The best strategy for a fun-filled adventure with your baby is making sure to prepare them long before you travel. When Oliver was about 8 weeks old, we had our first trip overseas, to be honest, I was freaking out and didn’t feel 100% confident. As I’m a first-time mum and also haven’t travelled all that much, the whole ordeal felt draining, however, I wasn’t going to let that stop our trip to New Zealand or future trips being ones to remember (in all the best ways). When Oliver turned 6 weeks old, I started to prepare him for his first big adventure, here are the things I felt that made a difference.
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Getting baby car ready
If you know you’re going to be in the car for extended periods of time, it’s best to take your little one on as many mini road trips as possible. We took Oliver all over the place as often as we could, he loves the car! Chances are they will sleep the whole time, everyone knows babies love the motion of the car. We also would recommend you don’t do late driving as it could be hard to get your little one to sleep once you have arrived at your final destination for the evening.
Embracing the baby carrier
Oliver at first wasn’t a fan of the baby carrier, he also didn’t like to be swaddled, so maybe it had something to do with being restricted. We combated this by going on daily walks with baby unhappily in a carrier at first, then after a few days, we had won him over! Now the carrier is still his favourite mode of transport even at 8 months of age. I have added in a link to help anyone who is unsure about how to use a baby carrier or sling safely.
Sleeping like a pro
Setting a routine before travelling! While travelling it’s hard to keep a routine, this can sometimes make babies fret, they like the predictably it makes them feel safe. The late afternoon/ night was the only time we knew we would be in a set place, we used this time to have a consistent bedtime ritual that we have followed since Oliver was 4 weeks old. The routine is milk, bath/shower, book, cuddles and then it was time for bed (adding in things as he ages e.g. solids). We use this routine when travelling or just at home.
What also helped was having Oliver sleeping in his travel cot while at home in his bedroom, once he was used to that change, we stayed at a family members house and had him sleep in his travel cot. The slow and small changes really helped Oliver feel comfortable when sleeping in his travel cot no matter where we were.
Now that Oliver is 8 months, what we really found helpful is to have a consistent sleep teddy/blanket that he has to sleep with every night. We even give it to him when in the car or on a flight. He now knows when he’s cuddling, chewing or holding that item it’s sleep time.
Baths Vs Showers
Okay, we know that when you think of cleaning your munchkin you’ll always straight away think – bath. At home, we would bath Oliver over a shower. However, we began to think about the fact that some places we travel might not have baths. This made us start getting Oliver used to having a shower at home. It’s notone-personson process like a bath. You’ll need one holding them in the shower and another soaping them up, washing them off and then the second person has to stay dry to grab a towel. He loves both baths and showers and now we don’t need to stress about always booking a place with a bath. We have also bathed Oliver in kitchen sinks and laundry tubs, he loves them all.
Feeding in all environments
I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed which made traveling and feeding easier, the only difficult part was Oliver not getting distracted by the busy environments around us. As time went on, he got used to feeding in all places busy or quiet. I can’t stress this enough, whether breast or bottle fed, make sure you feed your baby somewhere other than your house before you take them traveling. Head to the park, your local shopping centre anywhere different and feed them. You’ll thank me later!
I can’t stress enough why you should travel as much as you can while your baby is exclusively milk fed, it’s so easy! However, that doesn’t last forever, as your babies get older, they need real food. What better way to get them used to eating all textures, flavours and spices then by cooking lots of different cuisines at home before you go to a certain country (or even just because!). We will always cook Indian, Asian, Mexican and any kind of dishes to give Oliver, this prepares his flavour palette for our overseas adventures.
You’re not going to spend your whole holiday in the hotel room. Another important thing we have done with Oliver is to take him on loads of little adventures starting at just a week old. They don’t need to be huge day trips; however, we did work up to that. Taking your little one to a family members place for lunch, to the park for a stroll and play, or even trips to the supermarket. After they are used to the little outings, stay at their grandparent’s house for an evening or book an overnight stay somewhere to get your baby used to a new environment and things. If your baby goes straight from barely leaving the house to a two-week overseas adventure, you’re probably not going to have the happiest baby on the planet.
These are all things we did before traveling with Oliver, we think he’s an amazing and content baby while traveling and hopefully these tips will help you prepare your little baby to become an amazing lifelong travel pro also! If you have any tips or questions, please comment below.
Also, be sure to check out our other baby travel tips blogs flying with a baby and road tripping with a baby!