Vacation- has anyone gone on a vacation with their 4 month old baby?

Armita - posted on 02/21/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My husband and I need a vacation so badly. Have you vacationed with your baby? If so, pros/ cons? My baby is 4 1/2 months old. Should we wait a little longer?

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Stefanie - posted on 02/21/2009

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We haven't been home for more than 3 weeks straight since he was born. (he is four months old today). We have taken two trips driving, one was 10 hours normally in the car (more like 14 with the baby) and the other was 12 hours (13 hours with the baby, by this point we had learned how to "vacation" with the baby...so it wasn't as bad). The other two have been by plane to South Dakota (we are in ATL). My son has been in 9 planes and 12 states already. None of our family leaves even relatively close to here, so that is why we travel so much.

I don't think it is too bad to vacation with a baby (obviously, since we keep taking trips and I have another one planned for 2 weeks from now). Here are some tips that I have learned:

By Car:
1. Drive at night, seriously, it hurts you as an adult to stay up all night, but the baby sleeps. If you drive during the day, he WILL get tired of being in the seat for so long. My son screamed for a couple hours the way home from our first car trip, which is why it took so much longer than it should have.
2. I got a basket and set up a pumping station. I pumped one bottle right before we left, and then as soon as he ate a bottle, I pumped another so that we always had fresh milk and wouldn't have to stop for me to take him out of the carseat to feed him. (plus, taking him out would have woken him up more) If you are bottlefeeding, obviously, this translates well to that.
3. Make a small basket with toys in it and another with books. That way if he wakes up, or you have to drive during the day, you can entertain him easily. Keeping the books separate from the toys helps so that you can grab things easier and not have to dig through things. I bought a couple new toys and books just for the occasion, basically so I wouldn't get bored playing with the same things...since he doesn't actually play much yet.

By Plane:
1. Get a baby carrier and strap that baby to you, babies fuss a lot less when carried, and in the airport you will NOT have extra arms. Baby carriers are great for this, baby thinks you are holding him, but you have your hands free. Also, when going through security this helps as well because you have all the forms to hold, and trying to juggle that and a squirmy baby is a bad mix. Just strap the baby to you, can't get lost that way.
2. If your baby is flying "infant-in-arms" still take your carseat to the gate, if they have extra seats, they will let you take it on board and strap the baby in there free of charge. It is MUCH safer to have a baby in a carseat in an airplane. Just make sure your seat is approved for airplanes (almost all are). If your baby has his own seat, obviously, take the carseat with you. If there is no extra room on the plane, they will gate check the seat (with a stroller if you have one - which I don't have b/c it is one more thing to keep track of)
3. Pack a LOT of diapers, you do not want to be stuck in an airport with no diapers. If I am going to be gone more than 2 or 3 days, I just pack a couple days worth (again, don't want to be stuck without them), but then buy the rest there, no reason to clog up luggage that you now have to pay to check just for diapers. If I am only gone for the weekend, I pack ALL the diapers in my carry-on, you would be surprised how many you can get in a diaper bag.
4. Pack in your diaper bag at least two full changes of clothes and an extra onsie...poop blowouts in airports are no fun without new clothes. Oh, and an extra shirt for you. Also, make sure to have lots of bibs to change out, that saves clothes sometimes.
5. Put some teething gel in your liquids bag, I didn't bring any last time (didn't think my son was teething that hard yet) and I regret it, he had some bad pain ON the plane. Don't forget the diaper rash cream either.
6. Put a couple of your child's favorite toys in your diaper bag/purse.
7. You also have to have the baby's birth certificate to fly. So don't forget that!
8. Lastly, Either nurse or have a pacifier for take off and landing, it REALLY helps with their ears. Or, I try and get my son to sleep right before either of those things, and then he just sleeps through the whole thing and his ears don't bother him. One time he wouldn't take a paci, nurse OR sleep during a landing, he was in a lot of pain (plus this was the time he was teething - poor kid!)

Ok, so that looks like a monster of a list, but really, 90% of it is planning ahead, and then the rest is easy. Babies can't run away like toddlers do, they can't talk back like kids do, and they adapt much more easily to their surroundings than they will when they are older. I feel like, once the planning is done, they are MUCH easier to travel with than an older child. It may feel overwhelming looking at the list, but it is worth it.

Leah Van - posted on 03/09/2009

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We just recently have flown on an airplane with our now 5 mo. old...she was right around 4 1/2 mo. when we flew.  Pros, it teaches patience for you and your baby, you learn how to breastfeed anywhere, it takes the worry out of later trips b/c you know how they're going to react.  Cons: getting back to a schedule once your home again is a major pain, sleeping in a different place is never good for anyone, and you feel so much more behind on laundry and everything once your back home.  It can be good, but can be not so fun at times as well.  If your a schedule person, try your best to keep them tuned to that, it's hard, but try.

