You can expect them to sleep. You can expect them to cry. You can expect them to feed, and you can expect them to spit up. Newborn babies are wonderfully predictable in their unpredictability, but I bet it wouldn’t occur to you to travel with one. As a first-time mom, I wouldn’t have believed it, but the tinier the traveler, the easier the travel companion. My thinking with our second was that I was nursing around the clock anyway, I may as well be sleep-deprived with a refreshing change of scenery!
Whether you were an avid traveler pre-baby, or just took the occasional jaunt, the way you travel will certainly be different, and you’ll need to figure out your game plan in advance. To get you started, here are three quick tips to get you ready for that first trip with baby.
If you’re planning on traveling when Junior is really teeny, you’ll need to get started while he’s still a passenger inside you! Get your ducks in a row when it comes to fast-tracking the birth certificate – especially if you’ll be traveling internationally and need to get baby a passport. Double check with your airline what their minimum age limit is for babies. Most is as young as a few days.
Use a detailed packing list, and double check that you can get what you need if you plan on buying stuff at your destination. You don’t need to pack everything and the kitchen sink, either. You can usually rent much of your gear needs or use social media to survey friends and family for loaners if they happen to live near where you’ll be visiting. If you’ll be flying, your carry-on will be your lifeline, so be sure to use a detailed packing list for that as well.
You’ll be tired. You’ll be stressed. Don’t add to any of that by over-scheduling your days or jamming your itinerary full of excursions. Newborns are portable, but you may not be feeling your usual, active self. Plan for easy outings, and make sure you always have extra diapers and clothes on hand – for baby and for you. You can expect newborns to poop. A lot. Especially when you’re holding them.
Corinne McDermott is mom to Megan and Riley, and founder of Have Baby Will Travel (www.havebabywilltravel.com) – your guide to family travel with babies, toddlers, and young children. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.