Traveling with Baby During the Holidays
The holidays are such a magical time for everyone. Parents get to experience Christmas through their kids' eyes, we get to be generous with our friends and family and the whole holiday season is centered around experiences with family.
However, that means going to family's homes for day long events or traveling completely out of town for multiple days. Which also means: packing ALL THE THINGS for baby, stressing about their eating and sleep routine, exposing them to sicknesses, the anxiety of having to tell family members "no" or "we have to leave early." It can really put a lot of stress on parents so I want to provide some suggestions to make traveling easier with baby & how to anticipate those challenges that could arise.
1. If you have worked hard to create a schedule and routine for your little one, stick. to. it. Aunt Mary & Grandma Doris may beg you to skip their nap or your family meal might be during a sleep time but as the parent, you have the right to tell them that you'd like to make sure they get their sleep! Do you want a fussy baby or a happy baby? Also, when it comes to baby's sleep, be sure to bring the items you need to simulate bedtime/nap time at home. If you use sleep sacks, sound machine, etc. Bring it! It might be a pain in the butt to haul a pack-n-play but the reason why they're so popular and great for traveling is because they simulate a crib.
2. If you aren't using a sound machine, now would be a great time to start. Use it during the holidays so he/she won't be able to hear the commotion of things going on in the house. Also, more often than not, you will have to share a room with baby so having a sound machine will help all parties get a good night sleep.
3. Have a conversation with your family, parents, siblings beforehand about sleeping arrangements and general plans about meals, special events, etc. Having a plan and communicating it to all will set everyone up for success and there will be no surprises! Sleeping arrangements/rooms is a conversation my family has every time we travel to Cincinnati because we just want to be on the same page before we arrive so we can fully engage with just being together.
4. Until I had kids, I was not one who tried to prevent sickness. Since having kids, I do my very best to try and keep them and myself healthy and take precautions to avoid a snotty nose at all cost. Going into family's houses and being in public exposes them to viruses, germs, sicknesses so encourage a lot of hand washing wherever you go- before and after they eat. Wash hands after diaper changes. Ask kindly for family members to wash hands before touching baby or carry around hand sanitizer.
5. It's okay to say no. It's okay to have to skip a certain event, activity or gathering because it might be too exhausting for you and your little one(s). It doesn't mean that you don't love your family or friends, it doesn't mean that you don't want to spend time with them.. it might just mean you need a break. And it's okay to communicate that to your family. As my husband always says, "you can say anything in the right way."
6. If you are traveling a farther distance (more than an hour), travel during nap or bedtime. It be at an inconvenient time for you and/or family but with baby sleeping in the car it will be a smoother car ride. If sleeping in the car doesn't generally go over well with your little one, simulate sleep time as much as possible- sound machine on your phone, special blanket, maybe even let him/her wear jammies. If you leave at a time when it is not a normal sleep time, go ahead and mentally prepare yourself to sit in the back with them and be fully engaged keeping them occupied. Having you close automatically comforts babies and you can change out toys/distractions easily.
7. It's okay to say yes. As my toddlers (I now have a 3 YO & 2 YO-- cue the tears), have gotten a little older, I've realized it's okay to let them stay up a little later. It's okay to skip a nap every now and then. It's okay to want to experience all the Holiday things with your kids because I know eventually, it won't be the same. It's okay to allow grandparents to spoil your kids. It's okay to let them eat more than one cookie because we know that tomorrow, we will go back to our normal routine.
Number 7 probably sounds very contradicting to the previous 5 since I encouraged maintaining sleep routine and setting boundaries with family (all of which are important). But what I want you to remember is that Holidays and time spent with family is everything. Allow family members to cuddle your little one. Let them change the diapers if they want to. Let there be chaos and loudness because large family gatherings don't happen frequently. Don't be so bogged down by the stress of taking care of your baby that you miss out on Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions with your family.
If you have specific questions, I'd love to help!
Send me an email or comment below!
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