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Postpartum Travel

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have a quick (not quick at all, actually) question for those who have been through this all before.  My due date is August 6 and around August 15 my family heads up to our cabin for an annual vacation.  The cabin is very remote and we'd be probably around 45 minutes travel time from a hospital or doctor.  Also, cell phone reception isn't an option until you get to the road. 


My question is twofold: first, I could go up to the cabin with DH in early July for a little mini-getaway, but I'm worried about traveling in that last month and being so far away from emergency help if the baby came early.  Going up earlier isn't really an option because other extended family have it booked in June.  And May is full of flies.  Is traveling in the 9th month crazy-talk?


Second, if the baby came earlier than the due date we could conceivably pop up to the cabin for a few days when my family will be there.  It would be cool to introduce the baby to the out of town relatives (aunts and uncles and so on).  However, the drive is around 10 hours (much longer with nursing breaks, I assume) and again there's a distinct lack of nearby medical help.  Finally, there's running water in the kitchen, but no bathroom (just an outhouse), so we'd probably have to pack dirty diapers and everything. 


All of this sounds so insane that my initial reaction is just to give up on the cabin this year and just bond with baby and DH.  The other side of the coin however is that our cabin is located in one of the most magical places in the world, I love my family so much and would love for them to meet the bambino early, and the thought of not getting to the cabin at all wrenches my heart out.  For what it's worth, my aunt is a nurse and my sister is in nursing school, so there would be educated medical professionals on hand.

So, after this insanely long post, have any of you traveled with newborns?  Are long car rides just not a good idea?  Am I going to be so torn up that even thinking about driving is insane?  I know a few of you have trips planned postpartum, but perhaps nothing this dramatic.  I wouldn't go up unless the babe was at least three weeks old.... One option is to just play it by ear and see how I feel when the time comes.  Anyone?

post #2 of 18

I am in a similar boat. One of my oldest bestest friends is getting married on August 25th in Chicago - that's a 16 hour trip 24 days after my due date! Depending on when baby comes, we are contemplating it... I know Chicago is different from a remote cabin, but if any BTDT moms could comment on how likely it is we will want to travel with babies less than 4 weeks old... ???

post #3 of 18

We had our first big trip when my son was 6 weeks old. We lived in Texas and flew home to MN for a whirlwind trip. We were driving a ton - all over the state - the entire time. It was more exhausting for my partner and I than our babe - he did great. He didn't make a single peep on the plane and did really well in the car. If he was hungry or anything, we'd pull over and I'd nurse. It really wasn't that bad. Then again, he was a really easy baby. He didn't cry...ever. I don't know if I'd do something sooner than 6 weeks postpartum, but that's just me. I had a c-section, but my recovery time was pretty fast compared to other moms. I can't remember when we booked the tickets, but I want to say that it was a while before I had him. 


If it were me in either situation, I'd just play it by ear. There is no way you'll know how you'll feel. It would suck to miss out on some family/friend time, but you're going to have a new baby - and not only that, your first baby. I mean, you are really more important in this situation! :)


CCoello - As for the Chicago trip, can you fly? It would be way easier than a 16 hour drive!

post #4 of 18

Traveling with a baby who's still an infant and exclusively breastfeeding, not mobile, etc. is actually pretty easy, in my opinion. Basically, you wear them all the time! orngbiggrin.gif But, that said, I wouldn't go earlier than a month old, personally.


As far as traveling late in pregnancy goes, I wouldn't risk it if you're that far from civilization. What if you go into labor there and it's an emergency situation? That's just me, though!

post #5 of 18

I agree with CM completely. Traveling with a baby (assuming they are born without complications) is really very easy (at least, in my experience, until they can walk). I would not personally travel after 33-34w of my singleton pregnancies (or 30w with twins). I did an international flight (25 hours) at around 30w and was in business class and I found it very exhausting and also very hard on my body (it was the only time in my pregnancy I had swelling in my legs). With the twins, I will not be air traveling after 24 weeks and will minimize train/car travel from that point on.


With DS1 we traveled all over the world when he was under 8 months of age. We flew him to Japan for 3 weeks (18 hour flight each way) and traveled all over by train in Japan and found it very easy (with an ergo that is, strollers dont work), we also took him to the US 2-3 times as well (24 hour flights each way) and then drove more locally to places like Paris, Italy, Germany etc (all under 12 hour drives).. We also did Thailand (16 hour flight) and some inner Europe flights (UK, Bulgaria, Hungary etc). He travels well, we were lucky but I also think in generally its very easy when they are not mobile and BFing as you dont have to worry about travel sickness/food poisoning etc.


