You always hear traveling with kids really changes things and yup, I’ll believe it now. We just had our first family trip where we flew out east (Nova Scotia and PEI) for 10 days and it was an AMAZING trip but definitely different than when it was just the two of us.
#1 – first of all, we didn’t sleep. Now I’ve had trips with not sleeping on purpose (i.e., going out in NYC or Cancun) but lately Chris’ and my trips usually involve coming back very well rested. This time we had to come home to get caught up on sleep. Why didn’t we sleep? Our son is a very noisy sleeper (I mean he grunts and snores and sighs haha) and moves around a ton (even lifts his legs up and slams them back down) and of course we were in the same room the whole time. At home he sleeps in his nursery. Totally worth the every second we didn’t sleep but not sure we could have gone much past the 10 days.
#2 – we are very punctual people. I’ve been told you always add a grace period to people with kids and now I know why. 50% of the time I’m ready to go out the door, I get greeted with a massive poopy diaper. Punctuality is starting to go out the window.
#3 – learn to change a diaper on your lap. We flew Porter and it had very small bathrooms so we changed J’s diaper on our laps. Luckily we didn’t have any poopy ones – whew!
#4 – learn to change a diaper in the backseat of your rental car when the seat is slanted. This became a 2 person job if it was a poopy diaper. I also learned that change tables are sometimes kept in the wheelchair accessible stall in washrooms. It makes sense to have a bit of privacy but I never would have guessed that without asking.
#4 – flying with an infant is really not that hard. At least not when they’re really little. I’m sure it will be different once he doesn’t want to stay in one place for long. I was really worried about his ears and having something for him to suck on. He slept 90% of the flight and didn’t notice the change in air pressure at all. The vibration and the noise of the plane really helped with putting him to sleep.
#5 – Add an hour or so to every trip. We did a lot of driving on our trip and became quite familiar with the backseat of the car. We would pull over to feed J (which usually takes at least 30 mins) but when we could tried a scenic lookout or a bathroom break where we’d switch off.
#6 – powder formula is great on the go. We were using concentrate before our trip but changed to powder since we didn’t know if we would have access to a fridge. We got a formula dispenser for $5 at Loblaws so we could have 3 bottles premeasured. We then brought 2 water bottles that we kept the sterilized water in. If we could have access to a fridge and freezer we would pre-make 3 bottles that would fit in our bottle cooler and last for up to 12 hours. Our son goes from 0-100 when he’s hungry so the quicker we can have the bottle ready, the better. We use Playtex Nurser bottles with bottle liners so all you need to clean while traveling are the nipples and lids. We bought dish soap once there and cleaned them in the bathroom sink every night. We brought a few extra nipples and lids so we didn’t have to worry about also trying to find a place to clean them.
#7 – babies in restaurants. We were really lucky in that only one restaurant gave us a dirty look when we showed up with a baby. Jackson paid them back by having a really stinky poop in the middle of our dinner haha. We would either have him in his car seat or stroller and quickly learned to take him out as soon as we got there and hold him. Then once our food arrived, we could put him back and he’d be content. We also learned to ask for the bill early on in case we had to bolt. Usually we got an hour in at the restaurant before J would get restless. We still went to romantic restaurants as we were celebrating our 5th anniversary and didn’t let that deter us. J was great and the staff and customers usually loved seeing a baby.
#8 – my how the entertainment changes. J became our entertainment. He was just starting to coo and giggle and Chris and I spent most of our time staring at and admiring him. It was amazing entertainment. On the other side of the entertainment, we were usually back in our hotel rooms pretty early so learned we should have taken some cards or games with us. Summer TV just wasn’t cutting it.
#9 – shyness starts to wane. When it comes to your child, you’re willing to ask people for a lot more. Like to move things or open locked doors to get a stroller in. In our case, we needed sterilized water for his bottles so we got used to asking restaurants and inn keepers for either a kettle or access to the hot water for tea. Not a big deal but I’m one of those people who gets shy around strangers so that started to change. We also let all of the places we were staying at know we were bringing a baby and they were great. One inn even had a welcome package for us and a pack and play all set up in our room.
#10 – there are still excursions you can do with small children. We went clam digging and it was a great experience. I wore J in a sling where he slept the whole time. We met some great people and had some delicious food. We like to try local excursions and just looked for one that was suitable for J.
#11 – enjoy every minute and take lots of pictures. Although J slept for most of our trip, Chris and I have great memories and loved being able to go on a trip with our beautiful baby boy. We spent our 5th wedding anniversary on our trip and loved that we shared it with our son.