I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “Oh now that you have a baby you won’t ever leave the house!” While leaving the house certainly takes a lot more thinking, planning, and packing, my husband and I made a decision long before our little man was born -- we were having a baby because we wanted to have a travel companion. We have adopted the paradigm that having a baby will definitely change how and when we travel, but it will also make our experiences even more exciting and fulfilling. Now, when we travel, we are traveling as a family. We will be making memories. We will be teaching, learning, growing, and bonding.
And that has already started. Hugo is five weeks old. And here’s how we stay motivated and inspired to maintain our active, travel and adventure loving lifestyle:
I have to admit, the first few weeks after Hugo was born, I lost all hope of ever traveling again. I quickly looked in the mirror and thought, you idiot! What a naive, crazy thing to believe! From the demands of breastfeeding and pumping, the unpredictable crying, sleeping, and waking hours of newborn life, I slipped into the camp of parents that had given up all hope of ever returning to a somewhat normal life.
But then my mom, my hero through this whole process, reminded me to be patient. To give myself grace and time. And so I did. And after a few deep breaths, I could relax again. Breastfeeding got easier. The demands of pumping felt less intense. Hugo’s schedule became a bit more predictable. Some days are really tough, but now it finally feels like most days are really pleasant and happy. I look at my boy and think, I can’t wait to take you camping!
START MAKING PLANS
This one is huge. Making travel plans for the future gives parents something to look forward to and it also gives parents time to start mentally preparing for the journey. Our first big trip is planned for Memorial Day: we plan to head up north to our some of our usual camping spots in the UP! In order to make that happen, we will be doing this next item on the list…
Practicing outings has been critical for us in the first five weeks! The first time I took Hugo out of the house on an outing, I was literally shaking and my heart was pounding in my chest. He was only one week old and my mom was staying with us. She was the one who convinced me that I could do it - that we would be JUST FINE. So, we fed him, bundled him up (yup...newborn in a Chicago winter is just the worst!), and got in the car. And I drove the car. With a baby inside. It was terrifying!!! But then we arrived at Babies-R-Us and he slept. And we got to Maggianos for lunch...and he slept. Then we walked around the mall...and he slept. Every ten seconds I was peeking under the car seat cover to make sure my baby was still alive...and he was. By the end of our outing, Hugo had slept almost four hours and my guts were so twisted I had diarrhea when we got home (okay not really, but I thought it would happen for sure!!).
The point is - we got out. And everything was okay. So we tried again and again. I went alone. I went with my husband. And every time we learn something new about being out with our baby. We’ve probably only had one or two bad outings, and we learned from them. Now, instead of being five weeks postpartum and terrified to take our baby out, we are five weeks postpartum with lots of practice, and even better, lots of confidence in what we are capable of doing with our little boy! As an added bonus, Hugo loves the car seat, loves the car, and is starting to realize that his parents aren’t slowing down anytime soon.
USE YOUR REGISTRY
Your baby shower is a great time to stock up on some helpful baby-travel items. Here are a few of the items that were recommended to me by other parents (some affiliate links included) and things we've already been using:
Boon TRIP Travel Drying Rack, Green, White
FOLLOW ROLE MODELS
My hubby and I stay inspired by following other travel-loving individuals, parents, and families. From the blogosphere to YouTube, there are so many amazing people out there sharing their travel stories! Here are a few accounts we have our eyes on right now!
How do YOU roll?
I'd love to hear how you're making the most of travel with your little ones! Drop a comment below and share your favorite items, other travelers to follow online, or your own experience and advice!
Thanks for reading!