The euphoria and pain of childbirth has worn away and you start wanderlusting again. Is it possible to travel with your baby?
You’re probably a little freaked out, scared, and maybe a little too drained to care. But, you still wonder is travelling with your baby possible, easy, too-hard basket, or just a ridiculous daydream.
I have sooo many new mothers (or even those who haven’t had kids yet) tell me they can’t travel with a baby. My response is always – yes you can. In fact, its one of the easiest ages to travel with kids!
I know it sounds hard with all that nappy (diaper) changing and feeding and sleep routines. But, babies can be so darn good at slipping into your life.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing posts on the pros and cons of traveling with kids at various ages. I’m asked all the time, and I only have limited experience to the age of 8. I’ve been traveling with both my girls since they were born so can give you experienced advice up until 8.
I’ve called on some family travel experts to offer some extra insights and tips to fill in the gaps.
My belief is that parenting is hard no matter the age, nor where you are, so you might as well travel and fill up the moments in between with meaningful memories. you can make it work and enrich your family life in doing so.
Our experiences travelling with a baby
Kalyra was only a newborn when she had her first flight for domestic travel -possibly only a month or so old. (I can’t remember – baby brain!) She was six months old for her first international trip to Fiji for a friend’s wedding and staying at a resort. She’s been a breeze to travel with ever since. It’s so worth training them from an early age.
Savannah was six weeks for her first domestic travel and was eight weeks old for her first overseas trip to New Zealand for a short road trip on the north island. As you can see, our destination choices for traveling with a baby are not too intense.
Both girls had their first major outing at 4 days old. Kalyra to a conference with me, Savannah to Taronga Zoo. Everyone thought we were mad, but I felt fine and the girls loved being snuggled up to me all day and being adored by everyone walking past.
Things to consider when travelling with a baby
It’s important to consider your personality. If you’re anxious, structured, extra cautious, then it might not be a great idea for you to travel with a baby.
Perhaps start off slow, with short trips away so you can test it. The last thing you want to do is put time, energy and money into a travel experience and hate it.
Your baby’s personality
They may all seem so snuggly and cute, but every baby has their own personality. You’ll get to know yours pretty quick.
If you feel they have a relaxed temperament and love to hang out with you all day, then travel may work well for them. If they’re a bit cranky and love a bit of structure and routine they may not be so suited.
Sometimes the only way to find out is to give it a go. You won’t ruin them in doing so.
It’s not a great idea to travel with a baby if you, or they aren’t in optimal health. I mean outside of sleep deprivation. If everything else is going okay, then you’re good to go.
For tired parents, consider the style you travel in. You may want to opt for organised tours, resort stays and easy maintenance travel. It all depends on what you feel you can manage.
Breastfeeding when you travel
I traveled with my girls when I breastfed and when I bottle fed. Breastfeeding is much easier. Depending on where you are, finding the right formula could be a problem. Research ahead. You can always take your own (although its extra luggage) or travel to those places where you can easily access the formula you require.
Here’s a post with useful breastfeeding tips for when you travel.
Luggage for babies
How much luggage are you going to need? You don’t need much room for clothes as they are so small. It’s more for nappies, strollers and baby seats. One reason we love road trips so much is that you can carry more things with you.
When we traveled to New Zealand with Savannah, our Baby Bjorn saved us from taking our stroller everywhere with us. Savannah loved being carried around in that all day.
Read More – Must have products for travelling with a baby
The ideal destination for babies
There’s a lot you’re managing when you travel with a baby. Choose your destination wisely. Some destinations are more ideal for babies than others. Make it as easy on yourself as you can.
Read More – Travelling to South America with a baby
PROS of travelling with a baby
- They don’t do much else but eat and sleep
- You can easily feed them (if you’re breastfeeding)
- You can travel with them for free
- They slot right into where ever you are and what you’re doing
- Snuggling them all day while they sleep in your baby carrier is so delightful
PROS from our family travel experts:
- You can stick them in a carrier and still do pretty much what you would have before kids like museums, restaurants etc. If they are younger than 6 months and breastfed then you don’t have to worry about food either. Sharon from wheressharon.com
- They’re free! No extra costs for plane seats, meals, entrances to museums or parks etc. Christine from adventurebaby.org
- They’re so portable at this age that you can pretty much take them anywhere. And babies are the ultimate icebreaker – you’ll find the locals welcoming you with open arms and fingers at the ready for pinching those gorgeous chubby cheeks. Aleney from boyeatsworld.com.au
- They have no opinion. They just come with you and are happy as long as it’s you and them, anything else doesn’t matter. Erin from explorewitherin.com
- When we had our first son, the thought of traveling with a baby was terrifying! But, we soon got the hang of it and it really is one of the easiest times to travel. They are not mobile, they will sleep in either a stroller or a baby carrier (our first preferred the baby carrier, our second like the stroller). I breastfeed so I didn’t have any worry about food, and we never had to worry about a bed. Baby either slept with us, or in a crib. Nicole Wears from traveling canucks.
- Under 6 months, my twins just slept on a plane – the noise of the engine was like white noise that put them straight out. www.justgoplacesblog.com
CONS of travelling with a baby
- You may be exhausted from lack of sleep
- A lack of routine and schedule may upset baby
- You may return home with an unsettled baby because there has not been a routine
- Too much luggage
- If they get sick, you’ll freak out.
CONS of traveling with a baby from our family travel experts:
- Nap times can be annoying if your baby doesn’t nap well when out and about. Going out at night can be an issue as well. There can be a lot of extra baggage. Sharon wheressharon.com
- If you have a hard, non-sleeping baby (like I did!) it can be exhausting and miserable to travel with a baby! They also need a lot of extra stuff like nappies and baby food. Christine adventurebaby.org
- There’s so much extra stuff to pack and lug about. And it’s important to stick to routines and baby’s sleep and feeding schedules can and will slow things down so you wont be able to fit as much into your days. Aleney boyeatsworld.com.au
- Shuddering with horror at the memory of travelling with our oldest son as a baby in Pakistan. He NEVER slept in a new bed, we stayed awake for hours at night with him. (Turned out to have autism spectrum which explained the horror trips we had with him as a baby. In retrospect, we should never have travelled much with any of the kids as babies – shudder, never again! Seana Smith www.hellosydneykids.com.au
- Even though they are so small they need a lot more things from diapers to a change of clothes or two every day to bottles. Erin from Explore with Erin
- Our boys never slept well in a new environment so we never got as good of a sleep as we do at home (they are better now at 2 and 4). And we always packed a lot of stuff for our babies and we normally used everything we brought, so carry-on luggage is no longer an option. Nicole’s 13 tips for successful baby travel.
- With twins, you always have to travel with two adults. Airlines don’t let you travel with two babies because they need an adult per baby to put on safety equipment if there is an emergency. justgoplacesblog.com