We’ve been home from our Italy vacation for 5 days and the jet lag hasn’t exactly worn off so as I watch the sunrise, I’ll share my top ten reasons why we should travel with babies. FULL DISCLOSURE: It’s now been two weeks because I passed out as I started the list and just go around to finishing because life.
10. If you love to make lists, your list just got exponentially larger! I am a list maker and there’s nothing like trying to prepare for a trip with a baby. Bonus list if you have pets and have to leave instructions for them, too! My mind goes a mile a minute and when you have to prepare that many things, lists are the one thing that keep me sane.
9. If you love to research obscure things, bring a baby to an ancient city! Apparently, this isn’t a really common thing as I did my best to read articles and watch YouTube videos for tips and tricks and found very little. This one was the most helpful: Click here for video
You have to know yourself and your baby well enough to guess what will work best for you and your itinerary. While I would have LOVED to bring my mega industrial stroller, we opted to buy the incredibly collapsable GB Pockit stroller. It’s compactability (just making words up now) made it really convenient. Ex) I didn’t have to check it at the door of the plane because it fit in the overhead bin AND was small enough I could just wheel him down the aisle.
8. If you’ve always wanted to be a minimalist, you will be now! Not only was I traveling with JJ to Italy but I was flying by myself because we were meeting my husband who had already gone ahead because of work. I realized one of my biggest stressors was going to be managing EVERYTHING by myself. So I sent all of our clothes ahead of time with the hubby so I only had to carry 3 days worth of what we needed as we traveled in a backpack. We repeated outfits several times, not everything was matchy-matchy, and it was so wonderful. Less is definitely more if it frees you from having to keep track of a bunch of stuff. Still managed to lose one of his toys though…
7. If you want to find out how helpful people can be, travel with a helpless but happy baby. I knew there would be moments where my life would be made easier with a little help. Something like having to put bags in the overhead bin becomes increasingly challenging with a baby strapped to you. I had this irrational fear that I would end up hitting him in the head or that he’d throw himself on the floor if I put him down to put away my bags. For those of you wondering why I’d have to put my bags up and not in the seat in front of me is because I was sitting in bulkhead which means you have no front storage. My favorite moment was when two women said to me “We’re mom’s, too. If you decide you need help just let us know.” I just kept hearing it over and over again. A woman tapped me on the shoulder and must have seen the struggle on my face and she said: “I’ll watch him (he was sleeping in the bassinet) and you go to the bathroom.” It was exactly what I needed.
6. If you like to find out how much extra stuff exists on airplanes, travel with a little lad. First of all, lots of love to my friend for telling me about bassinets on airplanes. I legitimately had NO clue this was a thing despite having traveled all my life. We also got little gifts, my own personal infant life vest which I had no clue how to use, and lots and lots of attention from passengers.
5. If you like to discover just how creative you can be, travel with a little human. I swear JJ is going to grow up thinking garbage is a toy and bathrooms are play places. I packed very few toys for him so I had to get creative with what I was going to entertain him with for hours and hours. Turns out he loves shaking half-filled bottles of water, crunchy plastic wrapping is tons of fun, and all spoons are magical. We spent a good amount of time in the bathroom (with the door open just in case someone needed to use it) just staring at and playing with the mirror.
4. If you like to see just how long you can handle wearing a baby, travel to remote areas. I work from home so babywearing isn’t something I do regularly. This was also probably because I had incredibly painful lower back pain that I only recently began therapy for but anyway… We decided that we wanted to do an excursion to Pompeii which included a hike to Mt. Vesuvius! While the ancient Romans did create roads, they haven’t exactly been kept up in a few thousand years so we had to
strap the baby on carry the baby.
I am so so so thankful I took the recommendation of friends to get the Ergo 360. I could wear him so many ways and breastfeed without having to miss out on anything. #notsponsored
My biggest challenge while climbing Vesuvius was that JJ wanted to see everything so he kept pushing himself back which was not as helpful as one would hope.
3. If you want to find out just how messed up your sleep schedule can get, travel with a perfectly sleeping baby. JJ has been on a roll since he was about 4 months old. 12 hours of sleep almost every night with little issues. All of that FLEW (see what I did there?) out the window when we traveled to a time zone with a 7-hour difference. He had NO idea when he was supposed to sleep or be awake so we just rolled with the sleepy punches. We did learn that he can, in fact, fall asleep in a stroller as long as we cover it with a blanket and cut off his stimulation. Turns out his favorite person to fall asleep on was mommy…yaaaayyy….
We finally got back on a somewhat normal schedule just in time to fly back home. Embrace the coffee and just keep enjoying. You can sleep when you’re dead.
2. If you want to experience a country in a new perspective, bring a little bambino along. I would have NEVER known how absolutely gaga Italians are about babies had we not brought JJ. It was so sweet that I actually always looked forward to heading out to eat or just for a walk because of how enthusiastic and doting every single person was. When we went to restaurants if felt like every staff member and patron stopped by our table to say something to him and make him smile. On every bus, I was basically forced to sit down so he could be more comfortable. I was mortified when 2 seniors got up on two separate buses and refused to sit down unless I took their seat but it made them so happy. The same happened during our short layover in Turkey. It was like a diety had come down from the heavens to pay humanity a visit. They spoke to him and smiled and tickled his feet. From the security to the flight attendants.
1. If you have a fear of breastfeeding in public, babies who travel will make you get over that real quick. THIS was my biggest concern of all. I went from being to control being able to feed him at home or know where discreet places were to having to sit next to a complete stranger to nurse. I wasn’t about to drag my pump, bottles, and accessories with me to Italy. Especially when I was taking all these flights by myself.
So, we had to learn how to do this together. We got pretty good at it with the baby carrier, in restaurants, taxis, and ancient ruins. A part of me felt really connected to the past because I knew that in those days this is the only way babies of the time would have been fed. I shared a unique connection to every ancient city because nothing about needing to feed babies has changed, just our mindset about it.