Moving home is one of the most stressful things we must eventually do in life and its usually more than once. Then go throw a baby into the mix and you could be looking at mission impossible! There are many things one has to think about during this chaotic period. From dealing with estate agents, the packing and unpack of all our cherished possessions, organising removalists, to looking for a new school for the kids if necessary. We can’t always choose the most ideal time to move home. You just had a baby and now your house move is quickly approaching. Your life may seem like it’s one big blur at the minute, but honestly you can make moving with a newborn baby easier and a smooth transition for the whole family.
Here are a few tips to get you started. Juggling moving boxes and a crying baby at the same time is never going to be easy. But – rest assured – if millions of other parents can do it (without losing their minds), then so can you! To ensure a successful move, we recommend planning all your relocation logistics and baby-proofing a well ahead of time. Below, we have made a comprehensive list of strategies and tips to consider when moving with a baby or small children.
Before the Move:
Discuss the move with your little one
Apart from discussing your moving plans with your partner. If you have a have a toddler, as silly as it may sound make sure to talk to them about the upcoming move. Older babies understand more than they get credit for. It will help put them at ease, helping them know what to expect. Use simple words and make the move sound like an exciting adventure. Reading the children’s book “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day” Is another great idea to employ. As a parent do your best to remain calm during the moving process, as small children often pick up on their parents’ stressful emotions.
Create a Moving Calendar
To keep your head from spinning, it is best to plan your move 8 weeks out. This way you can take it day-by-day and get the satisfaction of checking off moving to-dos!
Chat to your current Paediatrician
Your paediatrician or child’s GP is a great resource. If you are travelling long distance, ask them for tips for keeping your baby happy on a plane or long car ride. If you need to find a new paediatrician, make sure you get a copy of all of your child’s medical records to give to your new paediatrician. Get copies of all your child’s prescriptions, if they are on medications and have them called into a pharmacy near your new home. Ask your current doctor for recommendations on how to find a new paediatrician close to your new home. Look to set up an initial consult with them soon after your move.
Box-up non-essentials first
Avoid wasted time hunting for dummies and baby toys by making sure that all of your baby’s non-essential belongings are neatly packed in boxes and labelled “Nursery / Babies room.” It is strongly recommend packing the essential the nursery items and all of your baby’s things toward the very end of your pack. Non-essentials include extra toys, blankets, clothes, and anything else you won’t need on the actual moving day or days shortly following.
Babies love Routine so try not to change it
Babies love and need their routine. Where possible consistency is key sticking to the same routine of feeding, naps and activities will help lessen any stress the move may have on your baby. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Avoid the all-nighter to pack, its best not to rush your pack and set goals to complete it over a set period. Save your sanity and use nap times and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in segments. Baby and parents need their sleep!
Infants are the least affected as long as almost everything is normal. Toddlers don’t fully understand the difference between a month and a minute, so just let them know that the family is moving soon and reassure them that they’re going to be moving with their family too. For interstate removal and long drives, be sure you have something to keep your kids busy with.
It can be hard to get into a regular routine in the first place so keeping to one despite the time of change and upheaval will make life easier for both you and your little one.
Pack the baby bag and keep it handy
As parents you know the daily drill: pack half the nursery to carry with you wherever you go! The baby bag (box or small suitcase) should include all of your needs for three days This includes all the essentials nappies, toys, food and clothes can be kept in here so you don’t end up frantically searching for your baby’s favourite cuddly to keep him quiet while you try to unpack. If you’re moving a long distance, you may need to pack a week to a month worth of supplies. The last thing you want to do is arrive and not have diapers when you need them.
If you’re hiring professional packagers and a moving company, you’ll be able to devote a lot more time to your baby. Just be sure to take care of things like furniture removal beforehand to lessen potential hassles when moving day comes. You might want to hire a babysitter for the day, so you can focus on the move, but if you can’t find one, designate one parent to be in charge of the kids and one in charge of the move.
Box-up baby essentials to take with you
Once packing your baby’s non-essentials, collect the essential items in one or two separate boxes or bags. These should be the items you’ll need during the moving process, and will want to take with you. To make your packing easier, we’ve included a checklist (below) of items to consider when boxing up your baby’s essential belongings:
- Clothing and pyjamas
- Some sort of high chair or bouncy seat to contain them for short periods of time
- Security blanket or favourite stuffed animal
- A few favourite toys
- Breast pump and breast-feeding pillow
- Formula, juice and/or food
- Cooler if needed for breast milk and formula
- Sippy cups
- Extra pacifiers
- Stroller and carrier
- Bath items
- Car seat
- Extra bags for dirty diapers and messy clothes
- Any medications you may need
- First aid kit and thermometer
Make sure to have plenty of extra bottles and snacks at the ready. Keep your child preoccupied as possible with an arsenal of tricks: a new toy, activities, extra boxes to play with, even an Ipad with cartoons will do.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you can get a relative or friend to look after your little one on the day of the move, it will greatly reduce the pressure on you and the day won’t be as tiresome.
