Well, let me just start by saying I AM SO GLAD TO BE HOME!!!!! Every year BJ (my husband) has a chance to earn 3 trips with his company (2 weekend trips and one week-long trip). This is all done by extreme hard work and pressure. This year our first trip was to the Dominican Republic to an all inclusive resort, 4 days 3 nights. And with just having our first child who will be 3 months soon, it was hard to think about leaving her here with grandma and grandpa. So preparing for our first family vacation was, well, interesting.
Were to begin is the hard part for me…. so lets start with getting ready to leave.
Packing for yourself and your husband is a chore in itself. You need to make sure you have all the essentials. Passports. ticket information. swim suit. sunscreen. nice clothes. “play” clothes. shoes for every outfit… 🙂 The whole sha-bang. But adding an infant to the mix adds a whole new list!! Clothes for her. Jammies. diapers. wipes. formula (just in case). bottles. swim suit. SUPER sunscreen. bath stuff. blankets. a sheet for the hotel crib. AND her OWN passport!!! (which in itself was a terrible experience!!! the post office is not fun) So we can easily say I was more concerned about packing for the baby then packing for myself. I had no idea what I packed. I was lucky enough to remember a few pairs of flip flops.
The Plane ride: Almost everyone has asked me how she did on the plane. Well, she was awesome! It helped that she is still nursing. I really think that brings a form of comfort to her no matter where we are. It saved us a million meltdowns. And then, with the humming of the plane, most of the time she fell right to sleep. She is a very happy baby. BJ and I are extremely blessed!! She never really cries out of the blue. She’s easy to please. And she is always getting attention. Before we left we made sure to purchase an umbrella stroller and that was a God sent!! It helped for when my arms where going to break, yet it was small enough that it wasn’t a pain to carry around. I have a carry on bag that I used as an oversized diaper bag. I packed it like I would my diaper bag, but with a few extra things.
Here is a list of what was in my “diaper bag”:
Diapers (duh) but more than I would normally pack. about 10 or so.
Wipes (another duh) but a big pack.
The changing table cover that is in my original diaper bag. I don’t trust many surfaces.
A little thing of sunscreen.
extra jammies. extra clothes. (a few outfits just in case)
my iPod touch. This is not just for mommy but I have baby flash cards on there. And she LOVES them!
Some toys. She’s not into them JUST yet, but you never know…
Formula and bottle. Yes, I am still nursing but sometimes there is a moment where I can’t nurse or just don’t want too 🙂
And a few essentials for mommy. Money. Chapstick. ID. Passports. Credit card. Gum. (i told you, I barely remembered to pack for myself! lol)
The trip actually worked really well with the babies schedule. And let me just tell you. I had no idea that I really did have Sage on a schedule/routine until this trip!!! I thought I would just wing-it with her because she would adjust. Now I know it is so important for a little one to stay on their schedule. Even if you think you don’t have one, you will be surprised! Babies are SO routine. They love being home! And this trip was proof of that.
Once in the DR, it was SO SO HOT!!!!! I took her jammies off immediately and put her in a onzie that I had packed. Getting into the hotel room was a trip!! Like I said, it was a resort. SO our room wasn’t just up an elevator. It was down the hall. turn right. go up an elevator. go down a few more halls and TA DA!! Your there. (And this is ALL OUTSIDE! well, covered, but STILL) The room was BEAUTIFUL!!!! It was huge. Very luxurious. Dreamy. Totally meant for a honeymoon. BUT we had a baby. So it became more like a home. The crib was delivered and the baby stuff spread all over the place.
Let me explain to you what these weekend trips normally consist of BEFORE baby. The flights are quick. We pack only carry ons so there is no waiting for luggage. We arrive, we check in, we get to our room and then head to the pool to meet up with everyone. The first night is a welcome/ congratulation party. You put on a cute sun dress, eat LOTS of food, have a few drinks and be entertained by local people and stay up till the wee hours of the morning. The rest of the weekend you do a few activities, go to the beach or pool and take a few naps there. Eat all the time. Experience a few restaurants and hang outs, and again, stay up late, sleep in late… then before you know it, you’re heading home.
Well, with the baby, once we were settled in the hotel room, we TRIED to go down to the pool and hang out with everyone. BUT it was the babies nap time and she wanted NOTHING to do with the hot sun. It was hard for her to get comfortable in my arms, and the umbrella stroller doesn’t lay down all the way so that was a no go. After 30 minutes, I did the mommy thing and said to myself “this is silly. I need to take her back to the room”. So I did. She took a nap and it was time to get ready for the party that night. So far, she was great. She ate. I changed her. She was happy… Then it happened!! THE MELTDOWN OF THE CENTURY!! Nothing would calm her down. I had never seen her scream like that, EVER! It lasted a long time too. About a good hour. Finally I realized that we (mommy and baby) were NOT going to the party and I changed her back into jammies and decided the only way to calm her down was to nurse her. No, I do not demand feed. But with being somewhere new and a LONG day of traveling, I knew she was over stimulated and that was the only cure. And it worked. She nursed for about 15 minutes and she was OUT! She slept that night till 4 in the morning! BJ brought me up some food from the party to check on us, then I ordered some pizza (because the food he brought was not great) and then mommy was in bed.
The whole weekend, after the meltdown, she was over all, a great baby. Given the circumstances, and being almost 3 months old, she did so well. I just had to make a lot of sacrifices. I never swam. I barely stayed at the beach. And while everyone stayed out late I was in the hotel room by 9 so I could make sure Sage would get a good nights sleep.
Traveling with an infant can be a good experience. But at the same time, I would not recommend it. UNLESS, it is TRULY a family vacation. Because then you wouldn’t hesitate the babysitting while you swim. And you would have lots of hands to help. This trip was not with family and it was purely for pleasure. Sage is in a routine. And I know that now. I could not just let her nap anywhere, I still needed to get back to the room to make sure she got her naps in. I still had to nurse her every 3 hours no matter WHERE I was. And staying discreet was not easy. She did ok in the extreme heat, but it was not ideal, and hard to find good shade.
All in all… traveling with her was good. But for mommy, it was not a real vacation. I will not be taking her on any more of these trips that he earns. If there is a trip where my family is going, then yes, she will come. But other than that. The babe will stay and mommy and daddy will go out to play… ALONE 🙂
(I hope I didn’t discourage anyone… haha… traveling with a baby is not as easy as it seems and you can’t expect to have as much fun as you would normally if it were just you and your spouse.)