Thinking of traveling with a baby you just adopted? Enjoy your trip and remain sane with these five tips for traveling with a baby.
1. Flexibility. Remember traveling with a baby takes planning, organization, and flexibility. If this adopted child is your first baby, you will want to plan for longer stops, quick changes, frustrations, and challenges. Learning to go with the flow, making last-minute adjustments, or just hanging out at the hotel will be part of your flexibility plan. Remember, it’s the adults who will have to be flexible, children and babies are much too young to be told that dinner won’t be for another hour or to calm down and play for another hour when it’s her bed time. It might be good to plan a contingency plan for sickness. If your adoptedchild or baby gets sick, you will need access to a doctor or emergency care, your child will probably cry all the time, and you might have to cut the trip short.
2. Make it a “family-friendly” destination. As parents of anadopted child, this experience is just as new for you as it is for your baby. Planning an extended camping trip to the mountains where two or three families will be sharing the same tent will probably not work. Look for places where you can relax, where you can change plans at a moment’s notice if your traveling child gets over-stimulated or tired. It might be a good idea to find a beach side hotel, a motel close to the grandparents so you don’t have to worry that your child’s crying is keeping everyone up, a place with shade and that is cool yet sunny will help when traveling with your baby. Crowded places where it is hard to keep an eye on your child or that could cause too much attention should be avoided.
3. Food and water are a must. Remember when traveling with your child snacks help during meals, but water is a must. Make sure you keep a small cooler with bottled water for drinks as well as bottled water for making formula. Planes or other types of transportation might not always have potable water available, so be prepared with cash to purchase bottled water. Snacks for a baby could include a favorite kind of cookie, Melba toast, a bottle of baby food, some finger cereal, etc. Be sure and get the kinds of foods your child likes and which won’t be smeared all over you and the child. A trip is not a time to try new foods.
4. Bring a goody backpack on the plane or in the car. Newly adoptive parents might not know that as sure as you are traveling with your baby or child, you will need several changes of clothing—it never fails. Bring 10 or more diapers depending on the travel time, you don’t want to run out and having a screaming baby with a burning bottom is not something a new adoptive parent wants to deal with. Some of your child’s favorite toys should go into the backpack, maybe a lamb or toy that plays quiet music, perhaps a fuzzy blanket, or a teething ring. If traveling on a plane or bus where there are other people involved, make sure you have quiet toys. You don’t want to annoy all the other travelers. Remember to utilize toys in bright colors to help your child focus and turn his attention from crying or whining.
5. Take practice trips. A marathon trip right after your get your adopted child is not a good idea. However, if you are adopting internationally, you won’t have the option of a practice trip, your first trip will be exceptionally long. But if you have the time, go in the car for an hour or two, take a short plane ride to a neighboring destination, go for an hour hike near your home, or try a short bike ride. Each trip will give you more information for your longer trips and help you when you want to plan for a longer trip. You’ll want to make notes on how your baby or child reacts to different settings, how comfortable she was sleeping away from his crib, and how easily he adapted to different eating and sleeping rituals.