow is a new day — and everything isn’t as bad as it feels.
Traveling with a baby: Remembering Patience.
Above all, be patient. You’ll have to change a baby in the most inopportune moments (lots of park benches!) and having a baby forces you to slow down. Meals aren’t as enjoyable as they used to be, so I recommend not plopping down the bucks on those. Have a couple of nice meals of course, but stick to the casual route. You’ll save time, money, and your sanity.