Choosing Less Travel During Baby’s First Year

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I have always been a travel addict and, in particular, a passionate advocate of slow travel, where you spend an extended period of time somewhere and really get to know the ins and outs of your location. Slow travel is also a better option when you have to work as you go because you are better able to manage your working hours with the time you need to thoroughly explore a place.

Because we work primarily remotely, we spent a lot of our pre-baby relationship working on the road because we could, but we have always had a home base. As my pregnancy complications became an issue after the second trimester, we began to stay home more and more. We have started to ramp it back up in the 9 months since the baby was born by going on 4 extended road trips, but the majority of the time has still been spent at home.

I feel that travel is a vitally important part of a child’s education, but I have also felt that a bit more stability was necessary for us during this first year with the baby. A number of reasons led me to the conclusion that I wanted to spend more time at home during the first year, and the decision, based on these considerations, really serves to reduce stress during a time I should be focused on my little one.

Feeding and Weaning

All of the equipment required for feeding and weaning has been my greatest deterrent from traveling more extensively during this time. With pumping taking up a large portion of the first 6 months and my desire to make all of my own baby food, I haven’t been so keen on taking this show on the road.

Weaning and making my own baby food, in particular, has become my pet project, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I wouldn’t be able to experiment and enjoy the experience as much as I have if I didn’t have all of my books and gadgets, and baby loves sitting up in his high chair. Spending a lot of time on weaning has been my way of trying to create a healthy relationship with food for my baby, so getting to work on weaning under optimal conditions at home has been worth it to me. Once he has the basics down, he’ll be ready to explore the world of flavors.

Routine

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been really shit at having a defined schedule, and traveling a lot only makes it worse. I want to continue to have a flexible schedule, within reason with a baby, but we clearly need to spend time and effort making sure he is getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night and that he is spending plenty of time on enriching activities. Weaning also works better when we’re on a schedule.

Establishing Mommy Roots

File this under another thing that I’m terrible at. Playdates? Nope. Other new mommy friends? Not really any to speak of. Children’s parties at work? Well, that’s one thing I can check off the list. We have been going to story time at the library and mommy and me yoga, but we really haven’t talked much to the other mommies. Making mommy friends is hard under any circumstance, but it’s nearly impossible on the road. At least at home, I have other friends with kids who I can reach out to and who have reached out to me.

All the Stuff

There’s no way around it. Babies require a lot of stuff, and traveling with babies makes me feel like a pack mule. This may be the laziest excuse for not traveling with a baby, but it is also the most draining to think about. Flying with a car seat is my nightmare du jour. If you have to check it, you may not know how much trauma it experiences in the cargo hold. Visibly, you may not be able to tell that it is no longer safe, and the thought is keeping me up at night as we’re about to embark on our first flight with baby next week.

Traveling Time Limits

Working on the road leaves little time for actual work, and this amount of time dwindles even more with a baby. Planning enough time to work, explore, tend to baby, and get around extends trip times even longer than usual, which is often more costly and sometimes not even doable due to other commitments. It also requires much more planning and many logistical considerations, which will become fewer as he gets older.

We are still traveling somewhat regardless of these issues, but I’m happy to travel less to reduce stress during an already busy time of adjustment. We have benefitted as a family by not trying to take on too much, and I do look forward to adding travel in more and more without forcing ourselves or feeling overextended.

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21 Comment

  1. I would love to travel, but it’s not possible right now. I hope when my daughter is a toddler we’ll be able to. Having a child is such a stressful and crazy time, so I’m sure it’ll benefit me and my family to wait a little. Thanks for sharing your post on #fortheloveofBLOG!

