Tips for Leaving Baby for an International Trip

by Megan MangiaracinoJan 08, 2020

Tips for Leaving Baby for an International Trip

Why does going to the grocery store alone feel like a vacation? It’s seriously a cathartic experience to just walk the aisles without tending to another being – who you deeply love. (Or is that just me?) When I learned that I was accompanying my husband on a five day international incentive trip, I was more overwhelmed than excited. It’s a luxury to go a few miles to the grocery store solo – a five day international trip without my kids? How was I going to prepare to leave my girls?

We get set in our routines; comfortable with the mundane chaos. Now I had to seamlessly shift that over to temporary caregivers in the hopes that my kids wouldn’t miss a beat and the caregivers wouldn’t be at a loss for anything. It’s been a mess in my head, attempting to sort through both digital and sticky note to-do lists, amidst diaper changes and tantrums. Here are some organized thoughts on how you can prepare to leave your baby/children for an international trip.

Find someone you trust to care for your child(ren) – or several someones.

Not everyone has family nearby or family willing to take on such a responsibility as this. We have generous neighbors, an aunt and uncle and a set of grandparents who are all pitching in for us. Between the three couples, we know they’re in great hands, in fact the girls will probably have a blast without us.

If you don’t have family or friends to take over the childcare, there are lots of caregiver resources available now. Assuming you have time to plan ahead for your trip, building a relationship with a caregiver before you leave is helpful for the kids and your peace of mind. Give them opportunities to spend time with your babes while you go out. Have you been on a date lately? Had a chance to just go do you? Now’s your chance! See how it goes and if each of you are jiving well together, set it up for your trip away.

Put together a schedule of care.

I have to give props to my husband for starting an impressively color-coded spreadsheet for us to clearly layout who was watching the kids and when. #hegetsme Keep it simple and clean, you can add more pertinent details outside the schedule. I made a folder for each caregiver including the schedule, bedtime routines, meal options and important phone numbers of medical providers and the other caregivers.

Sign a “Consent for Medical Treatment of Minors in Parent(s) Absence” form.

This is super important in the unlikely event that your babes have to visit their pediatrician, dentist or the emergency room. It allows you to grant temporary authority to your named caregiver(s) in your absence should your little one(s) need any medical attention while you’re unavailable to give parental consent. Here’s a template you can customize! Include this in the file folder, of course.

Consent-for-medical-treatment-for-minors-in-parents-absence

Stock up on home and snack staples.

If your caregiver is caring for your children in your home, go ahead and be sure you’ve got more than enough of the everyday items. Staples for us included: toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, diapers, wipes, kids’ favorite snacks and meals. Place them somewhere obvious, or have your caregiver come over to familiarize themselves with where you’re storing these staples. This gives you peace of mind and allows your caregiver(s) to focus on caring for your babes and not searching for obvious essentials.

If you’re breastfeeding…

At the time of this adventure, I am breastfeeding my littlest. Being a SAHM, I exclusively breastfeed and realized I had no bottles to leave her! This added to my anxiety because breastfeeding is both a blessing and a commitment. I had to figure out how I was going to A) bring myself to pump (because I hate it) and B) make time to pump.

I sought some guidance on it from fellow breastfeeders and a lactation consultant to calm my angst and set up a plan. Based on how much milk I thought she was consuming, I set a goal to have enough for the duration of my trip and divided that by how many days I had to pump before leaving which became my daily goal. (Among the usual goal of just surviving motherhood.) I’ll be honest, some days I didn’t pump for one reason or another, and other days I pumped more than I thought I could. I labeled each bottle with the pump date and stored in the back of my freezer and showed the caregivers. I also planned on pumping during my trip to maintain my supply, so I can continue giving her the benefits of breast milk when I return. #morepacking #worthit

Don’t forget to pack your own bag

Wait? I’m going somewhere? Oh that’s right… I should probably pack. I’m a list-maker, so I organized my packing needs and shopped online so I didn’t look like a milk-stained mess on vacation. It was definitely the last priority, but I had to be sure I gave myself a little time to gather all the toiletries and outfits. It’s harder to get what you need in another country, so don’t leave it too late!

It’s been hard letting my anxiety not get the best of me while preparing for this trip. I leaned on friends and family when I truly needed them and they were there for me, thankfully! Whether it was venting or asking for advice or asking them to babysit for a few hours so I could check-off more to-do’s, it helped having help. Seems obvious, but the point is asking for help can allow you to retain your composure, which in the end is what you need to accomplish really anything.

What’s the longest you’ve been away from your little ones? What did you do to prepare? Could you not leave soon enough or were your crying your way out the door and into the terminal? #babyboldly

Today’s Bold Momma

Natalie is co-founder of Baby Boldly, wife to James and mom to Abigail (4 years) and Mabel (1 year). Her passion (alongside pizza and chocolate) is with new moms and dads, striving to empower them for improved birth and postpartum experiences and changing the way society relates to new moms’ and dads’ unique needs.

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