If The Baby Ain’t Happy, Nobody’s Happy – The Importance of Napping

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I used to think the saying was really “if mom ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” but for the past week, Mami and I have been out of town due to a death in the family (which is a whole other topic in and of itself…),  and what really came up on Mr. Sweetie’s first long-distance trip were all the travel related topics that made me realize “if the baby ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” (You can learn other travel tips from Mami’s last post Sweetie’s First Plane Trip.)

We all had first time experiences including traveling on a plane with a baby, taking your car seat with you on a flight (one more thing to haul…), etc, and not only abiding by adult schedules to make it to flights, funerals, candlelight vigils, family dinners, visiting relatives and friends who live on opposite ends of the city (and beyond), etc (all while hauling a baby around). How they played out made it quite obvious that this update on the old saying should be considered.

The realization started when it became evident on the very first leg of the flight that Mr. Sweetie and his napping schedule were not exactly in sync with this travel business stuff, and he was not shy about letting us know. Both Mami and I were pulling every trick out of the hat we could think of on the flight over just to keep him calm enough to allow for the sanity of the other people on the plane as well as our own. I don’t mean to paint a worse picture than it was, because it most definitely could have been worse, but it was not at all totally smooth.

Once we made it through the flight and got off the plane, I thought it would improve after we landed, but nooooooooo….

My sister-in-law picked us up at about 11 p.m. and about halfway through our 30 minute-ish drive to their house, Mr. Sweetie had definitely gone beyond his limit and started that extremely sad “my-heart-is-broken/end-of-the world” crying, which only increased in volume as we continued on.

After that experience, I immediately started to re-think how we would arrange our trip to help minimize this experience repeating. It was definitely going to be challenging as there were three funeral related functions, one each day for three days and another relative who lived very near that area who we wanted to visit. All of these were about 50-60 miles from where we were staying, and there were daily trips to visit others within about 20 miles that needed to be taken into account.

This was not going to be easy. As the days unfolded it also became clear that Mr. Sweetie just didn’t like being in the car for very long a lot of the time….

We did our best to bring a variety of toys, teething rings, stuffed animals, spoons, etc, to help entertain him and distract him long enough to get to the next destination. This worked some of the time, but there was definitely no “magic bullet”.

Now that we are near the end of our travels and I reflect back, it seems that it is very important when traveling with a baby to do your best to do the following:

1 – bring entertaining things for them – to occupy their minds (and mouths, especially if they are teething);

2 – do your best to allow for napping not only for adequate amounts of time but also as close to their regular times as possible (or to the time that they are indicating via body language as this may be different than at home due to extra stress from traveling, etc);

3 – plan your activities around their sleeping schedule as much as possible;

4 – consolidate your activities to reduce the amount of time spent in the car (if a couple people you want to visit live near each other, visit them on the same day rather than separate days to reduce travel time); and

5 – realize that sometimes you may have to choose to stay at your hotel or guest residence rather than do everything that is happening because it is just too late at night, prevents a necessary nap time from happening, or creates to many disruptions in your sweetie’s consistent rest schedule. (Another option would be to have a relative watch the baby while you attend a function that interferes with nap time or one partner could attend and one could stay with your sweetie to caretake.)

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

What techniques have you used to help make traveling easier for all?  Have you used modified versions of the listed suggestions that have worked really well for you?

We’d love to hear from you – please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other, remember, we are all in this together.

 

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