We recently returned from an almost two-week trip to Italy. By “recently,” I mean a week ago, as it has taken us that long to finally feel settled again, and it has taken that long for Quinn to get back on some semblance of a schedule. Traveling with a baby was everything we thought it would be, yet at the same time, we had no idea what to expect.
We knew we were taking a gamble. But deep down, I thought people who complained about not being able to travel with children were just making excuses. Ever since we became parents, we’d found that a lot of things about parenthood were exaggerated, and we thought that traveling with a baby was going to be one of them.
On the second night or so, as we were up at 2 a.m. feeling completely exhausted and barely unable to keep our eyes open and were on our second hour of trying to settle Quinn, who was wide awake and in the mood to play, we swore “Never again.”
It wasn’t just the time change that did us in. Quinn actually seemed to adjust to the time fairly quickly in terms of going to bed at the “right” time and waking up at the right time. But it wasn’t until the trip was nearly over that she seemed to be herself. The rest of the trip, she was incredibly cranky and out of sorts. The combination of the time change, all the activity, and all the new people and things to see overstimulated her and made her hard to soothe. I wore her in the Pikkolo the entire trip, and I breastfed her anytime she wanted to, yet even these weren’t enough at times. More than a few times, I walked with her thrashing around in the Pikkolo, throwing her body back and pushing her arms and legs against me. More than a few times, I hovered over her car seat so she could nurse, but if I pulled away after even an hour of cramped positioning, she would wail inconsolably.
Though Quinn is usually really excited to see new people and to explore new places, it was all too much for her — and for us.
Despite the stormy periods, the trip was actually pretty good. We got to see quite a bit of Italy (Venice, Pisa, Florence, Assisi, Sorrento, Pompeii, and Rome), and Quinn was the star of Italy. Everywhere we went, people stopped to wave, or smile at her, or pinch her cheeks, or call her beautiful. In the Sistine Chapel, a crowd literally formed around her.
We’re happy we went, and we had a good experience overall. Yet we will be quick to tell anyone who’s thinking of traveling with a baby to think again. Next year, we’ve already decided that we’re going to stay States-side for any traveling we do, or we’re going to take separate trips.
Have you traveled with a baby or young child? Share your experiences with it in the comments!
P.S. I’ll be adding more videos from our trip to the Vimeo channel and the YouTube channel. Subscribe to get updates automatically!