We are back from yet another campervan trip with our daughter. Mia turned 7 months two days before our journey began and we spent two weeks on the road in France. Travelling with a crawling baby is a fairly different experience than travelling with a rolling 4-months-old baby in the sleep regression (you can read about it here Link), so I decided to combine my thoughts and impressions in a new blog post.
To sum up, in my opinion, this trip was much easier and much more relaxed than the earlier one. I tend to think that this was because the sleep behavior of our baby has improved and became significantly more predictable. Mia slept 2-3 times a day and her two first sleeps were over an hour. The nights were always ok. Besides, she managed riding a car without crying and was generally more calm and happy than in the age of 4-5 months.
However, this trip also offered some age-related challenges to overcome and here they are:
-Mia was teething (two first lower teeth were breaking through) during the whole trip;
– She had a running nose for the first week, which heavily affected her (and mine) sleep (hello, 3-7 wakings during the night);
– Since 2 months we have introduced solids, so we had to figure out how to feed Mia on the go without access to the warm self-made meal she got used to at home;
– Mia began to crawl very quickly but didn’t react to the “stop” words and didn’t understand the concept of an edge;
– The weather was rather wet and not as warm, so the ground was mostly wet and dirty = not the best condition for crawling;
– Mia was tempted to put absolutely everything in her mouth or lick it: stones, mud, sand, grass.
My husband and I managed these challenges successfully, together as a team (as usual; there is no other way as there are three of us in the boat, well, campervan). Here are some tips if you follow our steps and go on a trip with a baby who starts to crawl.
If you travel in a country, where the weather implies rainy or wet days, pack a set (or better, two) of waterproof pants, socks and jacket for crawling in the mud, sand, outside at wet or rainy weather. I didn’t expect Mia to start crawling so intense during this trip and was not prepared for the wet grass outside, so I didn’t have any of these items with us.
Even if you are going to a country where not much rain is expected, pack more pants than bodies: they will get dirty in a moment. Generally, your baby’s (and your) clothes WILL become dirty, so take enough spare clothes and pack some laundry detergent. We had to buy some socks and pants on your trip (thank you, French Auchan, for the big choice of baby clothes for an affordable price).
During this trip I understood the meaning of worn out pants and socks: Mia was crawling absolutely everywhere, on the sand, on the artificial lawn, on the playground, on the stones (it should have been painful for her tender skin on her knees, no?). Anyway, better to have holes on the pants than bruises on the legs, right?
Baby’s meal plan
Think about your baby’s (warm) meal plan in advance. We have bought some French jarred baby food (Auchan, for example, has a huge choice). Unfortunate, we ran out of gas as at the beginning of the trip we didn’t check the level of it. Thus, warming up Mia’s food implied creativity. I started doing so in a kettle, but as soon as I crushed the electricity point of access at our pitch, when warming up Mia’s porridge in a kettle in a glass, I switched to a pot with hot water.
Feeding your baby is another challenge. Probably, at home you have a proper feeding chair, but do you have one on the road? We were feeding Mia in a lounger or in a buggy. That worked just fine.
Besides, we took a portable textile chair with us (you can check Amazon for our model (Link) or another one recommended by a friend of mine – Link), but as we only had two chairs in our campervan, Mia didn’t get a chance to sit independently.
Sleeping and napping
Napping schedule was easier this time as well. Opposite to the last campervan travel, when Mia was napping for 30 minutes while nursing every 1,5-2 hours, this time she had 2-3 solid naps a day and managed to stay awake for 2,5-3 hours in-between. That made our driving planning easier and the camping life more relaxed.
For the naps and for the night sleep we blackened out our campervan, but not as meticulously as the last time.
We applied sleep rituals and took her sleepy toy with us, so bringing Mia to bed worked almost without problems if timed correctly. Riding a car was easy as well (we mostly combined it with Mia’s sleep phases).
Our campervan doesn’t have dedicated space for a crib and during the previous trip Mia was sleeping on the same surface as us. As she moves a lot in her sleep and my priority was not to wake her up during the night at any price, I ended up sleeping the whole night on my one side and woke up with pains in my back and my arm. Besides, Mia could start crawling at night if she wakes up and occasionally falls down from the bed. That’s why for this trip we decided that Mia needs her dedicated “space” and used a big IKEA box (this one: Link) for securing her (and my) sleep.
Actually, my husband and I went to bed later than Mia, who was sleeping on the “ground floor”, and cuddled on the “upper floor”, and after the first cry for food I went downstairs and slept the rest of the night with Mia.
City trips with the baby
Our city trips consisted of sightseeing with a buggy (a huge progress for Mia, who hated being in a stroller since she was 2,5 months old) combined with a visit to a playground or any meadow where Mia could power herself out. The baby carrier (we switched to the one where you can have your baby facing forward as an option) was packed as a backup. Generally, be prepared to spend a lot of time on the floor/ground with your baby securing her if she starts pulling herself up and consequently falling on her back or if she puts something inappropriate in her mouth. Mia eating sand, stones, earth, plants, etc., required our constant attention.
We were also very happy that we have chosen to take a lightweight foldable buggy on this trip. I was checking many options and we bought a secondhand Joie Pact Lite (5kg, folded the hand luggage size) in a rush the day before our trip began. Until now, we’re very happy with our choice. The only disadvantage is that we cannot fix our baby car seat on this buggy directly, so we have to use our phantasy and engineering skills when moving from A to B without a car.
During this trip, Mia has shown more attention to what’s happening outside and a lot of interest towards animals and birds. Mia was chasing cats, dogs and chicken with excitement. Besides, she was showing more interest in other babies and made attempts to communicate and to establish physical contact. Allowing for this was difficult, considering the current Corona situation. Nevertheless, some contacts were made observing social distancing.
P.S.: The list of medicine items and creams was almost 1:1 identical to the previous trip (Link), we only added a baby toothbrush and toothpaste on the road as Mia started teething.