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Hi Armita
Traveling with a baby seems to involve a lot more packing, but I travelled (alone) with my son when he was 2 months old and it worked out pretty well. Stefanie gave a ton of great advice I have a few items to add from my recent travels:
- Stroller - remember, when going thru security your stroller has to go thru the scanner, it can't just be rolled thru. So, if you're using a carseat/stroller combo just prepare for taking baby out, folding down etc when you go thru security. On my flight out I didn't realize this and my security process took a bit longer as I didn't have a second set of hands (thank goodness the line was slow that day) Coming back I was prepared and flew thru security. Also, unless you have an extensive layover (2+ hours) CHECK your stroller thru to your destination. It can take them a while to bring it up so if you have connecting flights and are running late you could miss your flight b/c it takes them too long to bring the stroller up.
- Baby carrier - Baby bjorn or another carrier was super helpful while I was traveling, especially since I didn't have a spare set of hands. If your baby likes being in one then definitely bring it as part of your carryon
- Milk - remember, formula or bottled breast milk does not have the same restrictions as other liquids (there is no 3 oz cutoff or limit to how many you can bring) so pack up as needed. Just remember to let security know before you go thru the line so they can properly scan the milk. They don't open it but they do test it for issues with a sniffer of sorts. Also, someone had recommended to me that I bring formula on the off chance i experienced food poisoning while out. I didn't need it but thought it was a valid recommendation
- Toys - keep it simple, 1-2 small things to keep baby occupied. The woman sitting near me on my first flight had a red shiny box of Mentos that my boy was absolutely fascinated with so really, simple will work wonders.
- If you're staying somewhere with a washer/dryer bring a small amount of detergent to minimize the amount of clothing you need to bring
- Car seat - when I traveled I contemplated just adding a car seat to my car rental to avoid the added baggage since Cale was sitting on my lap on the plane. I changed my mind at the last second and am glad i did. My other girlfriend tried the rental car route and they did not have safe clean car seats. She ended up purchasing a car seat instead of trying to use theirs...very negative experience but we learned a lot about not expecting car rental places to live up to their promises.
- I second (and third) having baby eat or chew on pacifier during take off and landing. Or if she's asleep she should be fine.
- Most importantly don't worry about the other passengers. Babies sometimes cry on planes and that's the way it is. Others understand, don't get stressed out
Finally, a funny little perk about air travel with baby. If you're going on an airline without assigned seats (Southwest) folks will do anything they can to avoid sitting next to you...so if there is even one empty seat on the plane it WILL be next to you...so you'll be able to spread out a little more. I call it baby Kryptonite!

Best of luck in your travels. You will do great. And it's great to start them young before they start crawling...they're happier to be in your lap for cross country flights!

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21 Comments

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Amanda - posted on 03/13/2009

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We took our lil girl on 2 planes at 7 weeks, 2 planes at 10 weeks, and 4 planes at 4 months. . just give them a bottle when ur going up and down and try to take early flights which would be during their normal sleeping hours!

Angela - posted on 03/12/2009

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I recently took my daughter on a trip to my hometown, which involved a 5 hour car trip and taking 2 planes to get there! The flying wasn't bad, except for when we were landing. I think the pressure bothered her ears. I tried to time her feedings right or had her suck on a soother to help with her ears.

I think you should do what you think is best!

Jaime - posted on 03/11/2009

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Yes go, you will make it. We took our son to WI and RI for the holidays and did a test trip to Phoenix before that. We are headed to Hawaii for an actual vacation in a week. The cons are that you have twice as much stuff than you use to travel with. The baby needs his own suitcase! This time we are brining the pack & play, previously we were lucky visiting family with people close by so we could borrow.

Leanne - posted on 03/11/2009

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oh - I have a question - what about immunizations if travelling outside the country?  anyone know anything about that?

Leanne - posted on 03/11/2009

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Really - I found it pretty easy - easier than I had thought it would be.  We went in the car total trip was 12 hrs.  We had friends at scheduled stops to either go in and take a break to breast feed and spent the night after 7 hours of driving at another friends place.  Addison was a trooper and just keep in mind the "practical" things to pack.  She was great at the resort when we finally arrived.  Naps were important so it limited our daytime excursions - but that was so there weren't any meltdowns!  It was when we got home that she wasn't herself.  I think due to the lack of her regular routine.  I found that the key to making our trip an enjoyable one for all of us was us just going w/  the flow!  we were pretty relaxed - therefore so was she! 

