Children,  Travel

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking a Trip Sans Baby

Having a baby changes your relationship with your spouse. During the newborn stage, you end up spending a lot of time in close proximity to one another, but not really time spent together – all the attention is focused on your new bundle of joy! However, it’s very important to spend some quality time on your marriage even when your new baby is demanding so much of your time. We were blessed to have “the grandparents” (that’s what we call our parents now) offer to watch Lilly for a night so we could get away for our anniversary, which was two or three months after Lilly was born. I was little bit apprehensive about it at first, but my excitement at the thought of getting a full night’s sleep trumped any reluctance I had about leaving my daughter for 12+ hours. However, the getaway was not quite what I expected – here are three things I wish I had known about taking a trip without my little one.
1. You will forget to pack or set out everything your baby needs. Fortunately the grandparents watched Lilly at our house so we didn’t have to pack anything, but my poor postpartum brain forgot most of the things that Lilly would need during a 24 hour period so her caretakers had to snoop around our house for things or make-do with something less desirable. This isn’t the worst thing ever, but if you’re on a getaway you don’t really want your in-laws texting you at 7 a.m. asking where the bottles are (they didn’t do that by the way), or coming home to find that your child didn’t sleep all night because you forgot to explain that she has to have her special song otherwise she won’t ever fall asleep. To avoid these stressful situations either during or after your getaway, take one day sometime before your scheduled trip to write down all the things that you use with your baby throughout the day – stroller, bibs, blankets, food, bottles, toys, books, teething medicine – you name it! Then, when the caretakers arrive, you can have a list to go through while walking them around the house and show where everything is.
2. If you are breastfeeding, you will have to pump while you are away. We were only really gone from Lilly for about 15-16 hours (most of that being during the night), so I thought I could get away with just hand expressing. Nope. Only about 5 hours in to the getaway, I was super uncomfortable, wishing I had brought my pump. Plus, if breastmilk is like liquid gold for you, you’ll want to pump to save that precious stuff as opposed to just hand expressing in the shower. It may seem like a chore to drag your pump along on a quick getaway, but trust me, your body will thank you for it!
3. You may miss your baby a lot. Remember when I said I was so excited about getting a full night’s sleep? Well, that didn’t happen. My body was so used to getting up in the middle of the night, so that’s what I did – probably even more than usual. So I was missing my baby subconsciously, waking up every couple hours expecting to hear her crying, and then in the morning I actually started crying because I missed her so much! I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was psycho (I definitely blamed it on postpartum hormones), but I truly did miss her, even with all the crying, diapers, and spit up that comes with her. We had become a little family, and even though we are first and foremost a couple, it never seems quite right when Lilly is not with us.
Even though our getaway was not exactly what I expected, I did not regret going away with my husband for our anniversary. It was still a good time relaxing with one another and getting a breather from our new parent life. So if you have an opportunity to get away and have family members or friends watch your baby, do it! I think in the moment I felt a little sad and guilty for leaving Lilly with someone else, but in the long run it definitely helped our marriage and our endurance in this parenting thing. If you also keep these three things in mind I think you’ll be better prepared for the hard parts about going away from your children.
If you have any unexpected things that happened to you on a getaway (especially if you have older kids!), I’d love to hear about it!

Leave a Reply