Whether you are heading out to the store during those first few days, making a journey a little further afield some weeks later, or braving your very first family vacation with a baby, those first trips as a parent can be terrifying.
That tiny bundle may not talk, walk, or interact with the wider world yet, but it has the ability to render you a jabbering wreck whenever you even think about leaving the house. But leave the house you must; at least, if you ever hope to go to the store, have a weekend break, or go to the park ever again.
If the thought of taking a trip with your baby has filled you with a sense of dread you would do well to sit back, relax, and think rationally; the likelihood of anything going wrong is minimal, and you may even enjoy yourself once you are out and about.
Top tips for surviving those early days’ out
Let us get it out there; taking that very first trip with a baby need not be daunting at all. Indeed, you may even enjoy yourselves once you are away from home if you have taken the right precautions and carefully planned each step of the way. Here are some top tips for surviving those first trips away from home, regardless of how far you are going.
Prior preparation prevents disaster
Having a child will turn your world upside down, but the experience will ensure you learn how to plan each trip down to the tiniest detail; is the venue you are heading towards baby-friendly? Does it have child-focused facilities and activities? How much of your own kit will you need to take with you?
If you are sensible you will explore the various routes that could get you from A to B, work out how long you will be on the road for, and factor in numerous stops, as well making sure you have plenty of time for them. You should also question whether your destination is suitable for a child; some resorts, restaurants and even stores implement age restrictions to protect the enjoyment of other patrons, so prevent disappointment by doing your research.
Pack properly: The right equipment to get you from A to B
As well as being mentally prepared for the trip ahead, ensure you are also physically prepared; the smaller a child the more accouterments they tend to require. At the very least your child is going to need an appropriate means of transport, whether that is a car seat, baby sling, carrier or pram.
If you are flying or taking a train think carefully about the amount of space you will have to play with, as well as the logistics of getting your baby and luggage from A to B. Are you going to be staying away from home? Find out whether your final destination will provide a cot, or if you will need to bring a travel cot with you, and be sure to pack enough changes of clothes for everyone.
Large diaper bags are an absolute must, and will contain the extra space you will no doubt need for all of those essentials. In addition, such diaper bags will give you easy access to items you may need in a hurry. These include diapers and wipes, extra bottles and tubs of formula, changing mats and pads, pacifiers, bottle warmers, sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, changes of clothes for baby, and muslin squares, as well as a blanket for naps on the go.
Finally, think about food and drink for the trip; water will keep you hydrated and thinking clearly, while Ziploc bags containing appropriate snacks and sweets make any trip more bearable.
Younger babies have a limited amount of patience when it comes to games such as I Spy, but it is important to think about how you will keep your little one entertained during your trip, whether you are traveling across country or to a store just a few blocks away.
Newborns and smaller babies are likely to sleep for much of your journey, but older babies and toddlers are going to need stimulation. Consider calming tunes and nursery rhymes, and a handful of quiet yet stimulating toys to hold your child’s attention.
Finally, it is important to remember that traveling with a baby is only as stressful as you make it. It is important to remain calm, no matter how much panicked thoughts may enter your head. Your baby will likely be even more uncertain of the situation than you are, so take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you have got this.
And, if your first trip away does not go to plan, do not let it dishearten you; tomorrow is a new day, and you will be better prepared for the next trip.