My daughter was five weeks old when I made my first postpartum trek to Richmond – my hometown – from my current home in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. My husband was unable to join us for the trip, so I was making the [normally] three-hour drive alone. And I was terrified.
We set out in the early afternoon immediately following a feeding, in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to nurse again until I arrived at my destination. Four hours, three pit stops, two diaper changes, one Starbucks chai latte, and a partridge in a pear tree later, I rolled into my parents’ house and immediately whipped out a boob. Whew…
Truth be told, the trip itself was the easy part. Vivian slept throughout most of it, leaving me alone with only my thoughts and the open road. It was actually quite blissful.
But the packing… oh, the packing.
I packed five bags between the two of us for that trip – a four-day visit with my family. Included on my extensive checklist were twice the number of outfits Vivian actually needed – two per day in anticipation of blowouts and projectile spit-up – along with her bathtub, shampoo, a towel and washcloths, lotion, wipes, the entire diaper caddy, Aquaphor, bottles, the stroller frame, the diaper bag, several hats because it was the dead of winter, pajamas and sleep sacks, every onesie she owned, and the baby monitor and its various parts. And that was just for her.
On my end, there was the boppy, nursing cover, burp cloths, nursing bras, my breast pump and its various parts, and breast milk storage bags.
Of course, packing all this along with my daughter herself into my four-door sedan required meticulous strategery. And then I had to unpack it all over again upon arrival. At which point, by God, I planned to stay a while.
For such tiny little things, babies do not travel light.
Vivian is now three years old and packing for her is much easier. For our most recent trip to Richmond over Valentine’s Day weekend, I tossed a couple of outfits and a pair of jammies into her little Sesame Street suitcase, along with her lotion, hair product, a comb, and some barrettes. It took all of ten minutes, whereas packing for her as an infant was a day-long ordeal.
Toddlerhood may have its challenges, but packing for excursions is not one of them.
On the other hand, however, the trips themselves are not nearly as quiet and tranquil.
Do you prefer traveling with babies or older kids?