Having an infant is a blessing, but if you're moving, a new baby can feel like anything but. With obstacles everywhere, a never-ending to-do list, and your stress levels already high, caring for an infant during a move can feel especially difficult.
If you're planning a move with a new baby in tow, follow these tips:
1. Stick to your routine
Babies thrive on routine. Sticking to your infant's daily routine, including meal and naptimes, as much as possible during your move will give them—and you—a sense of normalcy and security, which will in turn help keep everyone's stress levels low.
2. Be prepared
The more time you spend preparing your house and your family for the move in the weeks before the big day, the less stress you will feel on moving day, and in turn the less stress your child will be exposed to. Keep your moving stress as low as possible by starting early, clearly labeling all boxes, and purging before the big day.
3. Line up a babysitter ahead of time
Figure out who will be watching your child the day of the move—whether that is you, your parents, your siblings, a family friend, or a hired babysitter. You'll rest easier knowing that your child is being taken care of by someone you trust. Even if you can only find someone for half the day, it will be worth those couple of hours.
Don't be afraid to ask for help while you're packing and unpacking as well. Having someone watch your infant while you box up your kitchen will make it much easier to stick to your moving schedule.
4. Have an abundance of baby supplies on hand
Babies require a well-filled diaper bag at all times, especially during a move. Make sure you have enough diapers, formula or pumped bottles, wipes, diaper cream, etc. to last a few days after you move. The last thing you want to do is to take time away from packing and unpacking to run to the grocery store. If you nurse, pump enough bottles for at least two days, then store them in the freezer until they are used. Breast milk can last 3 months in the freezer.
|PACKING TIP: Keep a supply of baby essentials handy in your personal vehicle. Your stockpile of diapers and extra pacifiers won't help anyone if they're buried at the bottom of your moving truck.|
5. Keep toys readily available
Toys, also known as distractions, should be kept in the car and easily accessible at all times in the event of an unexpected meltdown. Pack a small bag of your infant's favorite toys, as well as calming items like security blankets, pacifiers, or preferred clothes.
6. Know the phone number of your new pediatrician and the local hospital
You already know the number and location of your current hospital and pediatrician, but you should be prepared with your new hospital and doctor’s office, just in case something happens during the move.
|Ask your pediatrician for tips on keeping your baby happy during a long car or plane ride. Before you move, you should also have your pediatrician transfer a copy of all your child's medical records to your new doctor.|
7. Use sounds to calm the baby
Whether it is a vacuum, static, a fan, or “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” on repeat, having soothing sounds at the ready can help calm your infant down in a pinch.
8. Map out your route
With infants, it is all about the timing! Take a look at how far you need to drive first:
- If you are travelling 10+ hours, consider driving through the night so your child will sleep most of the ride.
- For 5-8 hour trips, stop regularly for meals and walking breaks. Let your child get out of the car seat for a bit—they need to stretch as much as you do.
- For short trips under 2 hours, try traveling during a nap. Make sure they are fully fed, they have a clean diaper and have been up for a little while, then get in the car.
If you're renting a moving truck and moving yourself, don't forget to plan how you'll travel with your infant. Most moving trucks don't have a backseat, so there won't be anywhere to safely mount a car seat. It may be easier to hire movers.
9. Unpack the baby's room first
This will give them a safe space where they can feel comfortable. Knowing that baby's nursery is set up safely will also let you focus on the other task at hand—unpacking the rest of your stuff.
|PRO TIP: After you unpack the nursery (and your other kids' rooms), make your own bed. Making your bed is a quick and easy way to start feeling more settled in your new home, and you'll have somewhere comfortable to crash if you need a mid-day nap.|
10. Baby-proof your new home
Baby-proofing each space in your new home while you unpack is a great way to multi-task:
- Install child-resistant locks on drawers and doors, especially those containing dangerous items like matches, knives, medications, and cleaning products.
- Use child-safety gates to ensure your kids don't wander into any half-unpacked and unbaby-proofed rooms.
- Secure windows and furniture.
- Keep an eye on cords and other choking hazards.
- Cover electrical outlets with outlet covers.
The most important thing to remember is to relax. Your stress and frustration will rub off on your child, so do your best to calm down and focus on the exciting new changes coming your way!