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Realistically- traveling with a newborn over christmas- a NO, right?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I would love some input from moms -- i'm a first time mom, due at the end of October (but since it's my first, could go as late as 2 weeks into November, or early October- no idea!! My husband has not had any experience taking care of newborns, whereas I have worked at a daycare in the infant room, nannied for 2 8-week old babies, and taken care of babies since I could hold one- I am also very into health and fitness and I know that after having this baby I am going to want and need to be in my own environment, at home, recovering my pelvic floor, healing in all ways, and establishing a routine/sense of normalcy and bonding with my baby. 


My husband is VERY close with his family... so close that I am suffering through a 3 week extended car-less visit in suburban massachusetts during a heat wave 6 months pregnant FOR HIM... he is convinced that it's completely fine to take our newborn baby to the east coast (we live on the west coast, so 7-8 hours travel time) over christmas to spend with his family. I don't have a close family so there's no issue there with who we're spending time with over holidays-- except that I simply REFUSE to take my newborn daughter on a packed plane during the holidays across the country while I am most likely still bleeding recovering from birth to go stay at his childhood home where we don't have a car, or any of the things that I am so carefully putting together with nesting (cloth diaper setup?? not good for travel until you really get the hang of it!!) -- it's just not happening.


Depending on when this baby is born, she will be anywhere from 5-6 weeks at the youngest (if I go really late 42ish weeks) to 8-10 weeks at the oldest (if she's born around 37/38 weeks)... if she's born on her due date she will be 7 weeks old for christmas- and I have taken care of 8 week old babies before- there is NO FREAKING WAY I would take one on a germy nasty plane for 7-8 hours and then be out of my safe comfortable familiar environment taking care of one. 


My mom is planning on being out in California with us for at least a month to help with the newborn stage, so I will have help, so the whole argument (that my inlaws tried to use with me) that it will be nice to "hand the baby off" to someone and "get a break" is null and void - especially because I am breastfeeding, I'm still going to be the one who has to be around constantly it's not like I can just leave her with them.


I feel like they're just being selfish, because they want to see the baby. His mom and sisters can come visit US in California (only his mom has ever come out to see him and he's lived out here for 16 years with a solid job) if they want to see her newborn, otherwise they can wait, until we come NEXT summer when she is 7-8 months old for ONE week. It's just ridiculous they expect me to fly with my newborn daughter when I'm not even out of the 3 month postpartum/4th trimester recovery/bonding period. 



am I right?? 

post #2 of 36

It's clear that you don't want to go. Don't go if you don't think you will be up to it. That's absolutely valid and perfectly understandable. 


If your DH really wants to see his family in December and it's so important for him, consider a short, separate trip for him to take. 


As for whether it's too early to travel with a newborn, honestly, no I don't think it is.  I find it pretty easy to travel with newborns. They pretty much just sleep and eat. It's much easier than traveling with older infants and way, way easier than traveling with toddlers. I packed my newborns along to see out-of-town family, on out-of-town business trips, attended university classes and business meetings, did research work and so on. We moved cities when my second was less than 2 months old. 


Everyone will have a different experience. Post-partum complications, colicky babies, and so on may make travel a nightmare. For me, though, and quite a few other women that I know, it was all pretty straightforward. 

post #3 of 36

Look, when you fly and where you are willing to go is up to you.  It is absolutely and ultimately your decision. 


But some of the arguments you're using are maybe not the greatest ones to use.  You're maybe overstating the difficulties of traveling with a newborn, and your in-laws are likely to spot that and assume something else is going on, which is the cue for everyone to be massively offended.  I wouldn't, for example, want to bring up the cloth diapering issue when discussing this with your in-laws, because I can see how someone a little touchy could take that and turn it into "she thinks cloth diapers are more important then family."


It would be surprising if you were still experiencing serious post-partum bleeding when your baby was 5-6 weeks old.  I don't promise you'll be daisy fresh, but if all went as expected, I'd think that whatever bleeding you were dealing with at that point could be handled with a light pad. 


Air travel with newborns is about as easy as air travel with a kid ever gets.  They're noisy luggage at that stage.  They don't care where they are or what's going on, so long as they're with you.  If you're breast feeding, all the food you need is you, no need to bring snacks.  They don't want to get down and crawl, creep, or play with other people's luggage.  Taking a 7-8 month old on a long plane flight is much harder.


I'm not saying you have to get on that plane, or leave your comfort zone, but I don't think it's selfish of your in-laws to want to meet your baby, or to want to include the baby in their traditional celebration. 


If you're not going to go, maybe lean on the germs/flu season angle.  Your baby will be too young to be vaccinated against hardly anything, and one person with a mild cold could be basically spreading RSV to the entire plane.  When my DD was born (she was a preemie) the NICU nurses were totally aghast at the notion that I might take her on a plane (had planes been involved, they would have pushed for me to skip my sister's wedding).  It's less of an issue for a full-termer, but it's not nothing.


