While I was pregnant with George, I read a lot about traveling with a baby. I’ve read tips and advice and countless explanations about how traveling can help your baby grow into a well-rounded child who is open to other cultures and accustomed to new surroundings.
To be honest, I don’t know how much of this is true. I don’t think children need to travel the world to grow up to be happy, well-rounded, confident, and accepted adults.
Maybe that’s true, but George is only 15 months old and doesn’t seem to care where he is as long as he gets lots of attention and an endless supply of grapes (although it has to be green grapes) (Not red grapes!)
He is just as happy in the gym’s pool as he is in the sea in the Maldives, and has a habit of going to bed with some truly incredible experiences. He spent three seaplane flights sleeping, missed seeing dolphins in the Maldives, slept through every beautiful sunset walk in Portugal, and missed seeing baby turtles hatch while in the land of Nodding. It even happened. Try letting him sleep during a long-haul flight and it’s a whole different story…
Some people think it’s selfish to travel with a baby. If they are just as happy at home, why get on a plane and drag them across the world and take them away from the comfort of their home?
So why do I think traveling with a baby is so important?
It’s for parents!
Why doesn’t anyone mention the fact that it’s important to go on vacation with your baby because you need a vacation? Because you need to relax, have fun and spend time with your partner.
Taking care of a baby is hard work. It’s great, but it’s exhausting, dirty, and underrated. There’s a never-ending list of chores and it’s rare to just sit and relax for months on end.
As a new parent, the thought of having someone else do all the cooking and cleaning for you for a week is almost as exciting as the holidays themselves. Not only that, you don’t have to do boring errands like going to the bank, grocery shopping, or appointments. During your vacation, you can focus solely on you and your baby. That’s the most important reason to vacation with your baby!
I had a very wise midwife who was different from other midwives. She didn’t follow a textbook, and she didn’t tell me what I “should” do as a new mom. She told me to do what makes me happy. Of course, my and George’s health was her top priority, but she firmly believed that a happy mom led to a happy baby. And if the holidays make you happy, no one will argue with that!
I’ll be the first to admit that long-haul flights with a baby can be tough, but once you get to your destination, it’s actually much easier than staying at home. I keep George on his usual routine, but he loves the excitement of going to new places and meeting new people. He may not understand the historical importance of old churches or the beauty of pristine beaches, but he definitely likes getting out and seeing new things. And it’s hard to constantly get out and see new things in your hometown!
I go to baby groups and just talk to other moms about breastfeeding and nighttime routines and “What words can your baby say?” “Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?” “Have you read ‘The Baby Whisperer’?” and “Did you know that Jane hasn’t weaned Olivia yet?” Yeah, that drives me crazy. I have some amazing mom friends that I love, but I also love having conversations that don’t center around the consistency of my baby’s poop.
Not only does George like to experience something new, so do I. You need a break from your usual routine.
Parents with babies rarely get the chance to have a “date night” or spend time together without feeling guilty for having so many things to do
Another reason to travel with a baby (and you may not be sold on it yet) is that once your baby becomes a child, things get more expensive. You also have to start paying for plane seats, hotel accommodations, proper meals (why do you eat so much?!), and traveling during the school holidays, when everything is hectic and expensive.
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