So, you have a tiny little human who is completely dependent on you, and you are wondering if traveling with them is a wise idea?
If you’re considering it, DO IT!
First of all… you may not normally have Daddy around all the time, but now… extra hands make it easier than being at home!
We find traveling with a baby such a special experience, and would do it again in a heartbeat (except that at three kids we’re now DONE)
You may be asking …Will they cope with the new surroundings? What if they get sick somewhere remote? Where will they sleep? IF they sleep? What if they DON’T sleep and annoy other travellers? SO MANY CONCERNS!!
We hear ya! We had those concerns too. When we left on our Big Lap, Eddie was only 16 weeks old. Many questioned our sanity traveling with a near newborn, but it wasn’t our first rodeo and we were confident that doing this with a baby wouldn’t be a big deal. As the parents of three kids who we have dragged around both Australia and overseas their whole lives, we actually find pre-crawling bubbas the easiest to travel with and they make the perfect little travel buddies.
We understand that every family and child is different, so this list may be different for different families. Here are our top tips for traveling Australia (or anywhere really) with a newborn or baby.
1. A good stroller. We wanted one that was lightweight, fully reclined, had a large sun hood, was easy to fold and easy to steer and had semi-off road wheels. We found it in the Valco Snap 4, which we also purchased second hand for a bargain price on a local buy swap sell page so we wouldn’t be too precious with it. Some families opt not to take the pram, but at the moment Eddie only has day sleeps while moving so we wouldn’t be without it.
2. A comfortable Baby Carrier. We love baby wearing and have worn all three of our kids.We have trialed so many different carriers over the years and our favourites are the Chekoh wrap carrier for when they’re tiny (under 8kgs) and then either a Tula or Lillebabe All Seasons soft structured carrier when they are 4+ months. Both of these carriers do have an option for newborns, but OUR preference at that age is the wrap.
When Chloe and Elliot were toddlers/preschoolers we upgraded our Tula to the toddler size, and this comfortably carried them on hikes until they were 3 years (and refused to go in in anymore).
3. Sleeping arrangements – a portacot or not? We purchased the top of the line fancy Baby Bjorn portacot (second hand) for Eddie. It’s amazing and I highly recommend them if you can pick one up for a decent price. You would not believe how easy it is to assemble ! The RRP of $400 is a bit bonkers but if you use it all the time then it would be worth the price. In our pre-lap planning we had Eddie sleeping like a little angel in this every night. HAHA. He sleeps with us and the cot will most likely be sold or sent home. Check out the Phil & Ted’s travel cot, it has a zip on one side that may make life easier.
4. A Rocker for pre-sitters – We purchased a Fisher Price Rock n Play second hand prior to Eddie being born and tried to give it away before our lap. For some reason no one wanted it so we brought it with us. BEST DECISION EVER. It was a place for us to put him down either outside or inside the van and know he was safe out of boisterous brothers or other harms way. In the early days he napped in it, and it folded down flat for easy transportation. If your baby isn’t yet sitting up, definitely consider taking a rocker of some sort.
5. Bottle fed babies: Eddie is bottle fed and this has been easier in some ways than it was traveling with his breastfed brother and sister, and harder in others. Easier, because Michael has no excuse not to do the 3am bottle and harder as we have to consider sterilisation when free camping and formula when in remote areas. Here are some things to consider with bottle fed babies.
A formula dispenser. Our Pigeon one makes life so much easier for easy dispensing in middle of the night and also when traveling.
Easy to obtain formula. Eddie was on an expensive, hard to obtain formula. It was difficult to get in a major city at times, so we transitioned him to one that was easier to obtain =, and we’re so glad we did! There has only been once occasion on the East Coast of Tassie that we couldn’t find it. Lucky we had a tin backup. ALWAYS HAVE A TIN OR TWO BACKUP!
Extra bottles – because you lose them, and if your baby likes a particular type of teat and bottle you can guarantee that the town you’re in won’t have them.
Room temperature. Get your baby used to not having warm milk. You’ll be thankful for that in the middle of the night when free camping! But, if they refuse or you’re in a colder climate, a thermos from somewhere like Kmart is a good purchase.
6. What works for you now may not work for you next week and that’s OK.
We have donated stuff that we thought would be indispensable, and bought other stuff that we never thought we’d need off Facebook marketplace. ..Then donated that shortly after again! Don’t get caught up with keeping something and sticking it out if it’s not working. In such a small space with small kids it’s not worth the stress.
Hey guys, please understand that we haven’t just slipped into it like crazy super traveling parent ninjas with baby whispering super powers. We haven’t had a full nights sleep in perhaps years (like you would expect at home), and there are nights when we don’t get any sleep. We have had neighbouring van’s comment on the crying through the night, there is lots that we either have to rule out doing completely or one of us misses out on to care for the baby and working around naps can be tough! But, if you accept that some days may be totally crappy will make the transition from home to caravan life a lot easier and if will be worth while for everyone. Our biggest tip for travelling with young kids is
ROLL WITH IT.
Eddie MUST nap after breakfast, which he flat out won’t do in a cot, so we we either cuddle him for his sleep (my favourite, but not always possible or productive), travel (if we’ re organised enough), get the other kids to push him in the pram (if packing up to move) or W A L K with him. We love the walking option, as its the perfect way to explore new areas. People worry about sleep at night as well, and if the whole caravan will wake when he does. I don’t know if Chloe and Elliot are really heavy sleepers, or they are used to the crying and block it out but they seem to sleep through it all. Eddie’s favourite thing to do recently though is wake at 5:45am and yell across the caravan towards his siblings bed’s to get them up. That works for him! Y A W N.
No, Eddie won’t remember this trip. But we will. Watching the bond that he is developing with his brother and sister warms our hearts, and Eddie is the first of our kids to have his Daddy around all the time. He is also our happiest baby, totally chilled and happy with his life. We’re sure that even though all he visually will have to remember is lots and lots and lots and lots of photos, the important developmental connections have been formed which will have lifelong benefits.
So, if you’re on the fence wondering if you should travel with young kids we urge you to take the leap and just try. We did and have no regrets.