Moving with a Baby: 5 Tips from a Serial Mover



Everybody loves moving, right? Oh, come on, sure you do! It’s expensive, physically draining, and somehow always ends up happening on a 100 degree day. It’s a ball.

All right, no one likes moving, but we’ve all done it, and chances are you’re going to do it again . . . probably with a kid or two. In an effort to save your sanity, I’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you move homes with littles in tow. I consider myself qualified to offer this advice because my husband and I have moved five times in six years. Five in six, people. We’ve moved between apartments in Washington D.C. with no movers or dollies and only tiny freight elevators to help us; we’ve moved across the country; we’ve moved into a house that we never saw until moving day, and most recently we’ve moved twice in one year with a baby. So you see, what I should be doing is offering consulting services for a fee, but instead I decided to give you this handy list for free. I do this in hopes that you’ll never ask me for physical help during your next move. Thank you in advance.

1) Talk it up!

As soon as you hear those magical words, “offer accepted,” start talking about the new home to your child. Even if he or she is tiny and you’re positive the only thought in his or her head is “give me something I can gnaw on,” it will start to sink in on some level. Gabber constantly about the new room, new yard, or whatever feature of the home you think he will enjoy the most. Then, by the time you walk through those doors and exclaim, “Look at your new room,” it won’t be a completely foreign idea to her. Your tot may not wholly comprehend the situation, of course, but the familiar phrases will link to a new place, and he or she will feel more comfortable.

2) Enlist their “help”

Clearly babies are absolutely no help while packing – in fact, they’re the opposite. I’m pretty sure my 13 month old unpacked a few of my boxes, but let’s make them feel like they’re helping, okay? Playing with a box or wrapping paper is a fun, new activity, and most important it involves them in the process and ensures moving day won’t be a total shock. If you pack everything up while they’re asleep or out of the house, they won’t have time to get used to the idea. All of a sudden, their toys are in boxes, and then you’re plopping them down in the middle of a new living room that doesn’t look a thing like the only one they’ve known their entire lives. So give it a try (even if it’s not very productive) and pack at a least a few boxes in front of them so they can see the entire process, step by step.

3) Out with the old, in with the new.

One of the best things I did with our most recent move was to leave old practices behind with the old house. For instance, we had been clinging to our changing table even though my daughter is over a year old because it was convenient and functional. We never took our hands off of her while she was on it, of course, but she was well past the age of using one for safety reasons. The move was a perfect excuse to finally expel it from her room. It didn’t even make it into the house and is now in the garage waiting for its future occupant. On the other side of that coin, be careful not to make too many changes. The move is a huge transition for your little one. You don’t want to make his or her life at home completely unfamiliar. For example, I considered storing the glider as well, but we still use it from time to time (especially before naps or bedtime). What’s most important is that she sees familiar things in the room when she lays her head down those first few nights.

4) “Top boxes.”

My Top Boxes, a.k.a. my most important boxes, are the open first, food, and toy boxes. I would suggest making these a priority. If you’re able, take them with you in your car instead of giving them to the movers. Basically, you want to be able to find them first and quickly. In the open first box, include things you’ll need to make it through the first day/night, i.e. –  sheets, shower curtains, soap, trash bags, paper plates and utensils, etc. In your food box (which is hopefully a cooler), pack enough meals, snacks, and milk to last at least 24 hours. Last, the toy box is pretty straightforward. I suggest a fun, decorated box (because I know you have tons of extra time) filled with familiar toys, a new toy to celebrate the new house, and a large quilt or mat to spread out. An indoor toy picnic is always a hit.

5) Baby’s room first.

Normally, the general rule of unpacking is attack the kitchen first, but thanks to your food and open first boxes that can wait. I strongly suggest setting up your child’s room first – come nap or bedtime that first day, you’ll be glad you did. You don’t have to completely unpack of course, but make sure the crib, monitor, and diaper situation (if you roll with the cloth) is your first priority after walking through the door.

Those are my tips for moving with a baby. Have you moved with a baby recently? What are your nuggets of wisdom?

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Hayley was born in Fort Worth and raised in the small, nearby town of Bridgeport. She married her husband, Derric, in 2009 and before settling back in Fort Worth, they made stops in Washington D.C., Dallas, and San Antonio. Isabelle Story arrived in 2014, and Hayley is lucky enough to spend her days at home with her precious girl . . . although they’re rarely actually at home as Isabelle likes to see and be seen. Apart from her family, books are Hayley’s passion. She is an avid reader and her lifelong dream is to write a novel. If she isn’t chasing Isabelle or stuck in a book, you can find her exploring this city she adores, trying new restaurants with Derric, doling out reading recommendations, running at a local park (in bad form), at Kyle Field watching her beloved Aggies, or making irresponsible decisions at a local Half Price Books.


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