Last week I talked about some of the challenges when you are moving with older kids. This week I am going to talk about some of the challenges moving with an infant or toddler. It's been a few years since I have had one of those around full time, however, some experiences you just don't forget! Here are a few tips that helped me and my "youngins" survive a move or two!
Be Prepared Physically - This is the number one thing that can help solve hundreds of issues. Have a bag with everything you need together AT ALL TIMES. Extra clothes, diapers, creams/lotions/medicines you need, toys, snacks, wipes (lots of wipes), something you can lay them down on to change them at a moments notice and comfort things they need (like pacifiers, bottles, special cuddly stuffed animal or blanket). If you have a prepared bag while you are packing and your house is a mess, during the move itself and when you get into your new place, your baby will have everything they need no matter what chaos is going on everywhere else. If you know they have everything they need at your finger tips, it will help your stress level as well.
Be Prepared Emotionally - Babies can't express the way an older child can when they feel "weird" or something is "off". During a move, a baby will sense what you as parents are feeling--or even what an older sibling may be feeling and they may react to that in a way you don't expect. They may cry more than usual at times they usually don't. Their sleep habits may change--and even how they eat may be affected. This can make a parent worry when it may just be a way that they are dealing with the unknown stress of things. You aren't causing them lasting harm or anything (though their screams may seem to say otherwise at times!) they just may need some more quiet time with you. Be ready to emotionally just be there for them when they need you. All the other stuff will get done, Baby needs you first.
Be Ready to Go Out of Your Way at Times - A baby always requires a little extra time, so just plan for that. They will eat better if you take that down time with them to feed them. They will sleep better if you be sure to keep up their same routine for bed. They will feel better if you keep them bathed and ready for whatever is next. I know that all sounds silly--of course you will feed them, put them to bed and bathe them, but what I mean is, TAKE THE TIME to do it purposefully. You will have 100 things to do on top of the 100 things you need to do for your child and getting them down for a nap or hurry with a bottle feeding or giving them a bath tomorrow (because it's just too exhausting to do tonight) will all be very tempting ALL THE TIME. But, every moment you take the time with them, is a moment the will be reassured and happy. Happy babies make for happy parents!
Enlist Help - There will be moments during all your prep for the move that you just HAVE to do something else and will need someone to help you with the baby, or with the tasks at hand you need to do (so you can feed or change the baby yourself) or just with your mental state for your reassurance! Someone who is there to tell you that everything is ok and help you keep focused is as much help as having a sitter for moments you have to get the work done. Doing everything on your own doesn't make you a better person or parent. It's just makes you a more tired one! Getting some help will really make things go more smoothly.
Stuff Happens - This is a fact of life. Even when you are prepared physically and emotionally and are taking extra time with your baby, they might still not be happy. They may mess up more outfits than you counted on. They may demand to be fed more often than usual or only settle down with one parent and seem to hate the other for a while. Babies aren't an exact science and you WILL have something that does not go as planned. In fact, something may go horribly wrong, but it will be okay. For me, when those moments came and made me feel like moving was the most awful thing to be doing at that moment--just snuggling with my little one a little longer helped me to relax and realize what was really important. Sometimes, when crazy stuff happens, it's a wonderful excuse to just push everything else away and be together.
I hope that these few things will help you out when the time comes to get started on your next move with a baby or two. One thing I know for sure is: You ALL will survive the move! I promise!