I know there's a recent thread about moving, but my questions are a little different. I'm not so concerned with packing advice, but I'm wondering how to best respect our baby in our cross-country move. She will be about 8mo when we begin. We're planning to stop in multiple places across the country to visit friends over a span of a couple of weeks, then spend a week or so with my husband's family (extended fam will meet dd for first time), then I fly all the way back across the country with dd for my mom's 60th birthday (I know, grr, but there are important family reasons for it), then when i arrive back at my in-laws we drive up to our new city and move in. Here are my concerns:
- lots of new people just as she is entering the stranger anxiety stage
- very little to no routine day-to-day
- lots of time in the car (we currently don't own a car) - though we plan to take it slow, lots of breaks, and avoid driving every day, and we're planning some good nature/family time
- time zones (this is more of a concern with the fly all the way back, since we'll be moving through them gradually on the drive out)
Is it crazy to drive? We wanted transition time and time to see friends and have them meet dd. Also, how can we best help things go well for her, esp. re: routine and attachment?
i'm so nervous...
Oh, mama, ((hugs)). I can imagine this is all very overwhelming! I haven't done any long-range driving, so I don't have huge amounts of advice. First off, please, please make sure you keep her safe. I'm not at all suggesting that you wouldn't, but just earlier today I was considering our family driving 9 hours up north this summer with a baby. And in thinking about it, I realized how easily parents have fallen into the trap of, while another parent drives, unbuckling a baby to soothe him/her instead of stopping. There have been so many babies hurt/killed for such a reason. You are smart to know to take it slow. Take turns sitting by her and entertaining her as you go. We would struggle with this because in our van, baby sits in a middle captain's chair and couldn't have someone directly next to him.
Next I would say, hold tight to those tenets of attachment parenting that ease transition. Namely, babywearing, cosleeping, and a gentle approach to her. You would be surprised how adaptable and versatile little ones really are, when they feel loved, attached, and respected. Keep her in a sling/carrier until she expresses an interest to venture out, allow her to snuggle with you often, and look for her cues when she's becoming overloaded and be willing to take a time-out from visiting whenever that happens.
As scary as I can imagine this is, what an awesome opportunity for your family! How cool! If you are gentle with her, she will be just fine.
Wife to , mama to , , , and - bonus mommy to !
Thank you so much for the encouragement and thoughts! Maybe it's just the hormones, but I teared up reading it... just so good to have another mama's sympathy, and know that she'll be okay and that this is a wonderful adventure. And I know what you mean about thinking about taking the baby out of the carseat! I wouldn't, but I understand the temptation. Yet another reason to take it slow, so I'm not tempted. We also got a good idea from Dr. Sears' book that if she's experiencing stranger anxiety we can let friends and family know ahead of time to give her time and space and let her approach them. Just knowing that we can do that if needed is so helpful (though I'm sure some we'll think we're being over-indulgent or something. Oh well).
Sounds like you have a really great attitude about it! And don't worry too much about what they think about your parenting; the only one that matters is your little one, and by caring gently for her, you're protecting her - all that matters!
Wife to , mama to , , , and - bonus mommy to !
I agree with pp, babywearing and cosleeping will be your best friends. Also, plan a blanket and some good toys for some floor time at friends' houses. I find that with our 7mo if she has the space to wiggle and move a bit it really helps her attitude during the day. When new-ish people come over they can sit on the floor near her and let her come to them.. it really helps her approach them more easily and she feels less trapped than if they grab and hold her while standing.
If you can, I would suggest bath time together every night before bed... the skin to skin contact will be helpful and the routine of it can help her to know that it's time to settle down regardless of location.
Has she ever been in a car? Do you know what kind of car kid she is? You might get some links and easily attachable toys for her for riding in the car, so that if she drops it she can drag it back. Also, if it's warm enough, toes make great car toys (hers obviously!).. Investing in a mirror for the car would probably help as well and they're not usually too expensive. Even if you're planning to sit next to her, there might be some times when she'll be sleeping and you can ride up front and keep an eye on her.
Just go with the flow. Follow you LO's cues and you'll be fine. A great excuse to get away from commotion at someone's house is to go to your room to "feed the baby" whether you are going to actually feed the baby or not. We did the same type of move (AB to NB) when our ds was 8 months. It went really well. He also met family along the way for the first time and had a blast! His new cousins were totally excited to meet him and my ds just adores them. It is not crazy to drive at all. It is totally cool that your LO is going to see so much of the country at such a young age. I mean, she won't remember but, IMO it is still cool. We stopped at all the borders and took pics of our little guy at all of them. We only have him in the shots, as though he took a trip by himself haha, and the pics are really cute. All we need is Newfoundland now.
As for time zones....worse for you than your baby. Cause your baby doesn't care what time it is, she'll sleep when she feels like it. But I remember my ds being on NB time and not going to bed until 3 in the morning when we went back to AB to visit. It was totally rough on me, but only for a few days and then he eventually got onto AB time lol.
Have fun! You'll probably look back on your move as a really fun adventure.