B.L. asks from Sunnyvale, CA on January 21, 2009
When Is a Good Age to Travel with Child?
Hello fellow mamas,
I have a 2.5 month old boy whom I love very much. When have you found to be a good age to travel with children? Because I had heard that when they are babies can be good because they can't really go anywhere and because I was going a little stir-crazy, my spouse and I recently took our baby on a family road-trip. The nine hour drive, combined with the new surroundings and our changed sleeping patterns seemed to cause our baby to be fussier and his acid reflux seemed worse afterwards (perhaps coincidental). Wondering if he will be more resilient in a couple of months or more like a year old? I have read that illness, vaccinations, and travel can all disrupt a babies sleep rhythm, not that he is really old enough to have a pattern yet.
Thank you for your thoughts, lovely ladies.
E.F. answers from Salinas on January 23, 2009
we've always traveled with the kids - the military says go & we go & we try to find interesting things to do along the way. I found that by about 6 weeks of age we were up for road trips, etc. build in extra time, changes of clothes & lots of diapers. i found it helpful to sit in the back & interact with the kids, read books, play peek-a-boo, etc., and then move to the front seat when it was time for them to rest. It helps establish (or reinforce) a "play time" and a "rest time" pattern .
N.N. answers from Fresno on January 22, 2009
I've traveled with my daughter at 3 and again at 5 months. She did much better at 5 months. She had a more stable sleeping pattern. Also for that vacation I was more relaxed and babyies can sense that! Bon voyage!
M.C. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2009
I personally think 2.5 months is very young for a baby to travel, as it sure IS disruptive and it certainly can expose a young infant to illnesses s/he might never be confronted with at home. On the other hand, this doesn't stop millions of people from going to visit family at the holidays, taking a home leave if your an ex-patriate, etc. As long as your baby is in good health it's not even a problem to take them on a plane after age 3 months. (You may want to check this one with your pediatrician.) We first took our son on a 6 hour roadtrip at age 7 months and things went fine, except it's true the different environment was somewhat disruptive to him, and he really didn't sleep very well in the car. We did stop ever 2 hours like the pediatrican told us to get him up and let him move around, get him changed, etc. Since then, he's been on 2 overseas trips, Geneva-London-Orlando at age 2, and Geneva-Amsterdam-San Francisco at age 3 3/4, and he handles international travel very well. To answer your question, what is a good age? I really cannot, as it's so personal. Though before 4-months I was definitely decided for my son I would not expose him to travel. As long as your doctor agrees, you'll need to decide -- and then of course, live up to any inconveniences it may cause your baby. They're more flexible and more sturdy than we think. As long as he has good care, proper food and hydration, and lots of love probably any age is appropropriate, but especially after 3 to 4-months.
C.B. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2009
First off, every baby is different and unique. I have a 6-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. We have always traveled all the time. The farthest we went when my daughter was a baby was Arizona, but my son went to Hawaii when he was four months old and then I took him to Italy with my family when he was five months old. I feel it was the perfect time to travel. He was alert enough that he could enjoy the people around him and they could enjoy him, but he wasn't old enough to be uncomfortable and fussy on the long flight and car rides. He even adjusted well to the time changes. Both my children have always enjoyed traveling and I truly feel it's because it was introduced at such a young age and we continue to do it today. It's not something new and strange to them. So I say go to it.
T.S. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2009
we took a road trip when our daughter was about 2.5 months old and I thought it was a good time to travel with her. we went to so. cal so the drive was about 7-8 hours each way and we left really early in the morning. she slept for a good part of the time and when she was awake she was pretty content to be just hang out since she couldn't really do much else anyway. we did have to stop a few times for feeding but that was good for us to get out of the car anyway. she was actually already sleeping pretty well through the night and that didn't really change much luckily however naps were pretty much impossible unless we drove around.
we recently took a road trip when she was 13 months old and it was much more difficult b/c she was able to walk then and was not very content to be sitting in the car for the 5 hour drive.
i say go for it now since you will be going back to work soon and it is important to get out and do things. good luck!
J.J. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2009
I think the important thing to consider when traveling is "Who's going to have fun?"
