Last week we took our little one on his first actual vacation (somewhere other than Nana and Papa’s). Our trip consisted of 4 nights (yes…nights…scary thought for me at first) away from home. While we knew we wanted to get away, we also did not want to get over enthusiastic with our plans for a our first trip. So, we chose somewhere within reasonable driving distance from us, Port Aransas.
Now, I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I feel like traveling with a child brings on so many new adventures. One thing I realized was you have to be extremely flexible while still trying to maintain somewhat of the same schedule (for your little one’s sake…and yours’ when you return home). What I found to be the most difficult was getting our little one to nap at a normal time. Bring on the beach naps! But what is most important, is to enjoy every second…and enjoy making amazing memories with everyone! With that said, I thought it might be nice to discuss some mommy logistics.
- Be prepared to stop while traveling. Everything you read says this, but I will tell you, it is TOTALLY true! Gone are the days when you could say “I am not stopping until I see the ocean!!” We stopped multiple times (feedings, diaper changes, etc.).
- Plan to have a different type of vacation than you did pre-baby! While it is different it is equally, if not more, amazing! Activities need to be baby friendly, dinners need to be earlier (reservations are definitely nice if possible), and bed time is SOOOO much earlier (but so is rise time)!
- Travel with understanding company! We planned the trip with my brother, sister-in-
law (who expecting baby number 2-yay!), 3 year old nephew, mom (Nana), and Dad (Papa). Having another family with a kiddo eases your fear of cramping someone’s vacation style! Kids/babies were soooooo in style on our trip, and we loved it!
- Plan outdoor activities during times when the sun is not at chart topping levels! This is especially important if your child is
not old enough to wear sunscreen. Our little one was less than 6 months old (which is the recommended age most sunscreens say a child can begin using sunscreen), so we called to double check with our pediatrician and she said not to use sunscreen. For that reason, sun shirts, hats, and shaded areas were really important on our trip!
- Plan some “cool” kid activities! One activity that was really a fun experience for us at Port Aransas was the Red Dragon Pirate Cruises. My nephew loves pirates, and while there were some times when he was understandably cautious, the water-gun fights, treasure hunts, face paintings, and becoming an honorary pirates made it such a neat experience! It was also our little guy’s first boat ride!
- Try not to over pack…WE DID! We tried to be reasonable in our packing choices, but there was always that fear of “What if we need X, Y, or Z!?” It is certainly (in my opinion) better to be over prepared than under prepared. But just for funsies, here are some things that we used on the trip.
- Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light: As I mentioned on my previous post, we purchased this traveling sleeper with our trip in mind (we ordered it from Amazon-we are Amazon Prime addicts!). Wow! It was totally worth the purchase! This sleeper is amazingly easy to put up and take down (it takes about a minute). It is light and easy to transport and the bag is a nice and easy size. It is also extremely comfortable feeling! The mattress that comes with the sleeper is great feeling. It actually feels a lot better than most playard pads! Out little one slept really well in this sleeper. This travel sleeper also doubled as a safe place to put our little one when we needed to put him down to do things like load the car. Also, because the mattress pad was so comfortable feeling, we have even moved this sleeper into our room (post vacay), instead of the play yard we were using, until we can work up to transitioning our little guy to his crib in his room (Mama and Daddy are a little nervous about this transition).
- Ciao Baby Chair: We took this chair with us to the beach. I know this is not the most important thing to mention, but the chair is super cute! It transports like a regular bag chair, which is nice, and when you unfold it, there is a lined shelf for baby’s curious hands and also a safety belt. It is easy to unfold and a great thing to have if you need somewhere to put a little one to sit up. We took it with us to the beach. Our little guy did not spend a lot of time in it because he loved exploring, especially the SAND, but we definitely felt like this purchase was worth it as well. We have even started keeping this in the back of our car. Just in case! Again, this was an Amazon purchase for us! Thank you two-day shipping!
- Bottle Warmer: we took the same bottle warmer we use at home. This may not have been a necessity, but our little one is used to his bottle being warmed, and as I discussed in the “My Fave Five Baby Goodies” post, it is fast (which is really nice on vacation).
- Backpack Diaper Bag: So, I have a super cute diaper bag that I use every day, but we decided to take a backpack diaper bag, and I am very glad we did. The backpack made it easier for some of the different activities that we did while on vacation. It was also nice because while my husband is very good about carrying my girly diaper bag when necessary, he REALLY did not mind toting the backpack around. We used a backpack we have that is considered a diaper bag (it has a changing pad and an insulated area for bottles), but you could honestly use any backpack.
- Play Pad and Toys: Baby still needs tummy time and sensory stimulation, even on vacation! We took the quilt we use at home and some of our little one’s toys. It is important for your little one to get down and move and this does not change on vacation. Being able to put a kiddo down is also helpful when you are trying to get prepared for your next activity.
- Plenty of Baby Clothes: Because of the types of activities that our beach vacation included, having plenty of clothes were important. This was something that I realize isn’t such a bad thing if you over pack. The truth is, baby clothes are tiny (and cute of course!), so they don’t take up much room. It is better to have too many of these than not enough! I actually changed my little one more on vacation, than I do on regular days (water activities, extra baths because of the sand=fresh clothes mid-day, dinners out with family=photo ops, etc.)
- A Beach Mat: Believe me…you are going to want your little one out of the sand at some point!!
As for Mama fashion and essentials, vacation fashion is also very important and it could be another post on it’s own so this is just a little side note. Be sure you pack items that are
comfortable for you to wear and also make you feel cute. I found that a cute cover-up was very helpful because you are up and down a lot when you are at the beach and the pool. However, be sure you rock your bathing suit even if you don’t feel your absolute best (be proud of the body that gave birth to that/those amazing little one(s). But a cover up is nice! Take flats that work well for day and night (if possible). And because you are fabulous and deserve to feel that way, pack a couple of outfits that make you feel extremely amazing for your dinners out with the fam. I am all for rocking wedges/heels with my baby! Because traveling with a baby does bring on A LOT of extra baggage (literally not figuratively), be sure you make a SERIOUS effort to not over pack for yourself! You know what you will need better than you will know exactly what your little one needs, so try to keep the excess baggage at a minimum. You will thank yourself later!
Material things aside, our first vacation with our baby was a wonderful experience. We loved making memories. When you get an opportunity to vacation with your family, enjoy every moment!!
*Simple Disclaimer: all of the products/items/activities and information I provided was provided solely because I used the products/items/activities. I am not receiving anything for mentioning these products, I am simply sharing the information for anyone who may be interested. 🙂