Pretty much everything you do is harder with an infant, from eating out to shopping to — let’s be honest — just leaving the house. As you might suspect, that includes moving.
“For toddlers and kids, moving causes emotional or psychological stress – just like it does for adults. But for babies, the stress of moving is directly related to the disruption of their regular routine,” said Rob Caiello, vice president of marketing for Allconnect, a service that helps you connect your internet, phone and other utilities after a move.
He’s a veteran of the complex baby move: In the past nine years, he’s made two big moves, one was from the East Coast to the West Coast when his twins were infants.
Here are some ways to minimize the stress on them – and, of course, you.
1. Maintain Your Routine.
While that be tough on actual moving day (or week), try to maintain the same schedule for your baby right up until moving day, says Jackson Ferguson, general manager of the Austin You Move Me franchise.
You’ll particularly want to maintain a regular nap and sleep schedule, but they still need their playtimes and other routines. See if they can spend time with a friend or relative during their awake periods if you need more prep time. They’ll love to cuddle the baby before you leave.
2. Purge While Packing.
There’s no better time to get rid of the billion plastic toys and non-special stuffed animals that have likely already accumulated in your baby’s first few months, suggests Forrest Wheatey, a mover with Fantastic Removals. Not only will it be less to move, it will be less to unpack, less to store.
3. Know the Territory.
Before you move, find out your go-to spots for all your baby’s needs, from the pediatrician to the park, suggests Caiello.
You don’t want to arrive and not know where the nearest superstore is, just as you run out of wipes, diapers and patience. While you’re at it, see if there’s a reliable sitter service in your new town.
4. Pack the Ultimate Baby Bag.
Make sure you’re set for travel: wipes, snacks, distractions, clothes (and an extra set or two to be safe).
But Ferguson also recommends keeping key items set aside to take with you, rather than leaving with the movers and other boxes, so you’ll have the essentials immediately upon arriving.
The last thing you want to do is get to your destination and realize the binky or lovey is hidden inside an unknown box. Keep on hand favorite toys, a first aid kit and enough outfits to last a week.
5. Set Up the Baby Room First.
The flat screen can wait.
Instead focus on recreating what you can of their old room, from their favorite mobile over the bed to their cozy sheets to the cozy rocking chair, says Wheatey.
Ideally you will have kept all your baby’s special items together in a box you unpack first, and the familiarity will help them settle in faster.
6. Baby-proof Your New Home.
Identify and eliminate any potential dangers in your new residence, just as you did in your old one, Caiello reminds. And don’t rush it. Spend time finding any new hazards you might not have expected.
7. Hire a Babysitter.
“Moving can be very tough on its own, but if you have to care for your infant as well, it can become impossible,” said Wheatey.
Not able to identify someone reliable in your new spot? See if a family member can join you on the trip, or try to enlist a local neighbor teen to at least be a “mother’s helper” and keep an eye on your baby while you unpack. At the least, trade off with your partner so that someone is in charge of playing and someone is in charge of unpacking.
8. Pack Your Patience.
Moving is stressful on everyone, from babies on up.
“Try to keep calm and maintain a sense of humor throughout,” Caiello said. “Before you know it, you’ll be settled in, ready to make the house your baby’s new home.”