Frequently, I hear of families putting off trips because they have a small baby. It seems like too much work, so they want to wait until the baby is weaned and they can leave him/her home. First of all, I understand this thinking. They are a lot of work. There are messes and sleepless nights. There are unknowns and fears of strange places. There are things you won’t be able to do with baby in tow. Plus, the baby won’t remember any of it! All that being said, I love traveling with a baby! Let me tell you why.
- Most people love babies. I met and struck up conversations with the most interesting people because of having a baby with me. Locals, docents and tour guides who normally leave tourists alone, couldn’t resist the smiles and coos of a baby. This really helped me experience the location through the eyes of people who lived there. It also helped me connect with other travelers who have great ideas or tips of things to do (or not to do!). Babies are easy conversation starter with people in lines or airplanes.
- Babies help pass the ‘downtime’ of travel with joy. I loved the smiles and tickles and complete attention I could give my baby while I waited in lines, sat at the airport (delayed, of course!) and in my hotels. As my 3rd and 4th babies, sometimes they don’t get the attention they deserve and on trips I could fill their cup to overflowing. I loved having pressure-free time to snuggle baby on the plane.
- When you are together traveling you make sure to feed and change the baby frequently, before it is too late and causes a probably. Meeting the baby’s every need means that she will be happy, healthy and sweet the whole trip.
- Little babies can sleep anywhere! My babies aren’t great at sleeping long on the go, but made up for it by napping frequently. Being in a stroller, car or plane helps lull them to sleep. We even changed time zones 9 hours and my baby learned to sleep when it was dark within one night!
- Even though babies wont remember the trip, there are still pictures and stories they will be told as they grow. A love of the world and traveling can be started this young. They will be exposed to other peoples and cultures (and probably some foods!) that will help them become more understanding of others. My baby can say she’s been to Paris and show photos. She will grow up with a connection in her mind to Paris.
- Babies are mobile and flexible. As you child gets older, babies will need consistent naps in a bed (not on the go). They will want more movement and independence, have louder lung capacity and be more needy. As a baby, they are perfectly happy where ever they are when their needs are met.
- Nursing is the best if you are traveling! No need for bottles or cleaning. In this photo, I nursed my baby in the wrap, during the swamp tour and she proceeded to fall asleep for the rest of the ride.
- Strollers actually can be a benefit for traveling. We got to skip the amazingly long line at the Empire State building and go straight into the wheelchair/ stroller line! Disneyland has the stroller pass which we maximized to ride as many rides as possible! Having a stroller means people give a little more space for you, which can be nice in crowded places. ( my snap and go is my favorite for baby travel because the carrier can snap in and out of it. It is so light weight)
- A baby wrap makes it possible to hike, walk steps, and do any activity mom desires. Plus, baby loves to be close to mom for snuggles and sleep. Its a win-win!
- Bonding with baby can happen for mom or dad as you do something together. It was difficult for my husband to bond with a newborn since I am doing most of the caring and serving and ALL of the feeding (my babies wouldn’t take bottles). When we took a trip with just #3, he finally connected and felt a relationship with her because of time spent and memories created with her. Even if the baby doesn’t remember, you will remember your time with them forever. And that contributes to your family closeness and bond.
So you can have a baby and travel, too! Make it happen! What do you love about traveling with a baby?