The actual traveling, car, air etc. is one thing. Little babies are pretty easy cause they can't go anywhere and have pretty basic needs, eat, sleep, poop.
Where you go and what your expectations are for travel is a whole nuther set of issues.
If you're visiting friends and family and hanging out or going to a resort and will stay put for the most part, those are pretty easy, bring a port-a crib and the gear you need and you're set to go.
If you want to do some real touring, museums, more adventurous stuff it is a little more complicated.
Most important is do have reasonable expectations for yourself and your child. Travel is VERY different with a kid in tow.
As someone who did the backpacking through Europe kind of thing as a young person, I had to make big adjustments in my expectations when I started to travel with kids. It's still fun, but VERY different. Travel will definitely disrupt the child's regular routines and if you have concerns about health or safety issues, delay your travel or get gramma or auntie or someone you trust and leave the baby at home and take a real vacation.
K.C. answers from San Francisco on January 22, 2009
This age should be a good time to travel. But I think a NINE HOUR road trip would turn ANYONE'S world upside down. :O) That was probably way too much! Try another trip. A plane ride or shorter 2 hour road trip may work better. While on vacation, try to stick (as much as possible) to your home schedule with the baby... Ie: feedings, naps, play time, bath and bed time. Allow for a little flexibility, but try to stay on track as much as possible.
I also noticed that when my son was that age and too many different people held him back to back, he would get EXTREMELY fussy. Too much stimulation does that to them. Not sure if you experienced that during your trip?
Also, make sure to dedicate a few moments throughout the day for a little quite time with just you and the baby. Get him away from over stimulation (loud noises, bright ligts..) for 10 minutes at a time - a few times a day. Do you have a sling you can put him in? Those work miracles!!!!
G.R. answers from Sacramento on January 22, 2009
I hate to break it to you, but this is the "good age" to travel. Once they start crawling, it gets much harder.
I am a very experienced traveler and I have done more traveling with my little guy than I would prefer (20 mos and have lost count of airplanes). I can break down the stroller and get through security and ready to go before most business travelers have collected their shoes. Long drives are hell. Flying is easier because you hold them and they cry less. Although it gets slightly better once they are able to engage in an activity for 5 mins, you just have to bring a lot of toys (for mine, around 16 mos).
After getting pretty good at breastfeeding in the carseat (yes it is possible, just not comfortable), on one particularly bad 4 hour trip, I gave in and started just sitting in the backseat holding him, hoping that we didn't get into an accident. When a friend saw me right after that trip, I must have looked shell-shocked b/c she said, "I used to just take them out of the seat. It was the only way we made it to Grandma's." All I could do was nod and not cry.
Traveling always disrupts their schedules--good news for you, not much of a schedule for a few more months. Once you get into the problems with sleep around 4-5 mos, any sleep training will have to be started over once you get home.
My best advice is to avoid travel for a while. Yes, you can do it, but it makes life harder. And really it is a short time.
After my latest family work trip to Israel (returned 2 wks ago) my MIL said, "Maybe 19 mos, is just a little too young for this kind of trip." I decided that he did just fine. I'm just too old at 36.
B.D. answers from Sacramento on January 22, 2009
I'm at that age where I'm looking back on the choices I made when my children were young. Like your experience, traveling with my children was difficult. So I decided to wait for a better age. I regret that.
What I've come to believe is that traveling is something that you become better at doing together. Now that my boys are 22 and 18 - they want to travel with their friends. It is one of my regrets.
The advice would be to start with small trips. Make them exciting little adventures for the whole family. It will probably be a little easier each time.
A.C. answers from Sacramento on January 22, 2009
We began traveling with our son when he was 4 months old. All of our family lives back east so we would always fly. My son now has a ton of frequent flyer miles because we travel with him often (2-4 times per year)! Of course, anytime you change their schedule or surroundings, you have to expect them need some time to adjust themselves. For us, this was never really a big deal. We also found that it got easier the more we traveled with him because we knew more about what to expect. Today, our son is 4 and he's a great traveler. Anytime we fly with him, people always comment on how good he does.