  2. We travelled a little less with our first child – just in Australia, not overseas but by number 3, we were on a plane 6 days later (she was late so it was her fault) which is not even legal now! Opps! It’s just as much a hassle here as there, so I’m all for going there. And you see somewhere with different eyes if a toddler is in tow…#FortheloveofBlog
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston ChurchillMy Profile

    1. Love the perspective. It’s true that I’m probably more hesitant because I’m new at this whole baby thing.

  3. I think it makes total sense to travel less during that first year while you’re still finding your feet. We’re just starting to be a bit more bold with our travelling now that our daughter is a toddler – she was a really difficult baby who pretty much never slept, so it’s much easier to travel with her now. The flights are pretty hellish, but she adjust to new settings like champ. #fortheloveofBLOG
    The Squirmy Popple recently posted…What do you do when your kid’s book is just a little bit racist?My Profile

    1. We’re flying next week, so fingers crossed that flying isn’t hellish, but I don’t have high expectations.

  4. I don’t blame you taking a bit of a break from the travels. I travelled quite a bit with my son in the first couple of years (while he was still free!) and sometimes it was soooo exhausting. I’m glad I did it, but I agree with all the points you raise here. Thanks for sharing your post on #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. Travelling outside of the UK is our next obstacle we plan on tackling. Now that our daughter is 17 months I’m hoping it will be slightly less stressful. It’s the plane that is making me nervous!! #GlobalBlogging

    1. I’m still stuck on the car seat and all the stuff, having to hold him the whole time, and making sure we pack enough for while we’re en route. Thanks for commenting!

  6. So exciting that you are able to work some travel in while not doing so much that you go wonky from the stress! #DreamTeam
    Heather Keet recently posted…All the things you didn’t know you knew…My Profile

  7. We struggled with travel in our daughters first year but its great to be able to embrace it once again #dreamteam

  8. We traveled a lot with my first one. I believe it helped him to become such a chilled, easy to handle, very adaptable toddler who he is now. We have great memories. Now, with my second it’s a completely different story, travel became such a challenge with TWO small children. #globalblogging

  9. We love traveling. We just completed a road trip across 8 States with our 4 kids. It gets a bit chaotic trying to maintain some form of “order” amongst the kids, but its fun none-the-less. And yes, packing for them is a NIGHTMARE!!! Thanks for sharing on #globalblogging

    1. Yes, and in fact, I had a nightmare that we missed our flight because I did not get packed on time!

  10. We’ve always traveled with our children since they were 6 months old.
    The excitement and adventure of exploring different cultures and tasting different foods has given them a great sense of the world we live in.
    We only live once and it’s a wonderful experience to travel. So many people are scared to leave their comfort zone. I was lucky enough to have experienced it from a very young age so I’ve never been scared as it’s what I’ve grown up doing.
    #coolmumclub

    1. For me, it hasn’t been about getting out of my comfort zone. I think I almost feel guilty for slowing down a bit temporarily because travelling is my comfort zone really. I’m making excuses for why slowing down is okay.

  11. Oh this one really resonates as we had many trips we wanted to take when Emma was a baby and we decided against them…not because I didn’t want to go but it just broke her routine too much. I’m glad we did it and limited journeys to 1.5 hours maximum, which seems to work well for her. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x
    Bridie By The Sea recently posted…Dear Emma, Approaching TwoMy Profile

  12. Yeah I totally get this I think we travelled a lot less during the first year because it just can become a bit of a faff and nonsensical sometimes. But that does change as they get older because it’s much easier to be flexible and less stuff to cart around every year! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

    1. Yes, I cannot wait until it is more fun! 🙂

  13. OH gosh considering the sort of travel you do I so do not blame you. The first year with a baby is hard and some stability is not a bad thing. We still travelled a fair bit in the first year of our first and second baby but our were shorter breaks so it didn’t seem quite so tough. Although I totally agree – therein just so much stuff sometimes you feel like you’d rather not bother! #abloggingtime

  14. You make some really valid points – as an EXPAT I have travelled with both my boys from age 3 months but only short flights and largely to family. We did go abroad when my eldest was a baby and the feeding was a nightmare it put me off for quite a while. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime
    Imperfect Mum recently posted…#a blogging good time #45My Profile

    1. Yes, and there are so many things like that that can put you off because any number of things can become nightmares if things don’t work out just right.

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