There are many reasons why families decide to move from one end of the country to the other. Job changes top the list while moving closer to family follows close behind. Other families simply move because they want to raise their children in a different environment. Whether you’re heading from NYC to California, vice versa, or going the distance anywhere in between, when you have a baby along for the move, things get even more complicated.
Moving is already stressful enough as it is. There are so many things to pack and all these arrangements to make and to top it all off, that adorable little person can’t be of any help. In fact, they might be setting you behind on your schedule to get things packed in time.
Not to worry, Mom and Dad! These 11 tips for a long distance move with baby will help you all get there in one piece with minimal stress!
1. Keep a routine as best you can
Things will certainly be changing, but by keeping feeding and sleeping schedules at the same times, this will maintain a sense of normalcy for baby and for you too. Being consistent is important even during a move because babies learn to count on that routine which makes them feel secure.
2. Pack while they sleep
You probably dream of sleeping yourself, but try to chip away at all that packing while baby sleeps. Newborns nap a lot so pick one of those times to get busy on those boxes. If they’re out of the newborn stage, it might be best to have family or a sitter care for them while you pack to keep them safe and taken care of.
3. Create a safe place
One of the best things you can get in the first year of baby’s life is a portable crib/playpen combo. It gives baby a safe zone to play in without getting underfoot and will be put to great use once you get across the country. Even if you have a devoted crib to use, you can always take the portable crib outside in your new yard on a lovely day.
4. Plan for baby’s health before moving
Schedule one last pediatric appointment for baby before the move to get your vaccination records and medical records that you can give to your new pediatrician. Make sure you get any vaccinations taken care of so they’re current too. Ideally, you’ll have found a new doctor to go to prior to moving into your new place but if not, you’ll be ready when you find one.
5. Look for family-friendly ways to move
You can always move yourselves with a rental truck, but they don’t have a back row for car seats. That means you’ll have to find a moving service that will take your things cross-country while you either drive together as a family or catch a flight. Depending on where you’re moving, you’ll have to decide if it’s best to fly or drive. Some moving services will even pack and move everything for you so if you really have your hands full, it’s nice to know there are options that can help you get it done.
6. Hire someone to help with cleaning
Speaking of help, you don’t want to leave your old place a mess, especially if you were renting. It’s worth it to hire a professional to clean up on your behalf which gives you less to stress about
7. Get ready to ride
If you’re driving, plan your route and what stops you’ll make. Make notes on where rest stops, parks, and restaurants are located. The smaller your baby is, the more you’ll need to plan on stopping for feedings. Don’t forget about those diaper changes and the chance to simply stretch and get fresh air. That’s important for everyone.
Flying? Try to book something non-stop and load up what you need in your carry-on luggage to care for baby. Each airline has different policies on what to do with strollers and other baby gear so be sure to find out long before you make your journey to avoid surprises.
8. Separate baby’s items into essential and non-essential
Essential items for baby are the things you can’t manage without. Diapers, wipes, extra clothing, bibs, first-aid, favorite toy, blanket, bottles, formula, and breast pump are just a few of these essential things. Less important things like off-season clothing, extra toys, and nursery décor can all go into the non-essential category.
9. Enlist help on moving day
Moving day is absolutely chaotic so be sure you have someone who can help watch the baby while you oversee the last details of the move. A close friend or family member is ideal, plus they’ll get to see the baby one last time before they come visit you across the country.
10. Get the nursery ready as quickly as you can
Most people unpack the kitchen first but with a new baby, it might help to get the nursery unpacked once you arrive. For older babies, this will help the new house become more familiar. Plus, it gives you a safe space for your baby while you put the rest of your new home in order.
11. Make sure you babyproof
If your baby is 2 months or younger, you don’t have to panic about babyproofing, but you do need to do it quickly. For older babies, it can’t wait so make sure you use safety gates to prevent tumbles down stairs, cover outlets, keep choking hazards away, and anchor that furniture to the wall.
Remember, things will seem strange for the first few weeks, much like when you brought baby home from the hospital. But soon, this new long-distance location will feel like home. Add all those touches that make it feel right to you and get ready to build memories together in your new home!