Thursday, March 22, 2012

Traveling with a baby - Part 1

So have I mentioned that we're going to Italy the first week in June?  (Squee!!) A few years ago, I told Hollywood that I'd like to give her a trip for her high school graduation gift. She wanted to go to London initially, but has since decided upon Italy as her trip of choice.  It'll be one last hurrah, if you will, with our daughter who will be flying the nest in August. (The Boy and Bumblebee are already planning out their graduation trips.)

When I first 'promised' the trip, I had no idea that we'd have a baby in our family the summer of Hollywood's graduation.  At first I considered leaving Goblin home (after all, this is Hollywood's trip. I want her to be the star of the show.)  But as the time grew closer, I realized I wouldn't be able to do it.  I'm still nursing Goblin, and plan to until she's at least a year old, maybe longer. I know that leaving her for nine days would not be easy on me either physically (can you imagine pumping to keep up with supply while on vacation?) or emotionally.  It's just hard being away from a baby for that long.

So I asked Hollywood what she thought, prefacing my question with the caveat that a trip to Italy with her baby sister in tow would be a different kind of trip than if we went without the baby. I offered Hollywood the choice of going next summer without Goblin, or this summer with her along for the ride.  She eagerly chose this summer.  Part of me still worries about this. Of course she chose this summer - she wants to go on her trip, and she wants to go now! But it's not something I'm dwelling on. The kid's getting a trip to Italy, for goodness' sake. Having to put up with her baby sister and all of the inconveniences she will bring is a small price to pay, right?

Several weeks ago, I started a thread on a message board talking about the trip. I was in search of tips or ideas on how to make travel go more smoothly. I was surprised by the reactions I received.  More than half of the folks who responded to my post thought I was completely, 100% batshit crazy for even considering international travel with an infant.  But there were some like-minded people who thought it would be doable, if I planned accordingly and had a flexible itinerary. I've always been a 'go with the flow' kind of mom. Seriously, I cart my kids everywhere.  I realize some parents aren't this way, and that's cool. Different strokes, and all of that... So the thought of bringing her along doesn't freak me out. The flight scares me a little (ok, a LOT) but actually being in Italy with her doesn't.

That said, I want to make the trip as enjoyable as possible, so I'm doing all of the research I can to find tips, tricks, and ideas that will help make traveling with a baby as easy as possible.  The first item that I'll focus on today is the one that I think will help me the most during the trip.

Babywearing -
For those of you reading who might not be quite granola-y enough to know what that means, it's basically carrying a baby around in a sling, wrap, or baby carrier. Goblin loves her Moby wrap - here's a picture of her in it. When she was tiny it was honestly the only way I could get dinner prepared or do anything productive.
*photo of me wearing Goblin in her wrap
I also have a cheaper snap on carrier that I keep in the car for grocery store trips and errands. I may have mentioned before that Goblin hates being strapped into her car seat. It makes her mad.  She's getting better about being in a stroller - as long as we're moving and if we're outside. But she prefers to be worn/carried best.

The Moby is great, but it gets hot, and, since it's a stretchy fabric, with heavier babies, it can get saggy after a while. So I don't think it's ideal for the kind of use I'm envisioning in Italy. So I researched soft structured carriers (they're like a backpack for a baby, made out of softer material.) and came up with my choice of the Boba 3G carrier. Of course I chose the Lila print, which is a cute purple design.  I plan to wear Goblin for most of the trip. The Boba has both a front and back carry option, but Goblin's still pretty little so I'm not sure if we'll try the back option yet or not. This carrier is designed to distribute her weight evenly between my shoulders and waist, so it's supposed to be pretty comfortable. I am going to get into shape for our trip (lots of stairs and walking in Italy, from what I hear) by taking Goblin out hiking on the trails in the area. But the carrier is also adjustable, so if I get really tired or sore, The Husband can take a shift carrying the baby.

Another advantage to babywearing in a soft structured carrier like this is that I can nurse Goblin while out and about and people won't even be able to tell. There's a sleep hood that can be used to cover the baby while nursing, although I don't even think that'll be necessary. I saw several YouTube videos that showed how to nurse in a Boba and you can't see a thing, even without the hood. That will be nice and it even means I can nurse her while walking or waiting in line for a tourist attraction.

I haven't decided if I'm going to bring a stroller with me. I kind of think it might be just an extra hassle, but we'll see.

As I continue to research, I'll post my thoughts on what might make the trip easier.  And then after the trip, I'm sure I'll laugh at myself because of course some things will come up that I couldn't predict.


Karibean said...

I admire you for traveling with her! I can't wait to hear how it goes. I agree that baby-wearing will be most convenient. I'd probably take the stroller as well-- if it doesn't hold the baby, it can at least carry the diaper bag, camera, backpack for you guys! Is the whole family going?

Monnik said...

Nope, not the whole family. The Boy and Bumblebee will be staying with my brother. They're ok with that, though, since they're already planning where they want to go for their graduation trips.

Kokoda Trail said...

Having just completed a trek with Kokoda Spirit and having Wayne Weatherall as the trek leader I have to disagree with all your comments. He is an excellent historian and trek leader. The trip was one of the most memorable I have even had and I would highly recommend this company should you also be interested in walking the Kokoda Track. The porters are very happy, competent people who enjoyed the trek as much as the group.