Traveling with A Newborn
Friday, March 15
Well, here we are, our first adventure involving more than a long, 6 hour car ride up to Mammoth. This is our first trip with Thea, whose all of 15 weeks old, and we are headed to Portland. Why Portland? Why now?
Well, this month marks Brit and my 3 year wedding anniversary. Yay! The two of us have also wanted to take the Coast Starlight Train, a long-haul passenger train, sleeper cabin and all, from Los Angeles up north. We figured this would be the perfect opportunity to put those two things together. So we are taking the train up (29 hours) and flying back (a short 2 hour flight).
What’s more, my mom’s birthday is in a few days, so we figured that including my parents on our traveling adventures to celebrate her birthday and our anniversary would make traveling with our 3 month old a whole lot easier and have us feel a bit more comfortable when we fly for the first time with Thea.
Since we have another vacation coming up in May that is going to involve longer air travel sans the grandparents, we figured this was a good way to introduce us two new mamas to travel with a newborn.
So thank goodness for that idea. Brit and I are already exhausted, and I am writing this blog after departing the train station just 30 minutes ago. Pathetic, right? Well. I have already learned a lot, starting with that we all need to be packed days before we travel. Waiting until the night before — part of our routine pre baby — is no longer sufficient. There are simply too many things to juggle. Tip #2? Start by packing the necessities — you know, like diapers and wipes. As we pulled into the train station, Brit noticed that we had forgotten baby wipes. Oh joy!
We have new developments on the traveling front, re: clothing. This is an important one, and thankfully, we are traveling during a wetter and colder winter (for us SoCal girls). Regardless if you are visiting the snow or the beach, via car, train, or plane, you should always pack an array of outfits for both warmer and cooler weather. Aside from just being prepared, here is what I learned and saw value in today.
While aboard our train today, we noticed a few hours in that our car wasn’t getting cool. At first we thought this was as good as it got. But when we went to the dining car for lunch, we noticed how much cooler it was in every other car aside from ours. Welp, that explained Thea’s fussiness. She wasn’t even in anything too warm, but we knew it’s been chilly out and would be even colder in Portland. She started out the morning in a long sleeve bodysuit, leggings, a fleece jacket, and fleece booties. After boarding the train, when it was still off, I took the booties off since it was so hot. When she woke from that nap, off came the jacket. After lunch, all that remained was a diaper. She was instantly happier, despite being hot and sweaty from the lack of A/C.
We also had some foresight early this morning, our eyes barely opened, that we should grab two blankets; one fleece and one cotton muslin, just in case. Moral of this tip? Those ‘just in case’ instances are likely to happen more than not when traveling + and with a child. The baby is now happily fast asleep in her DockATot, diaper and all.
Saturday, March 16
Today was definitely less eventful, after all, we’ve been traveling with our Little One for nearly 24 hours now, so we’re pro! (JK.) What made this day different was cabin fever. We were all getting close to being pushed to our limits. The sleeper rooms, although considered ‘first class’ were maybe 64 sq. ft. in size; the hallways to pass from car to car made us all walk sideways like crabs; the food, although surprisingly edible and okay, was repetitive; and the loud speakers didn’t help with nap time.
I am only 10 days post op from my gallbladder surgery, which means Brit has been on super mommy mode. She has been taking care of Thea, Chloe (our puppy), me, and herself. To say she was/is exhausted would be a gross understatement. Then to add some leisurely travel in there while we are all squished like sardines, was the cherry on top. She has truly been my hero throughout all of this. So needless to say, we both took turns entertaining Thea, each in our own ways.
To say we were happy to arrive in Portland, would have been a gross understatement. Especially since our train was behind schedule by just over an hour. It through us all for a loop. But checking in to our hotel, one of two 5-star hotels in all of Downtown Portland according to TripAdvisor, made us all feel a little bit like Eloise, checking into the top floor of the Plaza Hotel.
It was clean. It was spacious. It was luxurious. It had a shower. The bed was big enough for us all. It was exactly what we all needed after the last 30 hours of being on a train.