Moving across the US with two babies
by Kimberly Huebner
The last few months have been a blur. Uprooting our family of four plus our trusty dog from Denver, CO to Cincinnati, OH has had its benefits and downfalls. One may say we took a tumble down the mountains of Colorado and popped right back in the mole holes of Ohio.
My husband Ben and I have been together since undergrad when we met on a cruise ship during Spring Break (that’s a fun story we can explore another time). Ben took me from undergrad on the West Coast to Omaha, NE where he began his medical journey. Love can lead you places you never thought you’d go, folks.
After four years of med school, his training to become a surgeon began in Cincinnati, OH. In a surprise turn of events we moved to Denver, CO mid-training for Ben to conduct trauma research…I was 8 months pregnant at the time. We welcomed not one but TWO babies in Denver during those two years, while surrounded by many family members from my husband’s side.
This time we'll be moving with an almost two-year-old boy and a four-month-old baby girl. Oh my!!
Huebner family in front of our home in Cincinnati two days after the move.
Now this wasn’t our first road trip with a baby in tow. My husband and I logged around 5,000 miles with our son in April - May 2016 on a National Parks Tour, so I like to think I learned how to survive long periods of time in the car with a baby.
And so it began… My husband had the luxury of riding in our U-Haul with his brother. Adult music, no crying, and less frequent stops…Sounds like a vacation to me.
My angel of a mother decided to cram into my Subaru with two babies and everything that entails for the three-day trek, while my always-loyal stepfather followed us in his Suburban pulling a trailer that acted as my personal breastfeeding mobile along the way. Oh, and he had the company of our dog plus their own two pups. When you look up caravan in the dictionary we would be the shining example.
I have to admit, I was very spoiled having my mother along for this car ride. She allowed me to drive the whole time while she tended to my children. Luckily my mother is quite agile for her age - there was quite a lot of moving back and forth from the front seat to the tiny sliver of a middle seat left in between the two car seats.
By day three we were road trip pros…or maybe we just thought we were because we hadn’t driven off a cliff …either way here are some tricks of the trade!
Rules of the Road Trip: The Mom Edition
- Have all the necessities on hand – DIAPERS, WIPES, BURP RAGS, CHANGE OF CLOTHES!!! My first stroke of genius hit me the night before our move. I filled up my trusty diaper caddy from The Good Baby with all of the essentials. This caddy saved us too many times to count. From blow-outs to spouts of car sickness, we were ready. The caddy is small enough to fit in between the front seat and the back seat but still big enough to hold everything we needed in a well organized manner. It also made all of our needs easily mobile for rest stops and trailer stops.
- New toys, new snacks, new games – Imagine how bored you get on a road trip. Combine that feeling with a toddler’s energy and attention span…This equals one easily agitated little human! Have a go-to bag of things your little one hasn’t tried yet to liven things up on the road a bit (i.e. holiday-themed stickers, a fun low-choking hazard new snack, I Spy).
- Don’t leave anything on top of your car, EVER – My husband and I learned this the hard way on our epic NP road trip… we lost Keen sandals, a sunshade for our Kelty backpack, and more. Guess who followed her own advice and didn’t lose anything to the highway during our move… this savvy Mama!
- For goodness sake, use the iPad – I am all about limiting screen time. Before having children I was one of those people that said, “I will never shove an iPad in my child’s face to distract them.” Fast forward two years later and I have the iPad locked and loaded with all my son’s mind-numbing favorites and guess what? It saved us from blowing our brains out multiple times.
- Set a realistic intention for each leg of the trip – The most important thing is arriving to your destination safely. Although you may have mapped out three days, it may take four. Re-evaluate each day based on the amount of sleep everyone got the night before, weather conditions, and your general sanity. I can’t tell you how many times Priceline saved us on the road when we needed a decent hotel quickly in an area we knew nothing about.
Amelia freshly changed using The Good Baby diaper caddy on the road during our most recent road trip this October.
Thanks to some solid preparations, useful tools, and what I believe to be spectacularly, well-adjusted kiddos we made it peacefully to the Queen City. Now the real test of surviving will be raising two little ones with no extended family around and a father who is chained to the hospital!
As some of you may know, Sam and I have twin two year olds (Ava and Eleanor) and a two month-old (Greta).
Ava and Eleanor were pretty fussy babies (or maybe it was just that there were two of them). Either way, it lit a fire under us to quickly learn how to calm them before it got out of hand.
Same goes for Greta now. With 3 kids that are constantly needing something, we need a few things ready to try to help calm Greta down before one of the twins hits the other and a single fuss turns into a trifecta of meltdowns. It's all a juggling act, isn't it mommas?
I have made a list of the 10 things Sam and I always try when we have a potential newborn meltdown situation.
I am getting the easy ones out of the way. I usually try this one first. The sucking reflex is extremely relaxing for newborns. If it’s been over an hour since baby last ate, she could be cluster feeding or going through a growth spurt. Either way, feed that sweet baby!
- Diaper change
Another easy one. Sometimes I will change Greta even if she’s not too wet. Something could be uncomfortable - the straps could be rubbing, the lining could be riding, etc.
- Skin to skin contact
I personally love this one! Strip baby down, take your shirt off, lay baby on your chest, and put a blanket over the two of you. It’s so great for your milk production, your heart, and your baby’s connection with you. Babies and parents LOVE a good skin to skin session.
Another favorite of mine that works so well! Get a velcro swaddle and swaddle baby’s arms to his sides, super tight! Most babies will LOVE this. Bonus tip: sometimes we incorporate the “double swaddle.” Use a traditional swaddle with a lightweight blanket, then “double swaddle” with a velcro swaddle over the top.
I don't know what it is, but taking sweet baby Greta outside almost always makes her stop crying! Maybe it’s the sun shining in her eyes that takes her by surprise, or the wind that gently blows across her face that kind of 'wakes' her up. But ALWAYS try this one!
- Bicycle kicks
Sometimes babies get gassy. Holding his feet and pushing his legs like he is riding a bike can help pass some gas he may be holding in. Lovely thing it is being a mommy :)
This is my husband’s go-to. Even if it's been an hour since eating, he will pat the baby’s back until something happens. And usually it does. I think it’s a sympathy maneuver for Sam ;)
- Stroller or car ride
This was our “go-to” for our twins. When I was home alone with Ava and Eleanor and I couldn't hold them both, I would put them in the double stroller and push them around the block. When the weather didn’t cooperate, I pushed them around our house (desperate times!). Car rides are great to try, too! But sometimes the screaming baby in the back makes for a super-stressed driver.
- White noise
Get a white noise machine! Just do it. Or you can turn the vacuum on and stand right next to it. Or download a (free!) white noise app on your phone. If none of these are at your disposal, try putting your mouth right by your baby’s ear and shushing.
- Walk around
I never stopped walking when the twins were newborns (okay, I still don’t). They HATED when I would sit down. Especially when about 6:00 pm hit. I would just walk circles around the island in my kitchen.
There have been times where I have tried every single one of these and finally something works. It's all trial and error until they can communicate!
Guys, you are doing so great! Mommin' (and Daddin’) ain't easy. If you are reading how to help your baby, you are probably already doing a really awesome job.