Welcome to my new series where I answer reader questions...
Q: How young was your baby when you first traveled with her? We were planning to travel back to Europe to visit my family in August. But, that was before we knew we were pregnant. If we traveled at the end of August, the baby would be approx. 5-6 weeks old. Do you have any advice?
A: We did lots of traveling with our infant(s) starting when HB was 9 weeks old.
The main priority with a tiny infant is the risk of infection. According to my pediatrician at the time, 9 weeks old is when she was comfortable with us flying with HB. I previously wrote about our decision to *not* take HB on a trip to New York City when she was only 6-week old.
The problem is that they can't be vaccinated until 6 weeks and it takes several weeks for full efficacy (or so we were told). So, 9 weeks is really the first time that I would feel comfortable flying with my kids, especially internationally where they may be exposed to more varied illnesses.
Another problem is how quickly you can get a passport. In the States, you have to wait for your birth certificate to be officially filed (~2 weeks) and your social security card (~2 weeks) before you can even apply for a passport, which takes 6 weeks. I remember when we first
traveled with HB at 9 weeks, the passport came only the week before we left! Though there is an option to speed it up if you pay some extra $.
Finally, one question I would ask yourself is how will *you* be feeling at 6 weeks? I remember having a really tough labor with HB and feeling just barely back to normal around 6 weeks. AB was a different story, easy labor, back to normal after 2 weeks. Will you have the energy to pack and prepare the family for a long trip at just a few weeks postpartum? Or will you have helping hands around to help you out?
I guess you have to weigh the desire to visit your family with the risk to the infant (which I would discuss with your pediatrician), and how up to traveling you will feel that soon on.
I wish you best of luck in whatever you choose!
Readers, what do you think? How early is too early to take an infant on a long trip?
If you have questions you would like to ask, please email me: josie (at) organizedmommyblog.com
Traveling With Your Baby/Toddler