Travel is in Evie’s blood so as soon as she was born we were counting the days until we could take her on her first trip. She got her first passport at just 6 weeks old (cute!) and we headed to the Cook Islands a few weeks after that. I’d been so worried about what travelling with a newborn baby would be like but it was actually a lot easier than I expected. I came home with renewed confidence and I couldn’t wait for the next trip!
So about six weeks later, we spontaneously booked a little getaway up to Byron Bay when Evie was three and a half months old. Well, it’s safe to say that babies change very fast and this trip was a little trickier! Here’s a rundown of the four main differences I found between travelling with a newborn vs a 3-month-old. I’m sure that by our next trip she will undoubtedly have changed again!
Travelling with a newborn vs a 3-month-old: The main differences
I think it’s normal to be nervous about flying with your baby, no matter how old they are. I was so anxious about how eight-week-old Evie would go on her first plane trip. Would her little ears be okay? Would she scream the entire flight? We took a total of four flights when she was a newborn (to and from the Cook Islands via New Zealand) and she actually turned out to be the perfect little passenger. She fed on take-off and landing and slept for the rest of the time, either in the carrier or in the bassinet in front of us. It was way easier than I expected.
Fast forward six weeks and we boarded the plane up to Byron Bay. I was feeling at ease after how well she did on the past trip. She was still pretty good on the plane, but it was definitely harder. Again, I fed her on take-off and landing and her ears seemed to be fine so that wasn’t an issue. It was the in-between time that was a bit trickier. Instead of just falling straight asleep after eating, she was too distracted by all the people around her, the bright windows and the noise. To get her to sleep I had to walk laps of the aisle, jiggling her in the carrier the whole time. I couldn’t stop moving. Then, she only slept for 30 minutes so by the time we landed, collected our baggage, picked up the rental car and were on our way, she was overdue for another sleep and was overtired and grumpy. I think it was unavoidable though and just the reality of travelling with a baby that age!
On the packing front, I found that travelling with a newborn was a bit easier than travelling with a 3-month-old. Sure, newborns need a lot of nappies, changes of clothes and burp cloths, but 3-month-olds need all that and a bit more. I packed a few toys this time, which I hadn’t really bothered about on our first trip. She was more interactive and playful now and they came as a handy distraction tool on car journeys when she would start to get fidgety and grizzly. I also made sure I packed a bedtime story book so we could maintain her nighttime routine away from home.
Because she was so little when we travelled with her the first time, we didn’t need to hire any items for her. We bathed her in the hotel sink and popped her in the carrier to get around. Travelling with her even just a month later though, I suddenly felt like we needed more stuff so decided to hire some things. These included a pram, baby bath and activity gym.
I could have packed our own pram but I know how careless airlines can be with them and I didn’t want to risk it being damaged. Now that she was a bit bigger, I didn’t want to be limited to only having her in the carrier. It was all we needed on our first trip but I felt like a pram would be helpful now that she was older.
The thing I found most challenging travelling with a 3-month-old was the change in sleep patterns. Around this time, babies go through a sleep ‘regression’ where their sleep cycles shift irrevocably to adult sleep patterns. This can mean frequent wake ups between sleep cycles while they’re learning to adapt to this change. It can also mean a LOT of short catnaps!
It was a breeze to travel with Evie when she was a newborn because she fell asleep so easily and slept for so long. She didn’t care if it was bright or loud, she’d just stay asleep. It gave us a lot of freedom and meant that she’d generally fit in with what we wanted to do.
When she turned 3-months-old, it had completely switched. Suddenly, sleep didn’t come so easily anymore. She’d gone from sleeping 1.5-2 hour stretches, three times a day to five short catnaps of only 30 minutes each! These tiny little naps weren’t restorative and so as the day progressed, she’d become more and more tired. She needed a lot more day sleep but was finding it so hard to fall and stay asleep. At this age, her awake time was only 90 minutes max. After a feed and nappy change, it didn’t leave much time to go and do something before she needed a sleep again. The whole week we were up in Byron Bay, I never even stepped foot on the beach! There was just never enough time to get there in between naps. Luckily, our accommodation had a beautiful pool so Evie was still able to have her first dip.
She was even finding it increasingly hard to nap in the carrier if it was noisy or bright. If we happened to be at a cafe, for example, I’d have to leave, go for a walk somewhere quiet, block her view and bounce her until she fell asleep. It was hard work.
Thankfully, her nighttime sleep was still mostly very good, with usually only one wakeup for a feed overnight. She didn’t hit the full regression until after we got home but luckily it was only a handful of bad nights until she adjusted. The catnapping on the other hand lasted for months!
4. Getting out and about
It was so easy to take Evie out when we travelled with her as a newborn. Once she had been fed and changed, she was happy and good to go! She had no problem with the carrier, car seat or pram and would happily relax or go to sleep wherever she was put.
Come three months, it was a different story. She suddenly became a pit pickier. When we were on holiday up in Byron Bay, she suddenly decided she loathed the pram. We tried to take her out in it a few times and she wouldn’t stop screaming! This was new. She now hated being on her back in the bassinet with the hood obstructing her view out. The same went with the car seat. She could tolerate it for maybe 10 minutes or so and then would start crying, desperate to be let out. It made it a lot harder to get out and unless I popped her in the carrier and walked. Having said that though, she was pretty happy at cafes as long as she was sitting on our laps. She was so fascinated by all the movement and activity around her and it kept her entertained just long enough for us to sip our coffee and down our acai bowls!
Evie’s now 6 months old and we’re thinking about planning another little getaway soon. I wonder how different it will be again. I’ll keep you posted.
Have you seen these latest posts? Let’s catch up!
- A Little Note on Where I’ve Been Lately
- What to Pack When Travelling with a Baby: 28 Travel Essentials
- Flying While Pregnant: 11 of my Best Tips
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Have you travelled with a baby before? What do you think is easier – travelling with a newborn vs a 3-month old?