Complete Guide to Moving with a Baby
The process of moving with a baby
Do either of these scenarios sound familiar? You look down at the sleeping baby in your arms, then you slowly look to the clothes, shoes, knickknacks, books, dishes and all the other things that need to be done to prep for your move. Surely there’s time to pack at least a few boxes while the baby sleeps. But just as you lean over to lay the baby down — tears. It’s time to eat. And so you put off packing once again. Or, maybe you’re working against an inquisitive toddler who’s feverishly unpacking every single item you just wrapped and boxed up.
Such is life with babies and toddlers.
Moving can be stressful in general. Add an infant or toddler to the mix, and you might even notice some anxiety creeping in. But planning and knowing what to do can help you feel prepared and in control. Start by taking a look at the three helpful tips below. Then, learn what to do before, during and after moving with a baby to help your little one get through the process and adjust to their new surroundings.
Tips for moving with a baby
While newborns will likely sleep through most of the packing and traveling, older infants — especially those who are crawling or walking — may be curious and unsure of what’s happening. Try these tips to help cultivate a calm setting for you and baby:
- Maintain a consistent routine. Try keeping the same feeding and sleeping schedule, even after arriving at your new home. Consistency can help babies feel secure during a chaotic time.
- Pack while they’re sleeping or away. If possible, pack during naptime, or when they’re at daycare or with a sitter. This way, you can focus all your attention on packing.
- Designate a “safe” zone. If the baby is home and awake while you’re packing, consider creating a safe area (like a playpen) where they can have fun without getting underfoot or getting into the boxes.
Before the move
Getting ready to move involves a lot of planning and packing. When moving with an infant, there are other tasks to consider, too.
Schedule a doctor’s appointment
A few days or weeks before traveling, visit the pediatrician to inform them of the move, and to make sure the baby is healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations. While you’re there, ask for recommendations on finding a new pediatrician, and get copies of medical records and prescriptions to give to the new doctor.
Find new childcare
Scout daycares and childcare programs before the move. It’s not unusual for facilities to having waiting lists, so get your name on one as soon as possible. If time and distance allow, plan a visit to each place to find the best fit.
Find a family-friendly moving option
There are several choices for getting your belongings from one home to another, but some are better when moving with babies. Since rental trucks don’t have a back row for car seats, consider a “you pack, we drive” service like U-Pack®. With U-Pack, you pack and load your belongings, and we drive the equipment to the destination — allowing you to fly or drive together as a family. Learn more about U-Pack by getting a free online quote or calling 800-413-4799.
Plan the trip
For long-distance drives, map out a route. Find towns with family-friendly rest stops, parks and restaurants. When traveling with a baby, you’ll have more stops for feedings, diaper changes and just to stretch and play — plan for extra time and flexibility.
If flying, look for a non-stop flight, and prepare activities and snacks for the trip. It’s also a good idea to check with airlines about their policies on strollers/carriers. Read about the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) special procedures for traveling with children.
Pack infant items
Divide packing into two categories: essentials and non-essentials.
In the essentials box, pack the things you’ll need during travel and right when you get there (especially if there’s a chance you’ll arrive before your stuff does). This is things like diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, snacks, bottles, bottle warmer, breast pump and mini cooler (if needed), formula, bibs, extra clothing, bath soaps, plastic bag for dirty diapers and clothes, medications, first-aid kit, thermometer, favorite toy/blanket, etc. If flying, carry on any immediate necessities, and pack the other items in checked bags.
The non-essentials box is for things you don’t need leading up to the move or right when you get there. You can pack these a few weeks or months in advance. This is things like extra toys, off-season clothing, stuffed animals, books, nursery décor and any nursery furniture that you don’t use regularly.
On moving day
Moving day is busy with people going in and out of the house carrying furniture and boxes. If possible, have a friend, relative or babysitter keep your little one, ideally off-site. Doing this keeps them safe and away from all the noise and commotion, and it allows you to concentrate on the task at hand. If no one is available, designate an empty room where you and someone else can take turns watching your baby.
After arriving at the new house, take care of the following tasks to help your infant settle into their new home and life:
Unpack the nursery
Putting together the nursery first can help make the new home seem familiar, especially if the furniture and décor are set up similarly to the previous house. It also will provide a quiet and safe space for the baby to play and sleep while you continue to unpack.
Baby-proof the home
Another critical thing to do right away is baby-proof the home. Some things you might do include:
- Block off staircases and other dangerous areas with safety gates
- Place child-resistant locks on drawers and cabinets, especially those that contain chemical products and medications
- Remove choking hazards like packing materials and cords
- Cover electrical outlets
- Anchor heavy furniture like bookshelves, dressers and entertainment centers to the wall
Visit the new pediatrician
Scheduling a “meet-and-greet” appointment with the new pediatrician is an excellent way for them to learn about your baby’s medical history and vaccinations records. Plus, it can be helpful to see how your little one is coping after the move.
Get information about moving with kids of all ages in this comprehensive resource. Have questions about moving with a baby? Leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!