Tip #1: Always over pack
Babies need a lot of “stuff” just to get through a single day. This includes but is not limited to food, toys, and clothes. So why not include these things when you travel? Whether you’re going on a family vacation or just heading to Grandma’s house for the day. Always pack more than you think you are going to need. It’s not up to the person you’re visiting to provide your child with food. Always pack your own meals and snacks for your child. It’s true that the person you’re visiting will probably have something to give your child and they won’t mind sharing, but again it’s not their responsibility to make sure that your child is fed. This is especially true if your child is on a particular diet (whether it’s allergies or just because you prefer that your child eat organic). You have no right to get upset at the contents of another person’s refrigerator if you didn’t plan ahead for your child.
Did you know that babies like to play and be entertained? It’s true. They like shiny things that make noise or textured things and the best kind are the ones they can put into their mouths. Why not pack some toys for baby? Just a couple toys so that Grandma doesn’t have to pull out the spoons and measuring cups. Granted, if I know Grandmas they will probably pull out the spoons and cups anyway and if I know babies they will probably throw aside the toys from home to play with the new items, but that doesn’t change the fact that as a parent it is your responsibility to entertain your child. What if you were going to the home of a childless friend and they don’t want your kid getting into their cupboards for fun? Don’t just expect there will be something in your friend’s house that your child can play with. It doesn’t matter if your friend collects stamps, dolls, sports memorabilia, stuffed animals, or video games; it’s their stuff and if they don’t want a child touching it, then it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure they don’t and to make sure they have something they can play with while they are there.
While you’re packing, why not pack more than one outfit? Heck, pack a few outfits. Babies can be messy. I’ve actually witnessed a mother change her baby into a second outfit just to have the baby almost immediately puke on it. Did she pack another outfit? No. I guess she didn’t get the memo that babies puke. This brings me to my next point. Babies poop.
Tip #2: Always pack extra diapers!
This could be included as part of the first tip, but I felt that it was so important that it deserved its own section. Make sure that you have more than enough diapers to handle any fecal situation that may arise. It’s great if you can predict down to the minute when you’re going to have a bowel movement, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to babies. Sure, while you’re at home your child may poop at 7 AM regularly and not have another until 3-4 hours later, but the process of traveling can throw a child off his or her schedule and suddenly you have a messy and stinky situation to deal with. Packing one diaper for a trip away from home just isn’t going to cut it. You might get lucky and not need more than one diaper, but the likelihood of that is slim. Isn’t it better to pack more, just in case? While you’re packing the diapers, don’t forget the baby wipes.
Tip #3: Have two sets of medicine.
One set is for your home cabinets and the other set is for your diaper bag. Sicknesses, gas, teething pain, and other baby ailments can strike at any time. Illness and pain follow no rules and will show up whenever they feel like it whether you like it or not. So be prepared. Having a sick child is a scary and often stressful situation; why add a lack of medicine to the equation? The last thing you want to do while your baby is crying is have to run to the store to buy medicine or pack him or her up to head all the way home…unless you’re hoping that the ride will lull them to sleep. That’s a 50/50 game. You either get the peaceful ride with a sleeping baby or you get the ride from Hell with a screaming child in the backseat for the entire trip.
Tip #4: Jammies make great evening wear.
If you’re planning to be out until the evening and you know/hope that little Suzy is going to fall asleep in the car on the way home make sure you pack her pajamas. That way just before you leave (wherever you are) you can put her in pajamas and she can go right into bed when you get home. This tip has amendments though. If you forget pajamas and your child falls asleep in the car in their clothes, just make their clothes their pajamas that night. Your baby will be fine if he goes to bed in his cute little baby jeans and T-Shirt. There is no rule that you have to sleep in pajamas.
Tip #5: Remember that you’re not a failure.
This is one of the most important tips I can offer. It’s okay if your
breast milk isn’t ample enough for your baby and you had to switch to formula.
I've heard mothers cry because they couldn't breast feed and were worried that their friends would judge them for going to formula. Formula is enriched with the vitamins and minerals that babies need and it is meant to be an alternative to breast milk for a reason. You're not a failure as a mother. It’s okay if your baby is soothed by a pacifier (or blanket or stuffed animal). Many people have security items in their adult lives and they are perfectly normal. I still have a pillow case that helps me sleep and I don't feel like a failure. It's okay if your baby is a little chubbier than other babies. According to my mother-in-law chubby babies are healthier babies. I don't know if there is any scientific proof to back that up, but it sounds nice and reassuring. Plus chubby babies are down right adorable. And it is completely okay if you
don’t have little Jack or Suzy on a strict eating/bath/bedtime schedule. Just
because your friend Mary Jane and her husband Johnny-Be-Good have their perfect
child on a perfect schedule. The truth is they are probably fibbing at least a little bit. Nobody is perfect. Especially when it comes to parenting.
Obviously these aren’t the only tips out there for new parents. This is just a list that I have compiled as an observant aunt. I’ve been told by numerous people that you can never be completely prepared for parenthood and I don’t doubt that. Life is unpredictable and you can’t plan for every detail, but you can try and stay ahead of the game by taking these tips into consideration. I hope that they are helpful in some way.
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