In generally but specifically if you BF and co sleep, traveling with a baby is very simple and very easy. You need to bring very little and you never have to worry about not having food for them (hello boobs!).


I highly recommend to travel as much as you can before they walk, we found from 10 months (this is when DS could run) to about 2 yr old (this is when we could play a movie and he would sit for some of it) was the HARDEST. .. really if I had to do it over, I would not travel with a child between 10m-2yr simply because if they are anything like DS was- they will not sit still and the whole trip is exhausting for everyone..



post #6 of 18

Personally, I wouldn't travel that far with a three-week old (especially one, who if I'm understanding right would be only one week past 40 weeks at the time).  At that point, just getting out of the house for a trip across town was a challenge.  And I wouldn't want to be that far away from medical care. But it really depends on your comfort level, which it is almost impossible to predict in advance, so waiting and seeing may be your best option.


I do think infancy can be a great time to travel, but there's a big difference in my mind between a three week newborn, and say six weeks (by which point travel would sould a lot better to me). 


As for pre-partum, my doctor strongly recommends against any signficant travel (more than an hour or so away) after 32 weeks.  I followed this advice with my first, and plan to with my second, and especially wouldn't even think of traveling after 36 weeks. I've heard too many horror stories of people going into labor early and then being stuck by themselves in a hospital and NICU for weeks or months in a city they don't know anyone to risk it.  But again in the end it's about your comfort level and risk adverseness.



post #7 of 18

For me, it would be one thing to travel to a city that I felt comfortable with medical care-wise, but out in the middle of nowhere is a totally different story.

post #8 of 18

I'm hopping on this thread for advice myself...my brother is getting married in Vietnam at the end of November, and I'm having a baby in California at the end of August.  I reeeeeally want to be there for his wedding (also, since I grew up in Thailand, I really want to visit south-east Asia with my husband).  Unfortunately I won't be able to play it by ear, since we'll have to buy tickets well in advance.  I think it will be do-able, since the baby will be 3 months by then, and everyone I've talked to says that's a great age to travel with.  Also, my entire family will be there too, so I'll have help if necessary.  Anyone have tips, or things I should think about when planning the trip?

post #9 of 18

That, I would do! Lots of eating, sleeping and pooping and not much else at 3 months old. winky.gif You'll have to be prepared for the long flight with plenty of diapers and stuff, obviously, but I think it's totally doable. Hopefully breastfeeding is easy and going well at that point, or else that could make it harder-- but still doable!

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone!  Fortunately, we can decide last minute what we want to do, so we'll just play it by ear.  It sounds like July would not be a good idea, so unless we can sneak up in May, we'll just hope for August and be content with going next year if it doesn't work out.  Great stories, though!  It's good to know how much traveling changes when they get a little older.

post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by pennywhistle View Post

I'm hopping on this thread for advice myself...my brother is getting married in Vietnam at the end of November, and I'm having a baby in California at the end of August.  I reeeeeally want to be there for his wedding (also, since I grew up in Thailand, I really want to visit south-east Asia with my husband).  Unfortunately I won't be able to play it by ear, since we'll have to buy tickets well in advance.  I think it will be do-able, since the baby will be 3 months by then, and everyone I've talked to says that's a great age to travel with.  Also, my entire family will be there too, so I'll have help if necessary.  Anyone have tips, or things I should think about when planning the trip?

I traveled with my son by myself at 3 months and it was really easy. Granted, I didn't go to Vietnam, but I'd totally go for it! It's so much easier to travel when they're little. Just make sure you have a wrap along! 

post #12 of 18

It's tough, but doable.  When badger was 4 months old, I took him to an outdoor festival in upstate NY.  The drive was about 12 hours each way (with breaks) and we spent a week in a tent while we were there.  Honestly, I think it was tougher with him being that old, and would have been easier if he were younger.  He didn't want to sleep the whole time, cried a lot in the car, and I spent many an hour dangling over his car seat so he could suck a boob to keep him calm.  Thankfully I had friends with me to help with the driving.  But although the drive was really rough, the camping experience with him was awesome, and I enjoyed every second of it.  This year, I'm going to the same festival, and will be about a month away from my due date.  I'll be going it alone this time, thankfully with a shorter drive (only about 7-8 hours each way, with stops).


