I remember the first trip Lucas and I went on when he was 3 months old; the car was packed to the brim. I literally packed any- and everything I could think of that a baby, could, would, or might possibly need just for a 3-night trip. It looked like we were moving to Texas. Those first-time Mama travel-jitters, doubts and questions loomed as the days of anticipation led up to our first trip: Will he sleep in the car? Will he adjust to his new environment? What if I forget his sound machine, vaporizer, monitor, diaper cream? The list goes on and on. With the car packed to the hilt, we hit the road. He was a road warrior, did much better than I had anticipated, and believe it or not, we didn’t use everything in the car.
Before becoming a parent, I had never imagined how adding one person to the clan would compound our packing needs every time we took a road trip. Even short weekend trips to see family seemed to require a three-page strategic plan. I would start making lists three days before our trip and packing bags days in advance. I would contemplate our load, strategize, ponder how to consolidate, organize and pack our car like a puzzle.
The truth is, traveling with a little person, especially a baby under one, is a lot of work. Most babies have a pretty delicate schedule, and us modern Mamas have become pretty dependent on all the gadgets, gizmos and gear that help our little ones sleep and stick to a schedule. I admit my generation is also a bit safety-obsessed, and many of us are preoccupied with all the additional “stuff” we feel baby must have to be safe. My parents and in-laws often remind us there was a time when babies rode in your lap in a car, safety gates were not so common, video monitors were unheard of, and yet somehow kids survived.
Traveling with baby really became a challenge this past Christmas, as we realized we not only had to pack baby and stuff, but a truckload of Christmas presents to boot. As we planned our auto tour of North Carolina, I began to stress about how we could make it all “fit.” I began to brainstorm days in advance, and I won’t lie, it took over 3 hours to pack the car on Christmas Eve. However, in the end, we had to downsize, consolidate, eliminate, and just do without some things. In the future I hope we can remember these strategies to make our next trip, at least, a little bit less crowded in the car.
Here are Some Traveling Tips for your Next Trip with Baby:
● Do make a list of the essentials (diapers, bottles, food, etc.).
● Pre-pack and reduce, especially clothes.
● If you pack fewer clothes, just don’t forget the baby detergent to wash on the road
● Eliminate the extras (Do you really need the video monitor if you are staying in a hotel room, or the baby bath tub? I used to bathe in the sink at my Grandmas.)
● Breathe and relax, knowing nearly every pharmacy and grocery (even many gas stations) carry most baby essentials (So it’s okay if you forget something!).
Dear Baby Lucas,
You have been the best part of 2014. I remember being so excited to meet you at this time last year, as I was growing increasingly more uncomfortable, and you were getting ready to make your debut.
In addition to crawling everywhere, you are standing up, balancing on your feet and cruising from one furniture piece to another. You especially love to climb on the TV and surround sound, and shuffle through our DVDs. (We had to move them.). You don’t sit for long anymore; there is a whole new world to discover!
In addition to “Dada,” you are now saying my name now, ”Mama,” with pronounced excitement and you look at me and smile, and it makes my heart soar!
You were the brightest light and the cheer of this Christmas. You enjoyed being spoiled by your family and you especially loved unwrapping, crinkling and eating wrapping paper much more than the gifts themselves.
I can’t believe you turn 1 next month. When I look at pictures of you as a tiny infant, it’s so hard to believe that was less than a year ago. Your dad and I love you so much; our love continues to grow infinitely for you!