As well as considering your baby’s health and safety before travelling with them, you should also think about your own readiness to travel, whether that be a long road trip to see family or a getaway abroad. There is no hard-and-fast rule about when you can start travelling with a baby. It is mostly down to whether you feel well enough for a long-haul journey. Recovery time after childbirth varies from mother to mother. You might feel well enough to travel in a week or two, but for some it can take months before they are ready to brave the world outside their newborn bubble. If you had birth complications or a c-section, your recovery time is likely to be longer. If you feel well enough, but unsure if it is sensible to travel, be sure to consult your doctor.
By Car: The safest thing to do is wait 6 weeks after you give birth before you start driving. However, if you don’t experience dizziness or excess bleeding you can try short journeys after a couple of weeks. If you have had a caesarean, you should always wait at least 6 weeks to recover before driving. You have had a major surgical procedure after all, and one that will impair your stomach muscles; muscles that are important when it comes to performing an emergency stop, so if your ability to do this is compromised, it would be unsafe to drive until you can do this comfortably. You should also note that you won’t be able to lift a car seat into the car straight after a c-section, as experts recommend you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks. This is where a Snugglebundl also comes in extremely handy, because it allows you to lift your little one out of their car seat without having to awkwardly bend down and lift your baby or take the car seat out of the car.
If you do not have a car to travel home in after you give birth, a taxi is the next best thing, but be aware that hospital policies also insist you have a car seat for your baby to go home in a taxi.
By Plane: If you have had a c-section, you should wait until after your 6-week postpartum check-up before taking a flight. When travelling by plane, it is important to remember that the high air pressure conditions on a flight can put you at high risk of blood clots due to pregnancy and this risk can persist for up to 8 weeks after you give birth. Most airlines will let you fly before this 6-to-8-week period, so you should consult with your doctor to determine whether it is safe for you to fly before this time. When travelling by plane postpartum, be sure to move and walk around the plane as much as possible when it is safe to do so, in order to keep blood flow going, and remember to drink plenty of water.
Other Public Transport (Train and Bus): Travelling on public transport just after you give birth may not be the best idea in terms of the amount of stress it might cause you and your newborn. Buses specifically can bounce around on uneven roads, which could be uncomfortable for your postpartum body and can disturb your baby, especially if they are asleep. Trains and buses are bustling environments, and you can’t necessarily expect the strangers around you to be as considerate as they should be of you and your newborn. When taking your baby home from the hospital, it is strongly recommended that you use a car or taxi as your form of transport. If you need to take public transport in the weeks after you give birth, make sure you do so safely. On a bus, it is best to either have your baby in a buggy, ensure you place them in the designated safe area in the bus (this is usually close to the doors of the bus) and put the brakes on the wheels so there is no chance of the pram rolling around, or have them in a front-pack carrier so they are attached to the front of your body. The same rules should apply when travelling with a baby on a train.
Although you can technically travel with your baby when they are much younger, it is a good idea to wait until their immune system is better developed if possible. For your own benefit too, it is worth avoiding travel until you are confident you and your baby are up for it.