On our way to Memphis we stopped at a gas station to feed George. 28C (83F), vomit stains on our clothes, 3rd coffee of the day. Our eyes met and we burst out laughing, “how times have changed!” In this post I talk about how travelling changes when you bring a baby.
Gone are the days of dirt cheap accommodation, late night flights, partying until the early hours of the morning. We’re lucky if we make it to 10pm!
“Your baby works around you, not the other way round.” A phrase that is thrown around a lot when you are just beginning parenthood. A great concept, however when you’re travelling with a little companion you will need to compromise.
There’s only so much sitting around, doing nothing, that a 12 week old baby will take. In order to keep your sanity and allow some Mummy and Daddy time, you have to blend what you want with what your baby needs.
I don’t like the term ‘sacrifice’, you find a routine and a rhythm that works for you. However, you have to go through the ‘trial and error’ phase first. You learn and adapt and that’s the truth.
We aim for breakfast and lunch to coincide with George’s nap times. If we time it right, we get a couple of hours just for us AND a full meal at a warm temperature! Or you grab a few mouthfuls in between trying to protect your food from a curious baby.
Drinking more than 2 drinks per evening is a no go. We take turns on the night shift, but sleeping in the same room as a teething 4 month old, guarantees that neither of you really gets more than 5 hours sleep.
The lowest rating for accommodation we will go is 3 star. You’re only there to sleep, wash and rest. For your baby, you have everything in your backpack or suitcases to make them comfortable.
You break your back towing around all of the luggage. You break your back changing your baby in awkward positions, when facilities are not available. You break your back feeding your baby in your arms, without any cushions, (especially when they are as heavy as George) in awkward positions. You go without because that’s what parents do!
You become an early bird (not functioning on all cylinders but awake) and maximise the day. We arrive at tourist activities/landmarks before they open and get in there first! Less time queuing means more time exploring.
It is hard work. The photographs capture a few seconds of a 24 hour day. A day that involves being vomited on, poo’d on, kicking yourself because you left your baby’s favourite toy in the hotel room and a whole long list of other things that are part of ‘parenthood!’
Oh and you definitely will experience some ‘passionate’ debates. That normally formulate in a baby friendly voice where insults won’t upset your little one. I have a great relationship with my partner but travelling can be stressful and it’s going to happen. Don’t hold on to it and try to laugh about it afterwards.
I’m really not doing a great job selling the whole, ‘travel with a baby thing’! It absolutely is worth the challenge. Travelling without a baby is easy. But I find that travelling with George is way more rewarding. It really is an amazing experience.
A baby is an excellent ice breaker and random people will stop and talk to you. They want to interact with your baby and your little one is learning the whole time. You have to change your mentality of travel when with a little one. What you may once have been able to achieve at a great price, all in one day, will cause you a lot of stress. Take a more relaxed pace and you may find you enjoy it. Even more than pre-parenthood! Want to take the leap but dread taking your baby on a plane? Read my post on how to have a successful flight with a baby to get some encouragement!