I think it's possible either way - before or after.  Just be realistic about your expectations for the trip (plan to chill at the cabin, not hike or sight-see) and leave lots of time for travel.  Keep it low key, and I think you can pull it off, no matter when you choose to go.

post #13 of 18

There's no way I would ever consider a 10 hour car ride with my DD at any point until she is totally verbal and comfortable in the car.  But then DD was and is a carseat screamer.  I would also never consider a 10 hour drive when I was in my ninth month of pregnancy.  I WOULD be comfortable flying with a three month old, and I will likely be flying in November too. 

post #14 of 18

Great to hear about everyone's travel experiences with their little ones and I feel more encouraged about our cross country move this fall (from Winnipeg to Manhattan), when Baby will be 2-3 months old.  We'll be driving and taking several days to the do trip, and then will be flying during the Christmas holidays to see family in the midwest.  Sounds like it shouldn't be too big a deal!

post #15 of 18

Lots of good advice already given... but here's a bit to add. 


I would not travel to someplace remote in your 9th month - so for me, July at the cabin would be out.  


I would also not make plans to go in August - your baby will be only 1-3 weeks old, right?  That means, you'll also be only 1-3 weeks postpartum with your first baby.  Being a first-time mom (and dad) and making that transition with breastfeeding, sleeplessness, a newborn, and also your recovering body - and then making a 10-hour car trip sounds really nightmarish to me (but that is just me :).  I am one to push hard instead of laying back - and when I was a first-time mom with a newborn - I pushed to do a lot right away post-partum - and I was rewarded with mastitis.  I think it's really worthwhile to try to just prioritize adjusting to motherhood and bonding as a family with the new baby during that first month - 6 weeks.  There are enough challenges without adding a trip to the mix.  


Our first big trip was a wedding at 7 weeks post-partum with our first - I was a bridesmaid and my husband played violin.  It was good to be present for our friends, but it was very very challenging.  Both of us look back and agree that we will never do that again (both being involved in the wedding at so early a stage post-partum) - luckily we had a great friend there to help us with our son - but it was still tough.  


As for Vietnam with a 3 month old - go for it!  You'll just have to make sure that he/she will be safe in terms of disease exposure/vaccines, etc., I would think - but it is a decent time to travel - 3 months old will sleep during much of the flight - and although jetlag will be a pain - you'll get through it as you'll be used to sleeplessness at that point anyway! And worth it for your brother's wedding!

post #16 of 18

It is so interesting to read everyone's advice and the one thing I have to agree with is just "play it by ear" since you have that option once the baby arrives.  I have a totally different mindset about "remoteness" so what I would be comfortable with seems maybe extreme.  The last town we lived in the nearest hospital to birth a baby was 1 hour away.  The other two options were 1 1/2 hours away.  I never really got excited about the idea of not "making it" to the hospital because I have average length labors.  In fact, for my third I waited to make the 1 hour drive after I was already 7 cm dialated. The nearest hospital to us now is 30 minutes away.


 Where we live now is even farther north, the very tip of Wisconsin, and I know of many families that raise children in homes without running water and electricity.  These are not impoverished people but those who are living so out of intent.  So I guess what it really does come down to is where you are going to feel comfortable. 


I also have to agree that little ones are easy to travel with.  When my second was 4 weeks old we traveled to Canada and it was a breeze.  We stopped when he woke up so he could nurse and change him and then were on our way again.  As someone mentioned previously, if you are nursing I would be cautious not to over extend yourself with activity or going long periods between nursing sessions because it can lead to breast issues with milk supply and mastitis.


Your cabin sounds heavenly and I would have a hard time missing out on being there too.

post #17 of 18

penny- we took DS to Thailand around 4-5 months of age and Japan shortly after. Esp with BFing it is VERY easy to travel with them and you dont have to worry about food poisoning. I would just check the area for malaria before going but if its not an area with it- I would go (actually I would go anyway, even if there is malaria but that is just me).


Feel free to ping me directly if you have any specific questions but DS was in something like 15 countries before his first bday.

post #18 of 18

I guess we all have different takes ;).  I'd go in July, before baby.  First labors are not under 4-5 hours basically ever, you know?  My experience is that most people want to hole-in for the first month with new baby (especially #1).  It's a big adjustment and you realize how little and vulnerable they seem and it's hard to expose them to lots of new people and places.  I wasn't ready to travel until baby was over 2 months old and I was a little better with bf'ing and lack of sleep and everything else...plus, baby usually has day and night reversed at first, so I knew I wouldn't be keeping everyone we were with awake ;)

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