Welcome to The POTN Dispatch. A blog series where we pick the brains of rockstar moms and dads from our community. Each post features knowledge, tips, and stories drawn from their experiences on the front lines of modern parenting. May their misadventures make yours a little more graceful. For our first installment, Parent of the North, Lo Rivas, invites us on a family trip with her husband and 3-month-old, Ruth. Lo shares the lessons she learned from her very first trip as a new parent so you can feel confident when embarking on a similar voyage with your little one(s).
Ok, let me start by saying that I am in no way, shape, or form an expert. I am a 28-year-old first-time mom who has only been at this thing since November 2022 (as I write this, it is January 2023, so I'm not even three months in!!). My husband, Eldred, and I love being outside, camping, hiking and traveling, but with the arrival of Ruth, we knew that would look different. So we teamed up with Product of the North to take our first getaway with our tiny little girl to test the waters.
1. Start Small
We live in Houston (a blessing in the winter, a curse in the summer!), so January was a great time for us to get in a test run. While we would have loved to pack up, travel far, and hike half dome, we knew we needed to start small to get our feet wet. We booked a Getaway House an hour outside Houston for just one night. This allowed us easy access to get home in case of emergency. And even with the short drive, we still had to stop at a gas station so I could nurse Ruth on the way home. While the prideful outdoors people in us cringed at glamping, it really was the perfect test run with a baby — we had a comfortable bed to sleep and nurse in, climate control (because we all know the weather is unpredictable), a fridge for food, a stove to cook on and a shower in case of major blowouts. Humble yourself and start small.
2. Pack Light
It's easy to feel like you need everything you own when traveling with a baby, but you really don't. Keep it light. Keep it to the essentials. We could fit everything we brought in our daily diaper bag, the XO Elkin Backpack, and the XO Alden Weekender. We all had separate packing cubes for our clothes in the Alden Weekender. We also brought the Hip Pack for my daily essentials and the XO Travel Kit for our toiletries. Travel hack: Share toiletries with your spouse! We only pack one toothbrush, one deodorant, one toothpaste, and then our separate face product.
3. Pack The Night Before.
Before leaving, I packed EVERYTHING the night before and had it waiting by the door. If you have a newborn (or a husband who struggles to get out of the house as I do), you'll thank yourself for the preparation.
4. Pack Simple Foods or Leftovers.
We knew traveling with a newborn was a feat unto itself, so we decided to take it easy on ourselves. We arrived around 3:30 pm and had leftovers we brought for dinner, overnight oats we made the day before, yogurts for breakfast, and lots of snacks from home. This meant we never had to cook a meal. As a new mom, I have found cooking and eating the hardest thing to work into my days, so this was really helpful for us.
5. Have Grace for Yourself.
Life with a newborn is crazy. Everything is new, everything has changed, and it's both the best and the hardest. You're going to have blowouts, you may have disagreements with your partner, and there may (in my case — will) be tears, but it's all worth it when that newborn baby is snuggling on your chest or looking at you and smiling or trying to talk to you for the first time.
I hope this encourages you to travel with your newborn. You can stay close, and you can start small but start. Do you have any trips planned with your family? Drop a comment below and tell us where and when you'll be heading out!
Like this post? Check out Meet Our 2023 Parents Of The North