Traveling with a baby for 2 weeks in 3 settings. Age - 8.5 months old.
Pack List – 75 diapers 1 wipes pack (divided into 2 packs for easier traveling), 38 food pouches (28 veggie/meal ones and 10 fruity ones), 2 baggies of cereal with formula added (oatmeal and rice), 4 formula packets, 1 bib, 3 paci’s, 1 Infantino pack (bjorn/ergo type pack), 1 spoon, 1 bottle/sippy cup, 1 baby tent, 1 blanket, 2 loveys, 1 sleep sack, 4 sleepers, 8 onesies, 4 leggings, 2 rompers, 4 pair of socks, 1 pair of zutanos, 2 hats, 1 pair of shoes, 2 jackets (one light/rain one and one cozy one), 1 stroller, 1 car seat (the car seat clicks into the stroller), puffs/snacks, a few small toys, diaper rash cream, topical arnica, baby tylenol, chest rub, nose sucker, baby wash, sunscreen, stain pen, baby changing mat, arm & hammer diaper bags for diaper disposal (I’m really glad I had these). Although not totally necessary to bring, I put banana peels, diapers anything messy or smelly in here to throw away later. I also stored his lovey in one so it stayed clean(er) than the items in the backpack. I used all the creams/ointments etc, so I wouldn’t change anything there. I did pack travel sized ones, though.
My mom also packed a foldable chair we could strap to (some) chairs to use as a highchair. It was helpful to be able to strap him in.
Packing for Paris – I knew we would want it streamlined in Paris. We used the pack and the stroller an equal amount. The upside of the pack is the ease, the downside is hopping into an Uber feeling like a bad parent for not having the car seat. The stroller is big, but easy to maneuver.
Loire Valley- wide open spaces, antiques, old floors I didn’t prefer him crawling on because he finds gross treats to put in his mouth. The great thing is that our moms were there to keep him occupied. He took walks, played on the toddler trampoline, and had monitored play time in the grass or wherever. He usually got his normal naps in and was well taken care of by the grandmas.
Chamonix – I was glad I had packed his jackets, but I really only used them in the morning or if it was drizzling. The weather was really fantastic and much warmer than I had anticipated. We used the pack here so that we could hike, but still used the stroller in town. The moms were not with us here, so our hikes were less than 2 hours total because we would run into nap/meal times.
I only needed to use the formula twice. Once on a car ride and once because I was out running errands for the retreat and I wanted him to have something else besides pistachio pudding which his father deemed a healthy meal option on more than one occasion J I justified this by saying we were eating lots of treats too, so I wasn’t upset for giving the baby some pudding instead of his quinoa/amaranth zucchini food pouches.
Sleeping – he does best in his own room, and rarely was there space to separate him from us, so he woke in the night at least half the nights and woke early most mornings which meant I usually fed him and either put him back down or Eric got up with him – just the sweetest. The tent worked well, though. I don’t have any complaints because it was lightweight, portable, and contained him effectively.
Flights- I think a lot of people prayed for us/him because he did so great on the flights. The flight didn’t seem to bother his ears, he had his own seat (indulgent, I know), so he could sit/stand in his car seat and it somewhat contained him as he pulled up and looked out the window or over the back seat etc. He slept for 4-5 hours on each long flight. I think the white noise helped him finally be able to sleep, because he didn’t want to give up and go to sleep, that’s for sure. We sang plenty of rounds of JesusLoves Me, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Search Me O God, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Car - He did worse on our car rides than the flights because on the flight he didn’t have to be strapped in his car seat the whole time. We had 2 long-ish legs in the car because of our drive to Chamonix (6 hours each way) and he struggled hard.
Other Things to Note
- traveling with a baby gives you some perks. We skipped lines, got free things and lots of smiles/greetings. The Musee D’Orsay line was hours deep when we were in Paris because it was a rainy afternoon. We skipped the entire line and were able to go in the handicapped/kids entrance (entrance C I believe). We would not have stayed in line had we have had to wait in the main line.
- Even remote places have groceries stores and places that stock Pampers, wipes, baby food. I brought so many diapers because I thought there wouldn’t be name brands I knew I could count on. Also, I probably didn’t have to bring all those food pouches. I am still glad I had some because they pack so well and work on the go, but there were plenty to be found.
- I caved and fed him more fruit pouches than veggie ones towards the end when we needed to get food in him fast or if he was fussy.
- I bought a cute romper, a tshirt and a tank top for him at a baby store. I didn’t need these, but they were cute and a good price, so they came home with us.
- We had access to a washer/dryer, so we could wash and rewear.
- We lost 1 of the 2 loveys, so I’m glad we brought 2.
- We packed a blanket that we barely used. I didn’t know if any places we stayed would be chilly enough for a cozy blanket, so I guess that is one of those ‘glad we had it if we needed it’ items.
- Didn’t use the shoes we packed. They were darling, but he managed to kick them off so quickly after putting them on that I didn’t even want to leave the house/apartment for fear of losing them in public,
- If you have a stroller/car seat combo I suggest taking it – but the Bob is a really big stroller, so if you have a smaller one then I’d definitely take that. We had to take the wheels off a time or two to make sure all our stuff fit where we were going.
- I used wipes a ton and I wouldn’t consider myself a germaphobe. There are just lots of dirty things, and I’d wipe his hands and feet a lot as well as bibs, surfaces, just ALL THE TIME.
Things I didn’t account for
- I didn’t count on the baby not nursing well in public. He is so interested in the world around and trying to keep myself even moderately covered posed a challenge. And then he’d not be interested in staying latched, so I ended up buying more food. I had planned on buying some anyway, but the inadequate nursing sessions meant I bought a little more than I had planned. I bought bananas, applesauce’s, sweet potatoes, avocados. There was an immersion blender at our Paris apartment so I whipped up some veggie/meal type things. I also hadn’t thought about him not finishing some of the meal pouches I had bought. And depending on how long we were out, I ended up throwing plenty of the remaining pouch away because it seemed gross to hang on to that.
- I didn’t account for how franticly active he is becoming. He wants out of his seat all the time and now he has started pushing you away even if he wants to be held. He doesn’t fall asleep easily in public any more. He gets more active before crashing when he is tired
- He did better than I thought he would do – few meltdowns, adapted to so many different people and environments. What a joy he was to us and to everyone who interacted with him. He was a dream baby, and we know we are blessed to have a ‘go with the flow’ kind of kid at this stage.