Traveling With an Infant
On our trip October 1996 to WDW we learned a great
deal about how to handle a trip with an infant. Our son Allan
was all of three weeks when we left for Florida. By the end
of the trip, Allan had spent 2/5ths of his life with the Mouse.
The following is a summary of our accumulated experience on
touring WDW with an infant.
To start, let me quote a portion of the trip report
I wrote back in October, 1996:
"Taking the baby changed some things for
us. We learned very early to expect the unexpected. We found
out that schedules, no matter how perfectly designed, had
to be flexible. Frankly, fluid plans have been a hallmark
of our Walt Disney World trips for years, so the only difference
on this trip was that taking care of the baby's needs, rather
than our own whimsy, drove our day. We couldn't always do
exactly what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it, but
the baby was not an inconvenience.
"But to those who told us to not take the
baby on our trip I say...phooey. I'm an old-fashioned kind-of-guy
and I really think that our time together as a family will
mean more to us in the long run than distant memories of vacations
away from the kids. Allan was wonderful. As long as we did
our job of taking care of him, he did fine. If we went too
long between bottles, he let us know...and we quickly learned
to stay on a reasonable schedule.
"On the other hand, having Mom and Dad
on the trip was a blessing. Whenever we needed a hand, they
were there. I think one of the joys on this trip was watching
Grandma and Grandpa with the little one, really for the first
time. Besides that, Mom and Dad's presence allowed us some
flexibility to go our separate ways a few times and just relax
without the parent's responsibilities weighing on our shoulders
at every turn. On those occasions when we did go alone, we
spent a fair amount of time wondering how the baby was. I
dread the upcoming weeks at summer camp and the college years."
And here's some general issues that just didn't
fit anywhere else in this section:
Traveling with an infant, and children of
any age really, is a team effort. Dads, don't expect Mom
to do all the feedings, all the bottle washing, all the
changes, and all of everything else. Raising kids is work
and there's a good reason why it takes two to make a baby...it
generally takes two to raise one too. Don't bombard me with
any "Brian is sexist" or "Brian hates single
moms" flames...that's not it at all. What I'm saying
is that men can do their fair share on vacation (and at
home, too) to make things go smoothly.
Most pediatricians suggest that babies not
fly until they are at least six months old because the baby's
ears are just too fragile to handle the changes in cabin
pressure that are experienced on an airplane.
Consider taking a teenager (a relative or
just a family friend) to play nanny during the trip...if
the teen is a good student, it may even be possible to spring
them from school (probably even as an excused absence with
proper permissions). We didn't do this, but I know other
folks that have, and it can be a good solution for parents.