It's Guest Blog Time!
Our first real pack out was from our apartment in NYC to Guyana. Even though we had technically PCS'd from DC to NYC, that move didn't feel that difficult at the time. I will never forget the week we got our assignment to G'Town. We submitted the bid on Monday, were paneled on Wednesday and by Friday we were accepting it. The tricky part, we weren't supposed to be leaving NYC for at least a year or longer but that's a story for another time.
On top of the unexpected assignment to Guyana with less than a month to pull it all together, we were new parents with a two month old. We didn't know what we were doing and suddenly we were saying goodbye to our first parent village. If there was ever a time to live in denial about a pending move, I was making it a profession. One of the hardest parts for parents each time they move is finding all the resources they need. When I met Lindsay of babycito and heard that their business connects parents with local service providers, my first thought was how all of our families that PCS to the DMV could benefit. This month we are honored to feature Lindsay and Amy from babycito to share their tips of moving with little ones.
Guest Blog by babycito
PCSing can be a daunting, challenging task. Add a baby or toddler and the process is intensified 10-fold. We know from personal experience! We also know that with some additional planning and organization, you can make your family’s transition a little easier. Here are some tips that we found helpful when moving with babies and toddlers:
Having a new baby can be isolating. Having a new baby in a new place presents additional challenges. Set yourself up for success by identifying groups and fellow parents that you can connect with. As soon as you learn of your next station or location, join Facebook or other virtual mom, dad, parent, or family groups local to your new area.
Introduce yourself and ask questions like recommendations for daycare centers, medical providers, playdate groups, and more. By connecting as soon as you learn about your move, you’ll set yourself up for greater success as you’re settling in. You may even identify some new family friends to meet up with once you’re settled! Here are some examples of Facebook groups we’d recommend joining in the Northern Virginia area:
Here are some examples of other virtual or in-person parent groups in the NOVA area that are wonderful for building connection with other local parents and meeting new friends for your babies and/or child(ren):
FIT4MOM: Workouts for any age and stage of motherhood
The Fatherhood Circle: Guided groups helping dads get the most out of fatherhood so they can give their best to their families
Pack Essentials Separately
Pack a separate bag or box with all the essential items your baby or toddler will need as you settle into your new home. Include items such as diapers, wipes, formula or baby food, bottles, clothing, bedding, and any comfort items your baby relies on.
Amy’s Experience: When my husband and I PCS’d from Colorado to Maryland we had all our belongings moved to storage and lived in temporary housing until we found a permanent place to live. Molly, my daughter, was four months old so we needed to be really thoughtful about the essentials, especially because we weren’t sure how long we were going to be in temporary housing. The most important items for our family were a travel bassinet, clothes that would fit her for the next 2-3 months, and bottles. Though this did not apply to us, some families might consider bringing specialty formula and/or medicine your baby needs that may not be easy to find.
DIPLODASH® PACK-OUT TIP
Dedicate one of your checked suitcases to only toys, gear and necessities for baby. Don't forget to use some space in UAB for baby too!
During the moving process, try to stick to your baby's usual routines as much as possible. Familiarity and consistency will help provide a sense of stability amidst the changes. Plan out your days, especially travel and moving days, to figure out when and where might work for routine tasks such as feeding or naps.
Consider items that can make it easier to stick to routines regardless of where you are:
Travel sound machine: Drown out the noise of your surroundings so baby is less distracted and can focus on rest.
Baby carrier: Baby carriers (Ergobaby, Baby bjorn, etc.) provide baby with a sense of security as they are close to their caregiver. They offer a great solution for naps on the go.
Portable high chair seat: Make on-the-move feedings easier with high chair seat you can attach to a chair or table.
Pack Up Baby/Toddler/Childrens’ Bedrooms Last and Unpack Them First
While this tip may be more important for toddlers and children, it’s a tip we felt was important to include. Children’s bedrooms can provide a sense of comfort and security. Try to leave as much intact in their current room as possible until moving day. Living in a room that’s even slightly packed or changed can add to children's stress or uncertain feelings related to this transition.
On the other end of the move, unpack and set up your baby, toddler and or child’s room first. Involve them in the process if they are old enough and make a big deal out of their cool new space. If possible, add some new decorative touches, toys, or accessories. Getting them excited about their new room will help them to find comfort in their new surroundings.
Lindsay’s Experience: We moved with our daughter when she was 21-months-old and I was 4 months pregnant with our second. We loved the home we were in and our neighborhood so it made the move extra difficult and emotional (this is when we lived 3 houses down from Amy and her family!). However, we needed more space as we were growing our family so we had to make a change.
We maintained Millie’s current bedroom set up until the day before the movers arrived. I emptied her dresser drawers and packed her closet, but left most of what she normally saw in her room in place. The morning of moving day, I went through her room like a tornado and managed to get all the remaining items into boxes or bags, ready to go. In our new home, we set up Millie’s room right away. We got her crib up, complete with her favorite stuffies and of course her “pinkies” (her must-have lovey). We added some fun, multicolored polka dot stickers to one wall. Additionally, we got a small pop-up castle tent and painted part of one wall with chalkboard paint. She loved these new touches and they helped draw her into her new space. She was so happy being in her new room and this made us feel more at peace with the move!
DIPLODASH® PACK-OUT TIP
Let your older kids help pick what special items go into the suitcases and UAB. Small decorative items like string lights, decals, duvet covers can brighten a room and don't add much weight.
Moving with babies and kids is extra challenging because in addition to all the concerns about the move (packing everything, finding a new home, settling in in your new location, finding new friends, etc.) you worry about your babies and how they will adjust. The good news is babies are mostly blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the change, and toddlers/children are more resilient than we realize. With some extra patience, planning, and attention to detail, you can help ensure a smoother transition for you and your family as you PCS. And, if you’re PCSing to the Northern Virginia area, reach out to us a babycito and we’ll be happy to support you and set you up with all the providers you’ll need.
Wherever you’re coming from and wherever you’re going to, you got this!
babycito is an inclusive, online community designed to connect parents and caregivers with family support service providers in Northern Virginia. We educate parents about essential family support services and provide them with referrals to trusted, local providers.
At babycito, we believe that all constellations of families should be empowered with knowledge and resources to access the services they need.
Our core values are:
Inclusion: We serve all constellations of families and include a variety of providers to meet each family's unique needs.
Education: We provide a service guide as well as service planning consultations so families are aware of what's available and are prepared when they need support.
Access: Our cash fund registry offers families the option to register for services, providing them with greater access to services thanks to contributions from friends and family.