When you have a baby, even a quick trip to the store can be an adventure. Do you have the diaper bag? Is the baby warm enough? What if the baby cries the entire time you’re in the store? It requires a lot of planning, and the amount of time you spend getting ready to leave could easily be more than the trip itself.
And that’s something that’s part of your normal routine. Now imagine a life-changing event like a move with a baby, and all that is magnified. I’ve been there, and it is daunting, but not impossible. It just takes a lot of planning and a large dose of patience. Here are some things my wife and I learned when we moved across town with our 6-month-old son, Tyler.
Give yourself extra time
The best thing you can do is allow yourself plenty of extra time. Even if you’ve completed previous moves all in one day, loading the moving truck in the morning and having it unloaded by the end of the day, don’t plan on doing so this time. As any parent knows, the baby rules the roost and you’re beholden to his wants and needs on his schedule, even if you have a half-unloaded truck sitting outside that you want to finish unloading before dark.
Plan to take several breaks throughout the day to feed the baby or play with him. He’ll also need a nap or two throughout the day, so plan for that, as well. We always had a pack and play, bouncer or infant swing for him to sleep in. And of course, there are always moving laborers who can help you!
If you’re moving long-distance, there are several other considerations to take into account. First, allow plenty of extra driving time. Second, if you’re driving a U-Haul truck, plan to have someone follow you in a passenger car because big moving trucks aren’t equipped to handle a car seat safely. If a second driver isn’t feasible, you might consider renting a U-Box moving container.
Bring lots of toys and other things to keep your little one occupied. When we moved, Tyler wasn’t quite crawling yet. This made it a little easier because we could lay down his play mat, leave some toys on it and he was content for several minutes at a time. If your little one is already on the go, set up some baby gates or use some moving boxes to create barriers that keep him confined.
Snacks can be the most valuable thing you have on hand during a move. If the baby is fussy, a handful of snacks could occupy him long enough for you to finish unloading a couch and a few other pieces of furniture. If he isn’t eating solid foods yet, be sure to have some bottles of milk or formula on hand. If you don’t have a refrigerator in the new house, bring a cooler or something to keep the bottles cool, as well as some way to warm them up.
Click here to check out some meal and snack ideas for your move.
Packing before a move with a baby is tricky because there are so many things he can’t live without for several days. You can pack up all of your dishes and eat take-out for a few days, sit on folding chairs and sleep on a single mattress for a few nights, but your baby needs bottles, special dishes and utensils, and a crib, so remember to leave enough dishes out for your little one and maybe let him sleep in a pack and play for a night or two, so you can take apart the crib before moving day.
On the flip side, be sure anything your baby will need immediately in the new house is packed somewhere you’ll remember and can get to easily. Imagine the crisis that would unfold if his special toy—the only thing that comforts him at night—is packed in a box and you can’t find it. Combine a baby’s incessant crying with your stress and exhaustion of moving, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I’m living proof that moving with a baby can be done. I’m also living proof that it adds more stress to an already stressful situation. But if you plan it right, you can pull it off. And if it gets too stressful, stop for a moment and envision all of the amazing moments you’ll be capturing in your new home!
If you’ve moved with a baby, we want to hear your tips. Let us know some of your real-life experiences in the comments section below.