Moving with a baby sounds as stressful and unpredictable as early parenthood typically tends to be. Caring for a child adds another dimension of planning when moving, but there's good news! Many people have done it before you, and there are plenty of tips you can follow to keep yourself (albeit maybe not your curious baby) from pulling your hair out. Add these quick bits of advice to your moving checklist, and you’ll find you can manage any challenge with confidence when moving with your infant.
First Things First: Talk to Your Pediatrician
The first step to moving with a baby is to talk to your pediatrician. (We know you probably have them on speed dial at this point, anyway.) So once you’ve set your move-in date, schedule a visit with your pediatrician. You’ll want to make sure your baby is up-to-date on all their immunizations and that you have any needed medications for the coming months.
Let them know you’re moving with the baby and ask for referral help. Your doctor knows you and your child, and if they don’t know any doctors in your new location, they can at least guide you on where to start your search. You may also need to sign a request for your baby’s records, so they can send them to his or her new doctor after your move. They’ll be able to go through all of that during your appointment and also answer any questions you might have. Here are a couple of common questions:
How Soon Can You Move with a Baby?
Your postpartum timeline is a tricky one to predict, but if you’re moving with a newborn, it’s best to assume that you won’t be able to help much. With healing from birth along with the all-consuming task of caring for a newborn, there’s not much that can physically be done. Dad might be able to move boxes and get things packed up, but not without help.
If you need to DIY your move and can wait six months or more, that might be best. If you’re on a tighter timeline and can afford the moving help, that’s definitely the better option for everyone. Moving within the first six weeks your baby is born, though, is probably not something anyone would recommend, but talk with your pediatrician to determine the best choice.
Is It Better To Move Before or After Having a Baby?
If you read any online parenting forum, the resounding answer seems to be before. It’s easier to get settled before you have to plan around the baby’s schedule (Hunger, sleep, and diaper changes wait for no man!), and you can have an established support network in advance.
Moving while pregnant is still no easy feat, but it’s a lot easier on you, your family, and especially the baby throughout the process. If your timeline will allow it, talk to your pediatrician about the possibility of moving before your baby is born.
|Q: What is the hardest week with a newborn?
A: Most people will tell you the first six to eight weeks are hardest with a newborn. Between feedings, the lack of sleep, rush of emotions, and bonding with your baby, there’s a lot of adjustment happening. Add moving with a baby into the mix, and things are likely to become very chaotic. If you can afford to wait, we think it’s best to take your time and cherish the time you have.
Don't Start Packing Too Early
Early looks different for everyone, but nobody wants to be living in a sea of moving boxes weeks before the move happens. It’s best to plan this step well ahead of time and have a specific space set aside for those boxes, so your baby can’t get into them before they’re ready to be moved.
Make Your Travel Plans Baby-Friendly
Did you know most hotels have cribs available? If you’re moving long-distance with a baby, make sure you call any hotels along your route between your podcasts and playlists to make sure they have a crib set up in your room ahead of time. If you’re flying, opt for the direct flight with your little one instead of trudging through a layover that no one, especially your baby, wants to endure.
Once you’ve selected your flight, check your airline’s rules as well as TSA rules about flying with baby gear, like a stroller and multiple diaper bags. We know, we know… TSA isn’t very parent-friendly. But some airlines will allow you to use a folding stroller within the airport when you're traveling with a baby, and you can check it at the gate.
Moving With a Newborn: Avoid the Chaos
Sure, your baby may have a somewhat solid schedule, so you’ll be able to plan more accordingly with what they need along the way. Still, we recommend hiring movers, and then getting your baby out first thing before they get there. It’s going to be loud and fast-paced, and naptime while the kitchen is being packed is simply not going to happen. If you feel uneasy about those hotel cribs, have a portable crib on hand for sleep and safe playtime. You don’t have to leave for the new house immediately after the movers arrive, but prepare to run a few errands while the baby naps in the car, or even spend an afternoon at a friend’s house to decrease stress.
Moving With a Toddler: Keep the Distractions Coming
We’d still recommend hiring help for each step of the move with a toddler, but both parents can be a little more involved at this stage — and you might even be able to involve your baby in the process!
Depending on how mobile they are, though, don’t forget to baby-proof your new home first thing. Make sure you know where they’re going to get settled once you all arrive at the new house. And, most importantly, keep things as fun as you can along the way — to avoid as many typical toddler tantrums as possible.
Pack Two Essential Baby Bags
Accidents are inevitable when traveling with a baby, and nobody wants to be stuck unable to clean them up. So here’s our best tip: For your car trip or flight, pack your usual diaper bag with extra diapers, wipes, and clothes, as well as plastic bags for those dirty diapers and clothes because you will need them.
Your second baby bag will help with any hotel rooms along the way. Pack safety gear like electric outlet covers and corner protectors for sharp-edged tables or countertops that could hurt a wandering baby. You may also want to consider adding a safety gate to your car for move-in day.
Stick to Your Routines
It’s important to maintain your normal routine as much as you can, especially in those hectic days leading up to your move. You might find this to be one of the most challenging aspects of moving, but it’s essential. Consistency in napping and feeding times gives your child a sense of security during a stressful process, but the extra benefit is that it’ll do the same for you, too. Routines like reading before bedtime can give you a much-needed stress break from the chaos.
|Q: Is moving stressful for babies?
A: Moving may be life-altering for you, but it can have a big impact on your baby, too. They’re already new to the world, and you’re taking them away from pretty much all they know. That being said, it’s definitely best to prepare for the big emotions ahead of time. Anxiety, sadness, fear, and stress are all common for anyone to feel before a big move, and babies are included in that. Most importantly, babies can absolutely tell when you’re stressed.
Pack the Baby’s Room Last
It’s finally time to pack up your baby’s room! This isn't exactly a moving tip, but before you touch anything, take pictures. You’ll find them very special in the years ahead, and it’ll be nice to look back on. Now that that's out of the way, here's our moving advice: The crib should be the last thing that goes on the truck or in your portable moving container, and as you disassemble it, put any hardware into a clear plastic bag, taped to the side of the crib. Trust us — you'll definitely want that crib to be the first thing unpacked and reassembled in your new home.
Plan for Help on Move-In Day
If you’re moving in town, ask a friend, relative, or babysitter to watch your little one on moving day. If you’re moving somewhere farther away, finding help can get tricky. Check online to find a new sitter where you’re moving. And if you need something more permanent, a nanny is another great option. Regardless, it’s worth having someone dedicated to watching your little one while you unpack and get the house assembled.
Most Importantly, Give Yourself Credit
We know the baby is the priority here, but don’t forget to give yourself some credit! With a bit of extra preparation (and a whole lot of planning sessions), you made it happen. Tailoring a big move to your particular toddler is no easy feat, and we understand the countless hours that can go into adjusting for everyone involved.
That’s why the PODS Blog is your one-stop shop for moving tips. Even if you’re still pregnant or have older kids to move along with your baby, we’ve got you covered.
Katlynn Mullins is a St. Petersburg-based freelance writer whose only roommate is their cat. A frequent PODS Blog contributor, Katlynn loves finding ways to make moving into new spaces simple and stress-free. Between yearly apartment hopping, you can find them on the waterfront or experimenting with new ways to make coffee.