(Also, don't underestimate how much of a break it's possible to get by handing the baby off, even if you're still breastfeeding.  No, you can't really just leave, but you can drink an entire hot beverage, or eat a meal with both a knife and a fork, and that may not sound like a big deal now, but yeah, it is.  You can pee all by yourself.  You can shower.  You can feed the baby and then go for a 5K jog.  You can take a nap.  There are a lot of possibilities.)

post #4 of 36
I think I wouldn't go. It's clear that you would resent the visit and not enjoy yourself and in the first 10-12 weeks parenting for the first time definitely wasn't easy for me yet - despite a very "easy" baby. I was still bleeding steadily at 5-6 weeks when I passed a fairly large blood clot and then the bleeding settled down quickly after that. I also had trouble establishing breastfeeding (healthy 8lb 41 week baby with no tongue tie or palate issues) and was only able to really transition from pumped milk to breastfeeding after a couple of months.
I would offer an invitation for family to come visit for the holidays and give DH the green light on going himself. I certainly wouldn't commit to a cross continent flight before having baby and getting my feet wet with parenting. Yes, extra hands with baby may be helpful but I would feel do uncomfortable at someone else's house for days (weeks?!) while still recovering from birth and learning about parenting a young infant. Maybe I just wasn't an intuitive, connected first time mom but I remember having a hard time adjusting and not feeling confident in that role until 4-5 months post partum. Also don't discount the possibility that you may face some mood issues after birth and feeling out of place, uncomfortable and put upon certainly won't help with that.
Just my experience.
post #5 of 36
For me - there would have been absolutely NO WAY I could have handled a trip like that in those first Two months. There is so much happening then, especially if you're BF'ing and getting that established. No matter how your birth went, your own body is also still very much recovering then. I can't imagine not spending that time in your own home, where you're comfortable, resting with your baby.
post #6 of 36

I was surprised by how easy it was to travel with a newborn (or at least a newish baby).  I took my daughter on an overnight Amtrak when she was 2 months old and it was totally fine.  She nursed and slept the whole time.  That being said, it sounds like you're just not comfortable with it.  And if it's going to stress you out and make things difficult, your in-laws should consider coming to visit instead.  It's not unreasonable for a new mother to want a little bit of time to recover.  So trust your instincts and do what feels right to you.  

post #7 of 36
I second working the cold/flu exposure angle. They just can't really argue with that. Plane travel with a newborn/young baby is quite easy, but you'd definitely still be in that settling in period and it's easiest to do that in your own home. One thought though, house guests at that time would be a total nightmare!
post #8 of 36

Here's my BTDT advice.  My first was born the first week of December, we were expecting him mid-November.  We had told all our family we weren't going anywhere for Christmas, but then The Hubby's brother decided to get married on the 27th and The Hubby was the best man.  Since I wasn't willing to take my 2 week old on a plane we ended up on a train for 16 hours. 


My son didn't sleep on the train how he should have, he dozed in 20 minute stretches and it was horrible trying to get him to sleep.  It involved a lot of odd nursing, 30 minutes of him switching from side to side while only sucking for ~10 seconds on each side.  I walked him for hours and he was wired the whole time.


Once I was there with family I was expected to pitch in for the wedding.  So here I am, still trying to establish breastfeeding and feeling obligated to help, standing on my feet all day while bleeding heavily.


Anyways, my advice to you is DON'T GO.  Stay home, there's always next Christmas, and send your husband (without making him feel guilty!) if he needs to visit his family.

Edited by Lazurii - 7/15/13 at 8:50pm
post #9 of 36

My 2cents.gif...


No way, not in a million years. Your husband needs to be home with you also. It is not OK if he were to leave you there alone during this time either. BTDT. Tell the family see ya next Christmas. They can always come to you. Consider this trip your Christmas visit. They should not expect nor guilt trip you into going. You are absolutely correct. Too bad for them.

post #10 of 36
Yeah, I'd initially skip the trip. Traveling with a newborn might be easier than with a toddler but its still not easy. My babies tend to eat over tired when new and in wires places with lots of people, which means lots of screaming and frustration.

My DS2 was born November 19 and we told everyone in advance that we'd be staying home for holidays. Why stress yourself out traveling, being in a strange place, all while acclimating to being a brand new parents? The first 1-2 months can be tough so I'd just simply tell your hubby you would prefer to stay home and would like to have anyone visit you. That still won't be a walk in the park but perhaps easier!

Good luck!
post #11 of 36
I don't really agree with you on all your reasons but that doesn't matter. Bottom line is you don't want to. That is enough reason! Tell the in-laws to come visit you instead.
post #12 of 36

I forgot to add that every time I've taken the plane with my kids their ears are in horrible pain.  Even nursing during take off and landing didn't help.

post #13 of 36

I didn't get one of those magical sleeping/eating/pooping and that's all babies so in my (admittedly, limited) experience - heck no.  At that point, I was still randomly crying for no good reason, bleeding, and covered in vomit on most days.  I realize that the baby phase is often easy, dare I say even pleasant for many people - but it sure as heck wasn't for me.


Also?  I just wouldn't want to drag myself and my new baby across the country to stay with people I don't really like for a long time.  So for me, that's enough reason to say no.  Nope, sorry, no, it's just not going to happen.  If you'd like to see the baby, here is a list of lovely hotels in the area.  See you when we see you.

post #14 of 36
I agree with other posters that in practice travelling with an infant fairly simple, but the anxiety of it will cause you before hand is not what you need as a hormonal new mom. I also wouldn't feel comfortable taking such a young infant on a plane ride.

