Is traveling with a baby hard?
If you’re a new parent, thinking about traveling with a newborn or infant is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Many new parents assume their days of travel will be put on hold when the baby arrives. Obviously, there are many reasons for this, with the major ones being the amount of care and attention a baby needs! Any parent can attest that the sleepless nights, endless diapers and mammoth amount of gear that a baby requires are enough to make taking a holiday to seem like an unattainable dream.
Of course, there are many other reasons why new parents will put travel on hold, and not everyone is in the position to take their baby and fly off to an exotic destination! But for those of you who believe that taking a baby on a trip is too hard, there is hope!
If you are thinking about going on a vacation with your baby, you are likely wondering what the easiest age to travel is. After all, babies change so quickly! Every day, week and month bring many developmental milestones, so to pinpoint the perfect time to travel can make your trip much more relaxed!
So, what is the best age to travel with an infant?
Speaking from personal experience, I think the easiest age to travel with a baby is between 4-6 months old. By this time, you’ve gotten to know your child’s personality and nailed down most of his/her needs. Plus, you’ve likely gotten the hang of all of the equipment you need to get through those days and nights!
The ‘potted-plant’ stage of babyhood.
A friend of mine refers to the early infancy stages of babyhood as the ‘potted-plant’ stage! How he explained it made sense. Up until about six months old, your baby doesn’t really move too much and, in his opinion, this is the easiest stage. Like a plant, you always know where your baby is!
The ‘potted-plant’ stage is the most comfortable time to take your baby on vacation because they are not mobile. Pop them in the stroller, crib, playpen, bed, Bumbo seat – you name it – wherever you set your baby down is where they’ll stay! No worries about your little one wandering off, getting into mischief, rolling off the bed, climbing out of the playpen and so forth. Also, if your room has steps or hotel has a long flight of stairs, you don’t have to worry about them taking a tumble.
Finally, germs are always a worry for new parents. At 4-6 months old, your baby’s hands are not crawling all over the floor or touching everything! Cringe!
Sleep for baby (and you) has returned…maybe a little?
Babies between 4-6 months are likely on a pretty good sleep schedule, and still napping at least two times a day. Also, most babies this age are sleeping for longer durations. For some lucky parents, their babies may even be sleeping through the night!
When we took our first-born daughter to Mexico at five months old, she slept a lot. Between the fresh air, heat and visual stimulation, she would crash for at least 2-3 naps per day and slept at least 6-8 hours in the night. We had plenty of time to enjoy our vacation while she snoozed away in the stroller, beach lounger or Baby Bjorn carrier.
A solid sleep schedule also helps with flying with a baby (or going on a long road trip). If you plan your flights or drive around your baby’s sleep schedule, it makes for a much smoother journey.
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding when traveling with an infant makes it so much easier!
No strange foods or water = no worries!
At 4-6 months, babies are still breastfeeding or bottle feeding; this makes everything so much easier! Bottle feeding is a bit trickier, as you have to pack bottles, formula and have access to filtered water and something to heat it, but it’s still much easier than worrying about what your baby will eat or drink in a foreign country. Once you start introducing solid foods, traveling with your baby will get trickier (and messier!)
Colic has ended and teething hasn’t started.
Between 4-6 months old is really a sweet spot for most. If your baby is colicky, it usually subsides by this time. And for most babies, the treacherous phase of teething likely hasn’t quite started. Traveling with a colicky or teething baby is enough to make you never want to leave your house again! Take advantage of this sweet spot and enjoy a vacation with your little family. You will have memories for life – even if your baby won’t remember – they travel for free anyway!
Have you traveled with a newborn or young baby? When do you think is the easiest time to take them on vacation? I’d love to hear about your experience. Leave me a comment below!