8 Truths of Traveling with an 8 Month Old
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We are still unpacking from our recent trip to the Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive property in Mexico, and while it was an excellent trip overall (and I can’t wait to share more details about the property in the coming days), I first want to share eight truths of travel with an eight month old as I think it will help put context into any and all details that come next.
We had both our 6 year old and 8 month old with us on this journey which officially makes it a family trip way more than a vacation. I’m sure every eight month old is different, but I’d wager my morning coffee that at least several of these truths will apply to pretty much any baby around the eight month mark.
While we are on the topic of eight month olds, I also want to share for those who have been kindly inquiring that Baby S has very thankfully been doing better in recent weeks. We are hopeful that the issues she was having were temporary, and were a (rare?) side-effect of some medication she was on, though we don’t yet know that for sure so are still really keeping our fingers crossed until we know more. Still, for now we are encouraged by what we are seeing and we were thrilled when the we got the clearance to go on this trip with her!
Eight month olds are fun. It is a brilliant stage where they are well beyond being ‘newborn blobs’ and are very inquisitive and interactive with their world. This makes it both a fantastic and challenging time to travel. Here are eight truths when you travel with an eight month old…
Everything you encounter will look like a baby death trap. Eight month olds are into everything, so taking them to a non-baby-proofed environment will require you to be extra vigilant and potentially borderline paranoid as you look for small objects, sharp objects, objects that will fall over if pulled or pushed, objects that may cause harm if eaten, etc.
Milk alone just won’t cut it. Most eight month olds are of course either still nursing or on bottles, but they are also very interested in other food, too. While this does vary, many eight month olds are still primarily eating ‘safer’ foods instead of perhaps a well done steak. This means you have to provide or plan for what they will eat during the day and it isn’t always something readily available. Applesauce, extra ripe bananas, rice cereal, plain old rice, and more may be well stocked at home, but on the road you have to get creative. Gone are the days when just nursing through the meal will keep them happy – they want in on the mealtime action so you need to plan ahead!
Toys, toys, toys. Just like with food, eight month olds also now crave entertainment. This means packing some non-baby-death-trap toys to keep them busy while you are getting ready for the day or perhaps trying to enjoy a down moment or two in the room (ha, ha, ha!). You will need toys not only in the hotel, but also for the plane ride, so allot your carry-on space accordingly.
Be ready to never sleep. Okay, this one may apply more to my eight month old than some others, but do be prepared for sleep to at least be interrupted. By this age babies are well aware of their surroundings and will notice that you are placing them somewhere to sleep that is not the norm. If you are super lucky they may not care, but if they are like our baby then they absolutely do care and will let you know. Repeatedly. All night. Seriously though, get creative with where you place their sleeping area to allow for the best possible rest for everyone. We tried the bathroom as the nursery, and I think it was the best given the options, but the change in environment was not missed by Baby S even with her own blanket, a white noise app, etc.
You want to leave me with who? If you like to utilize kid’s clubs or babysitters on vacation then be aware that by this age you may be dealing with some stranger danger and your little one may not be pleased about being handed over to a stranger. I mean, I don’t really want to be handed over to a stranger either so I don’t blame them, but build in extra “getting to know you” time if you want to use a babysitting service and be prepared that it may get off to a rocky start.
Piggly Wiggly. Since eight month olds are no longer swaddled babies they also no longer want to just sit still for hours on end, thus making flights or car trips a bit more challenging than they were with younger babies. This is about the start of the “hardest age” for travel because the little ones don’t want to sit still, they don’t have the language skills to communicate effectively, and they don’t yet have the attention span to be easily entertained by any one thing for very long.
Get Your Pack On. An average eight month old baby has more than doubled their birth weight and probably often weighs in around 20 lbs. That may not seem like much, but it certainly adds up after a few hours, so be sure to have a really good baby carrier if you will holding/carrying the baby extensively on your travels. A good light-weight stroller is also a good idea. We are still getting by with the Doona as our carseat/stroller combo, but the Ergo carrier shown below is also now a traveling staple!
Be ready for smiles. Despite all the challenges of traveling with a mobile and interactive baby, the upside is that they are very interested in what they are doing and seeing. Splashing in the pool, watching the evening show, hearing the ocean, seeing animals, etc. are also fascinating and fun, so be ready to experience all of that from a brand new point of view.
I am so so so glad we traded our New Zealand adventure for the family-friendly Mexican resort as it fits where we are in life and with our own eight month old infinitely better. That said, it was an exhausting trip in some ways, especially with the interrupted sleep pattern that still has not gone back to ‘normal’ at home. I would absolutely do it again, and certainly do recommend travel with an eight month old, but just be ready for these travel truths and prepare solutions accordingly!
Now, if anyone has a sleep solution, I’m all ears…
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