With a move, you’re going to need every extra set of hands on board – plus your own. Its highly recommended to hire a babysitter or call on family members or a friend to watch your baby during the move – whether at your old home, new home or theirs. While sleepy newborns may be easy to contain, those curious toddlers are bound to be crawling or running all over the place.
If you child is enrolled in childcare, another option is to have them to attend if possible, on your moving day. When boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else and out of potential danger. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so that you can get more done on your moving calendar.
Its also recommended to hire professional movers and packers/ unpackers or if the budget is tight enlisting friends to assist you move. This way you can focus on your child – and not on the location of furniture and where boxes should be placed. Enlisting movers and importantly professional organisers will save you tons of time, and stress and will help keep your daily schedule of feedings, naps, and play times on track.
On Moving in:
Baby Proof the New Home
Before you start unpacking everything, take the time to baby proof your new home. It’s much easier to do this when you don’t have anything in the house than when the home is full of things. AS you unpack, make sure to secure furniture and other items that could cause a hazard to your newborn.
Make sure to remove any potentially dangerous packing materials from the home. I also recommend cleaning the home extensively before officially moving in. Some noteworthy suggestions include:
The first step to a safe home, say the experts, is to look at the world through your baby’s eyes. See what looks interesting and what can be reached. And I mean it literally ― get down on your hands and knees in your new home and check for small things your baby can choke on. You will be amazed at what you discover! A rule of thumb when questioning a choking hazard. If it fits completely into the roll, don’t let children under 3 play with it.
- Use child-resistant locks on drawers containing matches, lighters, knives and cleaning products.
- Use safety gates to block stairways and dangerous areas.
- Keep small objects like marbles, magnets, balloons and balls away from children.
- Secure windows with window guards.
- Secure furniture to avoid tip-overs.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms – make sure to change the batteries once a year.
- Be aware of cords on blinds and window treatments, and make sure to keep cribs away from these choking hazards.
- Cover electrical outlets with outlet covers.
Mindful unpacking – Make sure all medicine and prescription cabinets are protected with child-proof locks. Vitamins, cleaning products, pet food, alcohol, poisonous plants, and chemicals (like paint, gasoline, etc.) and store them high out of your baby’s reach.
Additionally, keep potentially dangerous objects and moving supplies, such as scissors, cleaning supplies, and furniture with sharp edges, away from your child on moving day.
Keep one room free of clutter
Make sure to keep one room free of boxes and other moving chaos for the babies naps! This make keeping to a routine much easier, as you can easily keep the babies nap times without having to wade through a sea of boxes in search of their cot!
Unpack the Nursery First
If you label your boxes and you pack the truck properly, you can unload and unpack the baby stuff first. Once moved in you should also set up the nursery first. This will allow you to change your baby and easily put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery.
Nursery Layout & Crib Safety
Where possible try and plan out babies room exactly the same as in our old house. Familiar toys and mobile were all laid out along with his light show to ensure our little one’s new environment was as much like his old one as possible. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.
When setting up a new crib or reassembling your crib look for the following suffocation and strangulation hazards:
- Sharp or jagged edges
- Missing, broken or loose parts
- Loose hardware
- Cut out designs in the headboard or footboard
- Ensure Crib slats are not too widely set apart
- Gaps larger than 2 fingers width between the sides of the crib and the mattress
- Drop side latches that could be easily released by your baby
Watch out for soft bedding as it can suffocate a baby, blocking the baby’s airway during sleep. Babies can easily suffocate when their faces become wedged against or buried in a mattress, pillow or other soft objects as toys. Use a safe crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress covered with a crib sheet and nothing else in it. To keep your baby warm, use a sleep suit and not loose blankets
Make use of a play pen or porta cot
If you don’t have one get one or borrow one. This was invaluable when we moved as we put all his favourite toys in it so he could keep himself entertained while we tried to make the rest of the house less like a bomb site and more like a home!
Once you have made the move your little one/s may continue to be a little touchy after resettling into their new surroundings, so make some extra time for the family. Stay in and chill and get your family use to the new joint. Don’t do anything too adventurous over the next couple of weeks and try to take a few days off work post-move to increase a sense of security.
If you really want to make the move with your newborn baby smoother nothing will compare to putting your move in the hands of professional home organisers like Mooving Matters. Hiring a skilled residential moving company definitely will make moving easier. Mooving matters are able to pack and unpack your things for you as well as provide interior styling services to make your new house a home.
Follow these strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to making the new house a safe and happy home for your baby. Best of luck!
To arrange a complementary on-site inspection of your packing tasks by Mooving Matters, your home organiser Sydney or to simply discuss our ‘Ultimate full service packing + moving’ experience call (02) 93375333 or visit us at moovingmatters.com.au.