Your in-laws want you to come visit but I bet they've forgotten what life with a newborn is like. My daughter was the first grandchild on my husbands side & his folks we're very out of touch with the reality of it when she arrived (wanting us to take a 3 week old out to dinner in the city at 7pm on a Saturday night, , showing up unexpected for a visit & being disappointed that the baby napped through their visit, etc). Consider planning a visit to the inlaws in March or April when the New England winter begins to pass or offering to pay for the inlaws to fly to you for Christmas or early in the New Year.

You should allow.your husband to visit his parents alone but not over the Christmas holiday. A family man will want to spend time with his family (wife & child). Stay home & enjoy your first Christmas together. Don't give in to pressure from any of the grandparents - you, hubby & baby are a family now and are entitled to make your own choices and/or start new traditions. Its not a bad idea to set the precedent that you will celebrate Christmas and travel in a way that suits you 3 best.
post #15 of 36

the biggest issue for me was the battle. I am exhausted . sleep deprived, recovering mom. I did not like having to fight my inlaws about everything. Breastfeeding, napping, schedules, cosleeping. they had so many opinions not to mention they were super weird about the baby. Our first two visits to see them left such a bad taste in my mouth and has permanently damaged our relationship. If they want to see the baby that early they need to come see you. It is too early in my opinion. Also exposing such a young baby to winter germs on a packed plane its just not a good idea. They are being selfish. I would talk about your reservations to your pediatrician he might be able to talk some sense into your husband about how a recovering new mom and a very small baby with an under developed immune system should not travel like that.

post #16 of 36
This would be a "hell, no" for me. A lot of my post-partum comfort revolved around being around very familiar places and people. I am also not very comfortable traveling in general, so I would not even have considered it.

One quick thought on your husband's behalf...is your mom going to be staying in your home with you for the entire month? You might want to think carefully about that one. DH learned a whole lot about being a father and husband because he had to learn it as we went. If I had a mom around, it might not have worked out like that.

I did not know what kinds of help I would need until the baby actually came.

My MIL's "helping" was not helpful. It wasn't her fault, it was just that I was not able to rest, emotionally or physically, when she was there. Our house was also too small for her to be unobtrusive, and I did not want to nurse in front of her, so I wound up hiding in the bedroom.

Good luck with negotiating your own needs, your child's, your husband's, and everyone else's. It can be tricky, for sure. Also a huge PITA.
post #17 of 36
I would not. When my son was born, same time in the fall, my Ped,said "if you want to keep him healthy, keep him away from groups and small children the first 8 weeks. Allow only healthy individuals to visit you at your home."
Therefore Christmas was our big outing, like you. We are in the Northeast, so cold weather, sick people. He was almost 8 weeks to the day. We only had to travel an hour by car. It was a house full of people, one adult was sick hacking and wiping his nose....there were likely others sick too but his illness was most obvious. Everyone wanted to hold the baby, but we did not allow them to. We stayed in one room with my son in the sling most of the time. It was also during the Swine flu outbreak. My family could not comprehend why I was so concerned. To this day my husband thinks it was nuts that we went. He didn't tell me so at the time, but now he is open and says that it was a bad decision. Baby did not contract anything but I agree we should not have gone. Oh and the car ride was frightful, baby screaming in the car seat and needing to be nursed. To go back in time I would have stayed home that Christmas.
Edited by Asiago - 7/17/13 at 10:48am
post #18 of 36
YES to Asiago's sling idea. I cannot stand the "pass the baby" expectation, and I could not use a sling comfortably until DS2 was a much older child (c-section). Newborns do not need to be passed around like an appetizer tray.
post #19 of 36

I would probably do it or at least seriously consider it. I agree with MeepyCat about a lot of your reasons not necessarily ending up being big issues. However, I adore my in-laws. If yours stress you out, best to pass, because you really don't need that. 

post #20 of 36

I'm another vote for not planning on it.  I can see that you wrote this while you were visiting and it's apparent that there is a lack of personal space for you there, which causes stress, even now, never mind with a newborn.  I don't think it's weird that they invited and want you to come though - new babies bring joy to families and it's only natural that they want to partake in that joy.  That being said, I don't think it's weird if you don't go either.  We got plenty of invitations to evens at or near when we were expecting our kids, and it's okay to say no thank you.  


I also totally understand your apprehensions and reasons, but I agree with the others that you want to word your reasons carefully when speaking with your DH and his family.  You have some very valid concerns, and it's best to stick with those instead of trying to cover every possible angle.  Yes some newborns are going to be easy to travel with and others aren't.  But what's more important than how portable your baby is, is how comfortable you are beginning your parenting journey in someone else's space.  There are a lot of things that I was still getting used to at that time, and a lot of things DH was getting used to as well.


You could always say that if things go smoothly that you can always buy a last minute ticket.  It gives you control that will make you more comfortable, while still not shutting out your DH's family completely.  


Good Luck!

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