Going to Hawaii with a 14-month-old was simultaneously the best and worst experience of our lives.
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I blame our previous experiences vacationing before we had any children. Before our little baby Belle came along we had gone from simple road trips to out of the country ventures to Scotland and Italy. All the while, just loving our own adult schedules and lack of sleep while still soaking up the new adventures we were embarking on.
With a baby, it’s a little different… especially if you are fighting a BIG time change and teething. We flew from Utah to Hawaii, a six-hour flight, and made a four hour time change. This may not seem like much, but for a little one on a nap schedule, it can be a HUGE toss up.
Now that our trip is over, we have vowed never to fly with an infant again. It’s too much stress for me and my husband. We struggle with anxiety in the family and it’s truly not worth it. For some couples, it may be different, and they may do just fine flying a red-eye and losing a night’s sleep doing so, but it’s just not our thing.
And for those couples on the fence about the situation, and contemplating whether you should take this big trip sooner with the baby or later when you can leave the baby at home with a grandma, I’ve laid out a list of things that made our trip great with a baby, and the moments we wished we didn’t have a little one screaming in the background.
So here are my top five reasons why you shouldn’t take your baby on vacation, and one reason why you should.
#1 Flying With a Baby Sucks.
Like I said before, we have vowed to never fly with an infant again. Unless completely necessary, it’s not gonna happen.
Think about it, you can’t go anywhere. You can try to rock your infant down the aisles but you just end up tripping and hitting other passengers with those chubby feet that are thrashing about cause your baby is overtired and upset. And some airplanes (like ours) don’t have changing tables… I can’t even. Just. No.
It’s loud, its new, and sure there are some passengers who can relate and have sympathy, but it doesn’t heal those bites on your arms or the screaming from your kid. Not worth it.
If it’s a must, and you’re stuck on a red-eye flight with a 14-month-old like I was, these baby calming tablets and this product called Kid-E-Col (click here) were both lifesavers and helped our little one finally get to sleep, both are natural and can be given in 15-minute increments.
#2 Routines are out the window.
I never realized how much routines mattered until I became a mother, so when there is a wrench thrown into the said routine, days are just not the same. Our baby had such a hard time sleeping when she was first born, and it wasn’t until I developed a sleep schedule that she would sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. And I think she may still struggle with sleep because of the first two months of her life.
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So when our nap schedule gets thrown off and we are in a new place, it’s just different for us as parents and baby to get into the groove of things and actually enjoy being on vacation.
To be completely honest, without the routine, it’s more work than actual relaxation and vacation time. Just defeats the purpose of going on the vacation.
#3 Babies can be unpredictable.
What they love at home, can suddenly be avoided like the plague on vacation.
For example, our little girl loves car rides and will fall asleep in her car seat about 89% of the time at home. But, for some unknown reason, she HATED every time we put her in the rental car while in Hawaii. Maybe it was the unfamiliar back seat, maybe it was the unfamiliar smells, maybe it was the lack of enough toys, we’re not sure.
But our little monster would scream to high heaven anytime we would try to drive. So, we started to limit our driving, which limited our fun excursions and left us thinking, “Is it worth even going out at all?”…
I know what you may be thinking, “babies cry, what do you expect? Get over it and try to make the most of it.” And there may be some people out there who are better at tuning out their baby’s cries but were just not good at it, especially when it’s been an hour and she isn’t letting up at all.
#4 No Babysitter. No Break.
Did you know some resorts have programs where you can drop off your kid at a summer camp daily activity thing while you and your partner go and enjoy adult alone time? Did you also know that they are usually for children 5 and up?
After this last vacation, we looked up hotels that are “baby-friendly” with in-house babysitters and activities for all sorts of ages. Our resort was not like these hotels, unfortunately.
We had no date time or just US time (hubby and wife) like we usually plan weekly, and it put a strain on us. We came back from this vacation looking like zombies, and desperately needing time on our own to bond again, to have our own room again, and I’ve never been more excited for date night again!
So, if you can, bring a family member or, heck! Hire a vacation nanny! It will be worth it. That or take every measure to leave your adorable baby nugget home with a sitter while you fly away.
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#5 Where do all the diapers go?
I never thought how inconvenient and stuffy it would get spending a week in a hotel room with a baby. AND how unsanitary it is to have a baby walking/crawling around carpet that has who knows what spilled all over it.
In fact, our little munchkin found random items that included but were not limited to, cheerios (we never bought cheerios), contact lens container (we don’t wear contacts), socks that weren’t ours, and a myriad of other trinkets that made me cringe. I was in a bit of a germaphobe state that kept me from actually relaxing, I would have much rather preferred to be in a relatives home or our own home.
So, if you’re taking your baby to a hotel, stop by the store first and get sanitary wipes (or store some beforehand) and a carpet cleaning spray or even take your own carpet mat to lay down and put their toys on so they might not wander too much collecting germs.
Now, there is one reason why we loved having our baby with us this vacation…
We made some good memories. And she helped us see that the little moments can be gems compared to grand activities.
Sure, it was hard, but we had moments like seeing our little girl on the beach for the first time, finding out she LOVES sand but is SUPER scared of the ocean.
Seeing her say “Hi” to everyone she walked by or sat by at a restaurant, and her excitement every morning to get into her stroller and see more of this new world we were in!
The moral of this story, know the downside of taking your baby on vacation, but also know what could be great so you can choose for yourself.
I’m glad we took our baby this time.. for the experience. But next time we’re leaving her home. We know she will be happier to stay at home and on a routine, and that we will enjoy ourselves more with a break from the day-to-day.
I can’t wait til our kiddos are older so we can have more fun on vacation! ‘Til then we plan on loads of camping and local fun!