“Would you and Alex like to go to Vegas with us in the spring?” This is how the conversation started. As a mom my first thought was “But how?” How can I leave baby overnight that many nights in a row? I guess I had never even thought about vacationing without our son but when the opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t say no. A whole week in Vegas with some of our best friends!
Once we sat down and figured out the how, I went into mom mode. I checked all the boxes to make sure him and I would be comfortable for the time we were away.
Making the Decision is the Easy Part
Once you decide that you are leaving your little one for the first time overnight for whatever reason that is; to deliver baby two, vacation, or an extra long date night, that’s the easy part. It’s the next part that is hard, the planning. As mothers we will go through every. single. possible. scenario and worry ourselves to death. So, to help with the worry I’ve decided to share with you what I did to prepare for 7 days away from our son.
Leaving Baby Overnight Takes Lots of Planning!
Whether you are leaving baby for one night or a week it takes planning. Some of that planning was obvious for me like clothes, formula, etc. But once I started going through every scenario I needed to prepare for, THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE!
If you are going to be leaving your baby overnight these are the basis I covered and I recommend you cover to make your time away as worry-free as it can be:
- Make a schedule for while you’re away.
- Pack their bag.
- Prepare food for your time away.
- Prepare for an emergency.
Schedules Are a Moms Best Friend
It doesn’t matter if we are at home or 2,000 miles away, there is something about a schedule that gives us a sense of calm (or is that just me, I think other moms are like this haha). So when we made the choice to leave, the first thing I did was sit down and write schedules. I wrote schedules for:
- his day
- and when I would be able to call and talk to him each day.
Meals are a huge part of a child’s day. To write the schedule for meals try answering these questions:
- When will your child eat? Do you have a really strict time for each meal or do you have a general time for each meal?
- Where will your child eat? Do they eat in a high chair for meals and bottles? Do they take a bottle to bed or wake up with one?
- What will they eat or NOT eat? Did you prepare food for them? Does the person who is keeping them need to cook? If so, what foods do they like or not like? Are they allergic to anything?
It seems like a lot of questions but once it’s wrote out it doesn’t look nearly as complicated.
For us the schedule looked like this.
If you wrote out the major events of your day, what would that look like? From the time your child gets up till they go to bed there are things that are the same most days. When they eat, when they nap, when they go to bed. Now, we are pretty casual parents so my son doesn’t have an exact time for each of these things but there is a round about time for most of them.
When you go to write this schedule just think about if you were watching someones child what information would you need to get through the day and overnight.
- wake up time
- meal times
- nap times
- bedtime and routine
- when will you be able to call (is there a time difference?)
It doesn’t have to be super extensive, just enough that your child’s day looks pretty normal and all the major questions are answered.
What’s In the Barney Bag?
When you decided to leave your baby for the first time overnight, if you are anything like me then you immediately go to ‘the bag.‘ What clothes, shoes, diapers, formula, etc. will they need for an overnight away? This is a huge part of planning especially if your child will be staying outside of your home while you are gone.
A quick check list of things that I went through were:
- clothes, at least one outfit a day. Then pack a few extra.
- pajamas, again what you normal use plus at least one extra.
- diapers (average how many and then throw in extras)
- a towel
- any medications they might need
- any comforts of home. My son hasn’t attached to anything yet but you might want to include a blankie or Teddy if they use one.
- formula or breast milk ( I will talk more about this in food prepping).
Food, Prep or Not to Prep?
In our household we food prep every week, so when we decided to go on this vacation I knew I would do the same for our son before we left. By food prepping the grandparents had less to worry about and I also knew what my son was eating while I was away. If you don’t have the time or if you simply do not want to food prep then I would suggest writing a list of foods your child does like for whomever is keeping them while you’re away.
If you would like to food prep, then the next bit is for you.
To food prep you have to decide:
- What your child will eat while you are away?
- What will keep well?
- How will you store it?
I knew my son loved all of these foods and each meal was healthy and easy to make. I decided to make the following menu for the week:
Breakfast: fruit and banana pancakes
Lunch: Mac & cheese, cheddar, broccoli bites
Dinner: Quesadillas and peppers
For each day there was a bag with the day of the week and how to heat or prep the meal.
Once it was all prepped I tossed it all in one giant bag and put it in the freezer. All the foods would keep in the freezer and the grandparents had to just pull out the meals for that day and heat when needed.
All of this probably only took an hour or so and the grandparents didn’t have to worry about cooking or what he could or couldn’t have.
Along with food you will also need to portion out breast milk or formula for your time away. We used formula so I did enough for 3-8 oz bottles a day and three or four extra bottles just in case they were needed.
(If your baby is still on puree foods read my post on meal prepping purees)
Of all the things that we did to prepare to leave our son this is the thing that made me feel the most at peace, the In Case of Emergency Envelope.
There were so many scary scenarios that went through my head leading up to our trip. What if he got hurt, or sick or if he was in an accident? As moms we worry and this small envelope helped me ease those worries.
Before we left we made a special envelope that had anything the grandparents would need in case of an emergency. I included information they would need and things they night not remember in the moment. Here is what we included in the envelope:
- letter with permission to treat
- an insurance card
- all the information they would need to admit him to a hospital
Permission to treat
As we prepared to leave him overnight for a whole week this I googled what to include in a letter to give permission to someone other than the parents, to treat a child. The letter read something like this,
We (your and your partners name),
Give permission to (name of person who will have your child) to make any and all medical decisions on behalf of (your child’s name) while we are away.
(Yours and your partner’s printed name and signature.)
Time is crucial in some situations and having written permission to treat can speed things up. (Also, I am by no means a lawyer or professional in any way. This is just the information I used and I can’t confirm this is legally correct).
This was a duh moment when I read this online. I NEVER thought to leave an insurance card just in case. If you have an extra copy this is a huge must have for anyone keeping your child while you are away.
ANY and ALL information they would need
On a simple piece of paper I wrote any and all important information they would need in case of an emergency.
- Pediatrician’s name, phone numbers and location
- your child’s social security number (we don’t normally write this down but this envelope was kept locked up unless needed while we were gone)
- any known allergies
- date of birth (grandparents know this but in an emergency maybe not)
- any medications that are being taken daily
- parents names and date of birth
- contact information for parents
Once all of this was together I stuck it in a normal envelope. I told his grandparents to keep it somewhere safe but accessible. This way if something happened they could just hand all the information to whoever needed. All the information they could need was in one simple envelope. They wouldn’t have to think or worry about anything if God forbid something would happen that they would have it.
Now, Enjoy Yourselves!
After, you have checked all the boxes and packed everything thing they’ll need, enjoy yourselves. I know this is hard and not everyone will agree with me, that time away is needed but I think it is. My husband and I had a great time and to my surprise I didn’t worry as much as I thought I would. I knew my son was in good hands and that I had made his days as normal as I could.
Have you ever taken a vacation without your child or had to leave your little one for an extended amount of time? What would you add to this list of things to do before you leave?