Angela - posted on 03/08/2009

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My husband, son (15 yrs), daughter (4 mos.) and I went on a long weekend vacation to a favorite place that is 3-1/2 hours away. We left at 6am - after she had finished nursing, and drove like crazy! We stopped two hours later -- she woke up and was a bit confused and hungry, but ate and settled back in. We spent three days running about, but adjusted our schedule to what she seemed comfortable doing. We had planned on a nice meal the second night, but ending up eating tacos in our hotel room because she let us know that she was fed up with the car seat! If you are relaxed and not on a schedule of "We must do this" and just let things happen, it will be fun to get away. My daughter got to swim for the first time, see new sights and see the rest of the family be silly tourists. Go for it and have fun!

Carmela - posted on 03/08/2009

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We just got back from Punta Cana in Domincan Republic last week.  Our son just turned 5 months today.  I was really nervous about it; but he did really well on the plane; he likes motion so he slept thorugh most of it (and it's only a 4 hour plane ride anyways).  We did bring our snuggle and stroller but not our car seat.  We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe and the staff were great with our son; always smiling, talking to him; some asked to pick him up.  Our room wasn't ready when we got there so they immediately switched our rooms so we would have one that was ready and even closer to the pool/beach area.  They also gave us a playpen in our room for him to sleep in and he did.  It was great to get away and enjoy the sun and he adjusted so well.  He enjoyed all the sights and attention!

Sherree - posted on 03/07/2009

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We took our daughter to the Bahamas at 4 months. It went great. She slept on the plane and loved the fact that she could be on our laps and breastfeed. What did NOT go well for her was a 5 hour car ride at 3 months. When she was sleeping it was fine, but when she was alert and awake, she did not want to be strapped into the carseat. We had to either listen to her cry or try to find somewhere to stop and find time to walk around for over an hour til she was ready to nap again. Not fun.

Maria - posted on 03/06/2009

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i took my son on a trip to my best friends' wedding when he was 5 weeks old. it wouldnt have been so bad- the 10 hr car trip, he slept most of the way down and back- it it wasnt because he caught a bad fever/cold the 1st day of a 5 day trip. we were caught unprepared, and it was miserable. if i would have planned ahead it may have gone much smoother... we are about to attempt our 2nd trip this coming week, we'll see how it goes (i'm nervous after the last Trip From Hell)

Nicole - posted on 03/01/2009

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We went away for a weekend when our bubby was only 3 weeks old (3 odd hours from home) - and then again about a month ago (boat trip) - our lil girl is a good sleep and seems to love travelling. 



 



Involves packing a little more (but if you forget something you can always buy it) and a little longer, you might need to stop for feeding etc.



 



I say go for it - if bubby is a good sleeper etc - will do you and your hubby good :)

Kerry - posted on 02/27/2009

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We've been driving 5 hrs to NY every month since she was 1 month. Never had a problem, she usually sleeps (doesn't matter if its night or day) and I bring my laptop so she can watcher her movies.

We went to Ft Myers when DD turned 4 months. It took 3 hours on the plane there, then we drove 5hrs to key west. She was amazing in the plane, laughed at people, cooed, fell asleep. Never cried once! We took her to the beach, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the pool, into town, out to dinner on the trolleys - she had a ball. She won't remember it, but I have a zillion pictures to show her! lol

Erin - posted on 02/23/2009

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I took my daughter on a plane to her grandparents when she was six weeks old. She was still pretty young so the whole week we were gone she had a hard time sleeping but she was pretty young then. Your child will do just fine now.

Tegan - posted on 02/22/2009

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We took our son camping this weekend for the first time. We went somewhere local and he did great. We have another trip planned further away to go offroad riding in the desert in 2 weeks so hopefully that goes well also.



He didn't seem to notice that we weren't at home. He slept in his playpen and I slept on the couch in our trailer. No big deal for him!



I truly believe the more babies are exposed to early on, the easier they will adjust later on. So we take him everywhere!

Armita - posted on 02/22/2009

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Thanks to all for your advice.   Specially to Stefanie, thank you for your great advice!!  much appreicated!

Kelly - posted on 02/22/2009

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I just got back from taking my 41/2 year old son to San Francisco by myself! he was really great. It was a 4 hour plane trip because we had to stop somewhere along the way. I just made sure he had plenty of formula, a few toys and a blankie.

Becky - posted on 02/21/2009

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when my son was two months old we went with my husband on business trips (in the car), the longest one was about 7 hours, he was fine. Like Jaime said, everything takes longer, so a 5 hour car trip will be more like 7. We are going on the plane next month for a weekend to go back home, so we will see how that goes.

Jaime - posted on 02/21/2009

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I took my child on a 12 hour car trip... we visited family and saw Washington, DC.  Not something he'll remember, but it was nice to get away for awhile.  He was fine and it was fun for us.  Just remember that everything takes longer than expected.  But what doesn't with a baby?

Michelle - posted on 02/21/2009

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depends were you plan on goign etc... we tookt he baby for the week of thanksgiving to visit family *her and big brothers frist plane trip* one of the best things we did was to try to keep her on her schedule as much as possible.

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