Going on a vacation without your baby might just make you a better parent. A well-planned vacation allows you to have some personal time away from the constant demands and responsibilities of parenthood. Coming home from a restful vacation recharges the daily joys of taking care of your baby. Plan ahead to cover your bases from who will care for your baby to how you'll stay connected during your absence. The end result is a happier, more confident outlook on dedicated parenting while living a life that has room for adult fulfillment.
Start planning your vacation four to five weeks ahead of time so you can avoid last-minute worries or mishaps. Prioritize your baby's care before you leave, and be certain of your own comfort level with the person who will be caring for your baby. Peace of mind over your baby's well-being translates into long walks on the beach for you, sans the worry over how your baby is faring in your absence. Plan to keep important phone numbers handy, such as your baby's pediatrician, day care or close relative. You may not have a need for these contacts, but in the event of the unexpected, you can still enjoy your vacation while making decisions that concern your baby.
Keep reasonable tabs on your little one with regular check-ins to see how she's doing. Bring along your laptop or smart phone so you can have a visual connection to your baby. You may want to arrange for a set time each day during your vacation, or you can connect every few days. Seeing your baby laugh and play makes your vacation worry-free and allows a sense of daily assurance that she's doing fine without you. Regulate your connection times to avoid being "glued" to your computer or phone. Remember that the purpose of a vacation is to get away for a while.
If you or your baby have a difficult time being separated, take a shorter vacation of three to four days. Choose a location in close proximity to home, and you'll feel closer to your baby while still enjoying the freedom of a vacation. Easing into vacation time by taking it in shorter increments and staying closer to home often makes the transition for you and your baby a less stressful event. It also sets a healthier foundation for longer vacations later. For a longer vacation, consider taking your baby to his grandparents or other people he's comfortable with to keep separation anxiety to a minimum. According to Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician and author of numerous parenting books, some babies can go to familiar substitute caregivers with little or no anxiety.
Making the Most of Your Vacation
By the time your babies reach the age of 9 to 12 months, they often become very active, and you become very fatigued. According to Dr. Cliff James at Kids Central Pediatrics in Tennessee, author of "A First Time Parent's Survival Guide," this is the time when a vacation away from your little one might be welcome. While you're away, remember that the purpose of your vacation is to clear your mind and enjoy a sense of adventure. Arrange for activities such as sightseeing excursions, snorkeling or fishing, depending on your vacation location. Use this time to indulge in your freedom, taking in the sights and sounds of different cultures. Have fun shopping, and look for keepsakes you can bring home to your baby. Set your mind to focus on every aspect of indulgence whether it's small or large. You'll create happy memories and a sense of success when it comes to arranging any future vacations away from your baby.