I will begin this post by saying: let me tell you the truth. When we were on our first flight with Baby M, from Munich to Abu Dhabi (a 6-hour journey) I couldn’t help but wonder if taking this trip with a 2 and a half months old baby was a good idea. And this was only the first out of 3 flights to our final destination, the Maldives. I was afraid of many things, and completely felt out of my comfort zone, far from the comfort of our home, where we have everything we need for her, and where I know how to calm her down. I didn’t know where my always present excitement for a trip went. I mean, we were going to the Maldives for God sakes!
It turns out, it was a crazy idea, it was not the easiest thing I’ve done in my life, but was probably the most important trip that W. and I ever took together. Boy, how much we learned with and from our baby, how much we’ve grown as a family, and how the next trips are going to be easier. Our experience inspired me to share with you 11 truths about traveling with a newborn, because let’s be real, it’s not easy and it’s not all pretty pictures, but it’s also possible, and an essential experience to have as a family, the sooner the better.
Truth #1: traveling will never be the same again
Once, Ting, my dear friend from the blog My Travel Monkey (mom to two lovely little boys), told me traveling would never be the same again. I knew it would, but it was only when we were on our adventure to the Maldives that I actually understood the meaning of it. Yes, traveling will be different, you won’t be so flexible or able to do what you want and when you want, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be as amazing.
From now on, packing will be different, as well as getting to the airport and boarding a plane. On the other hand, you will now enjoy many benefits and attention you never had before. You will board a plane first, you will get better seats, you will have priority in lines, people will remember you because of your cute baby, people will smile and talk to you because of your bundle of joy. Yes, it will never be the same again.
Truth #2: it’s hard work
From packing, getting to the airport, waiting for the flight, changing diapers in a tiny bathroom, getting your luggage, to finally arriving in your accommodation, all of it it’s hard work. I don’t believe I could have done any of it without W., it was team work all the way. While he got the luggage, I was feeding Baby M, while I was in the bathroom, he was putting her to sleep, and so on.
Truth #3: it’s very tiring
Traveling is already tiring by itself, so with a newborn in your arms is even more. With all the hard work and the journey, being tired will be something unavoidable. As a new mom you are already tired with the daily routine, so when you add up the tiredness of the trip you will be exhausted.
Truth #4: your baby will cry in front of many people
Oh yes, that is something you can be sure of. That was the thing I was most afraid of before even planning to have a baby. Once upon a day I was the one feeling sorry for the parents with a crying baby at the airport or in the plane, today I am one of them. No, it’s not fun, but it’s perfectly normal, and something very hard to avoid, because that’s just how babies communicate. One word of advice? Don’t mind the people staring (shame on them), forget about them and focus on your baby.
Truth #5: sometimes you will wish to be home
At home you have everything you need, you know what to do to calm your baby down, you are in your safe place, your comfort zone. At times during a trip, when you are far away and in a challenging situation, you will miss home and even doubt your decision of taking the trip in the first place.
Truth #6: your baby might get sick
Something hard to avoid when your baby will surely be in touch with so many bacteria and virus spread out at the airports and airplanes. Not to mention, the possible change in temperature. We traveled in December from Germany to the Maldives, from snowy Munich to 30C in Malé. Baby M got a blocked nose for a few days, and we felt the worst parents and blamed ourselves. So keep in mind that the risks are there, the important thing is to be prepared to face them, and don’t blame yourself, because it would happen eventually, sooner or later, you can’t possibly lock yourself at home.
Truth #7: it will mess up the routine
This was one of things I was most afraid of, especially because Baby M already slept through the night. It is true, a trip will mess up your baby’s routine, especially if you’re traveling to a different time zone. They say it gets back to normal…
Truth #8: your baby will surprise you
The moments you think your baby won’t handle well, they will, the situation that you believe will be too much, it won’t. Your baby might surprise you in many ways. I never thought Baby M would sleep when we had to run from one flight to the other when we got to the Abu Dhabi airport, she did (even went through the security check sleeping). I never thought she would cry so much when we finally arrived in our hotel, she did. Not to mention all the little things she learned while we were away.
Truth #9: there will be stressful moments
There will be lines, waiting, crying, people who will stare at you, the lack of sleep, the connecting flights, the worry with the well being of your little one, times where you will have to be 3 persons to be able to get the job done. Be sure, there will be stressful moments, just breath in and out and go with the flow.
Truth #10: but there will be amazing moments…
And they will make everything worth it. There is nothing like spending quality time with your family, to show the world to your baby, to get to know your baby in a different environment and situation. These moments will become stories for your little one, for the family back home, they will be unforgettable and unique, and…
Truth #11: in the end you will want to do it again
I’m sure that a part of you will want to do it again, and next time differently, better and with more experience. And that’s why I always believed that the sooner you take a trip with your baby, the better. It will open doors for more trips, it will teach you and your family many, many important things, and what used to be stressful for you, you will now handle them differently. So book that trip and make yourself get out of your comfort zone with your baby, you will be impressed by the people you will become once you’re back home.
As for us, yes, it was a lot of work, but it was a team work. Yes, it was tiring, but worth it. Yes, it took us way out of our comfort zone, but it only did us good as a family, and opened the way to more trips. We risked, we dared, we loved it, and now we miss it and are looking forward to the next adventure!
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