Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Have Baby, Want to Travel

As I mentioned last week, we just spent a long weekend in Arizona. We had a good time, and I think Pumpkin enjoyed meeting her cousins, seeing her grandparents and other relatives, and generally exploring new things and people. Hubby and I enjoyed our night away in Sedona- I think I'll write a post about that soon.

Pumpkin did great in the car. It is a five to six hour drive between San Diego and Phoenix, if you don't stop. On the way over, we left after dinner and Pumpkin slept most of the way. We only stopped for gas and to change drivers. This worked well for her, but left us pretty tired. On the way back, we left at about 8 a.m. Pumpkin slept for two long stretches of the trip (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and was entertainable for the time she was awake.

So, the part of the trip that worried us the most- the long car rides- went fine. But we clearly have a lot to work out before we can claim that we travel well with Pumpkin. Here are some things we learned on this trip:

1. Pumpkin doesn't like to sleep in her Pack and Play. We could get her down in it, but she didn't stay down, and after about the second or third waking, she wouldn't go back in. We ended up putting her in the Pack and Play until everyone went to bed, and then moving her to our bed the next time she woke up. That bed wasn't really big enough for both of us and her, so one parent would move to the living room sofa and sleep relatively well, while the other parent would try to sleep next to Pumpkin, who is an incredibly active sleeper. The dislike of the Pack and Play and wild sleep style were probably exacerbated by the fever she ran for most of our stay (which was due to her recent shots, a minor ear infection, the cold she's still getting over, or some random other illness- or some combination of the above.) However, I don't think she would sleep well in the Pack and Play under the best of circumstances. We are trying to figure out where we would have her sleep if we take a vacation we're planning for later this year. What do people usually do about this?

2. Pumpkin didn't like her portable booster seat, either. She squirmed and whined and didn't eat much. Some of this could have been due to the cold mentioned above- she never eats well when she's sick. But some of it was clearly a dislike of the chair. Her Grandma resorted to feeding her breakfast in her outdoor swing (which she loves) on the day we were in Sedona. On the bright side, she continues to enjoy eating when we're out at a restaurant. We're seriously considering buying a restaurant high chair for home, but we suspect that it would lose its charm without the added excitement of a new environment.

3. I needed to take an extra cooler bag to store all of my pumped milk while we were away from Pumpkin. I only had my one little bag that I use on work days, and obviously, I pumped more milk during an absence of more than 24 hours than I do during an 8 hour work day. Duh.

Thanks to our frequent travel, we had a pretty smooth travel routine worked out pre-Pumpkin. I was able to pack for a short trip in less than an hour, and didn't really stress too much about what to take. This is no longer the case. It took me an entire evening to pack for this trip, and that was only possible because I'd been working on a packing list for several days ahead of time. Even with the packing list, I worried quite a bit about what we were taking. The trip went well (other than the mystery fever and generally poor sleep), but I miss the travel confidence I had pre-Pumpkin. I have a feeling that I won't get that back anytime soon. She is changing quickly and we are traveling infrequently, so I'm sure that many of the things that worked on this trip won't work on the next. We're still planning to go on a vacation later this year, though. I really hope we can figure out a better sleep arrangement during that trip!


  1. Whoa, that's a lot of new experiences for pumpkin at one time.

    We used the portable high chair at home so she was used to it. (We never felt the need for a huge high chair.)

    Her daycare center used pack and plays as cribs so she was used to that, as well. She slept next to our bed, in the pack and play.

    Travel exposes her to so many new sensory experiences, it is best to introduce the equipment you are bringing along at home.

  2. Ours won't sleep in a pack and play anymore either, and we are planning a visit to the inlaws this weekend. I hope someone has a good idea, or else we will be doing the one parent co-sleeping with baby thing as well.

    I'm hoping our car trips to and from go as well as yours! We know if we leave at her bedtime, she will sleep the whole way, but we will be exhausted and it will be late by the time we get there. It's the trip back that never goes well. Maybe some day...

  3. Anonymous7:58 AM

    I agree with Grace. We use the portable high chair every day and pack'n play occasionally at home. It definitely helps to have some familiar things when everything else is new and different.

  4. We intended to introduce her to sleeping in the Pack and Play at home, and just didn't get around to it. I don't know that it would have helped- it seemed to me that she found it uncomfortable. She flipped over on her tummy and slept with her little butt far in the air. In her crib, she lays more flat. We think the booster chair we have (it was a shower gift) is too big for her. She is a petite little thing and the chair didn't really support her back at all, and has a soft bottom. The combination of these two things probably made it hard for her to sit upright. If we need a portable booster chair again, we'll probably go buy a different type.

    But the sleep thing has us flummoxed. We've thought about getting one of the thin memory foam liners like we use on our guest room futon, and cutting a pack and play sized piece off to use as a mattress pad. But of course, the Pack and Play has a huge warning against doing anything like that.... We need to analyze it and decide if we think this would actually be dangerous.

  5. Anonymous4:14 PM

    We use the Fisher Price healthy chair booster. It came highly recommended by friends, and I wholeheartedly agree. We use it often instead of the full-size high chair and the little guy loves it.

    As for travel-sleep, I have no good answers. We do the co-sleeping while travelling even though we always ask for a crib at hotels (just in case we need a place to put baby while going to the bathroom or something). On the birght side, traveling without hauling the pack and play is a definite plus.

    (Followed you over after seeing one of your comments on Moxie. We live in Los Angeles, so I feel a little bit closer, even though it's over the blogosphere.)

  6. Anonymous4:56 AM

    Hi Cloud, I have followed you from the Ask Moxie Blog, and now I'm going through your archives, and enjoying them so much!. I have a one year old son, and what we've done on car trips to help him sleep in the portable cot is to brng along his matress! Fortunately the portable cot and his cot are the same size, so they fit without a problem, and he really sleeps a lot better than without it!

    Regarding eating, we just bought a Bumbo seat, which is a German seat from which they can't wriggle off, it is very small and portable, so we can even sit him at the dinner table with us! It definitely is easier that feeding him while sitting on my lap! Unfortunately I don't know if the bumbo is available in America, since we live in Belgium.

    Good luck on your next family trip!


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