By January 17, 2014 9 Comments

Travel Nursing with a Baby

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Baby on board! Yes, you can take on travel nursing assignments with a baby.

Baby on board! Yes, you can take on travel nursing assignments with a baby.

Many people ask the question, “Is it possible to travel with a baby?” Yes. Almost anything is possible if you put your mind to it. The real question is, “Will I enjoy traveling with a baby?” My hope is that by listing some of the challenges my wife, Stasha, and I have faced, you’ll have a better idea of how to answer that question for yourself.

Before I get into these challenges, I want to start by saying what any parent would say after having their first child: It has been an amazing experience that we wouldn’t change for anything in the world. Having said that, traveling would be a lot easier without Carter, our nine-month-old son.

Challenges of Travel Nursing with a Baby

Upgrading our cargo capacity

My wife and I had become very efficient when it came to packing our vehicle with everything we needed. Our little Ford Escape had a rooftop bag and a rear cargo carrier, and both were packed full of our belongings. The interior was packed so full we barely had enough room for our two small dogs.

After our son was born, we quickly realized an upgrade was needed. We traded our Escape in for a Chevy Traverse, increasing our interior space significantly. But that wasn’t enough. We eventually had to buy a 6 x 10 enclosed trailer. Think about all of the toys, bassinet, crib, baby clothes, high chair, stroller … the list just goes on and on. We didn’t have much of a choice but to buy the trailer.

Upgrading our apartment size

Our upgrades didn’t end with a new vehicle and trailer. Our first apartment with Carter was a single bedroom and it quickly became too small. Our next assignment we paid the extra $300/month for a furnished two-bedroom apartment.

Even with two bedrooms it is still challenging with all of the toys and our dedicated computer desk for my work. Our plan going forward is to leave the second bedroom unfurnished, trading the extra bed for more space for toys and other items.

Downsizing our Adventures

While Stasha and I still enjoy adventures on each assignment, they are definitely not the same adventures as we had before. Mountain biking trips and remote hikes have been replaced by walks with the stroller and trips to the park. Without family or friends to help watch Carter, we really have no choice but to include him in all of our activities.

Being Away from Family

This is a hard one. Your first baby is exciting not only for you and your significant other, but also for your entire family. Stasha and I have tried to work our way back home so that our family can spend at least one assignment near our son and vice versa but it hasn’t worked out so well. To make matters worse, Carter’s first Christmas was 3,000 miles away from our family.

Sometimes that’s the way the chips fall and you have to be prepared for that. You can say you’ll stay close to family but sometimes assignments take you wherever the wind blows. You also have to ask yourself if it even makes sense to travel if you’re only going to look for assignments near family.

How long can you travel with a baby?

The challenges above only skim the surface of what to think about when traveling with a baby. It’s hard to imagine what it will truly be like until you’re living it. Think about all of the activities you do with your baby throughout the day and try to imagine how traveling might affect them. Ever try walking two dogs while pushing a stroller? How about driving 36 hours across the country and having to deal with diapers, bottles, a cranky baby and two antsy dogs?

Stasha and I are willing do all of this because we LOVE travel nursing. It is the best decision we’ve made in our 10 years of marriage. The only question for us is how long we’ll be able to continue traveling with Carter. Sometimes a house with a fenced-in yard near family can sound very appealing. But then we get to our next assignment and experience that wonderful feeling of being in a strange, new place and all it has to offer. How long will we travel with Carter? I guess only time will tell.

Are you currently traveling with a baby or considering it but have questions? Please feel free to comment with your experiences or questions below.

 

First time bonus!
Posted in: Family, Life on the Road

About the Author:

My name is Brad and with the help of my wonderful wife, Stasha, we created Travel Nurse Help from scratch. We hope you’ll stop by and find it to be a great resource and time saver. Learn more at Travel Nurse Help

9 Comments on "Travel Nursing with a Baby"

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  1. Tara Ryan says:

    My husband, 5 month old baby and myself are planning to travel the beginning of June. I was wondering if you could give me some tips about how to fully prepare for our first travel assignment with a baby.

    Thanks,
    Tara

  2. Stasha says:

    Hi Tara,
    First I would like to congratulate you on your little one and also for deciding to travel! As Brad mentioned in the article, it can be a little challenging to travel with a baby. However, not impossible.
    You can start preparing your baby now for the long trips ahead. To do this you may want to begin “conditioning” your child to long car rides. If you start by increasing by intervals that may help the baby adjust to being in the car seat for extended periods, which may help with stress.

    Being organized is a huge key to keeping your sanity when traveling with a baby. Keep all your diapers, wipes, formula, toys, tylenol, pacifiers close at hand so you don’t have to climb all over the back seat trying to find these things. I bought an organizer that goes on the back of the seat and kept all these things in there. Trying to frantically find a pacifier in the floor when the car is moving and the baby is screaming, is a little to much for me to bear.

    A lifesaver for us was, and it may sound odd but, I recorded the sound of the hair dryer for 10 minutes on my iPhone. When Carter would start crying uncontrollably, I would start the hair dryer sound, he would instantly calm down. He’s 11 months old now and this still works!

    Don’t let the challenges stand in your way of traveling. It is completely possible. Carter’s first road trip was at 6 weeks old from Pennsylvania to Florida and we all survived. Plan ahead so you can stop often and give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
    If you have more questions please feel free to email me anytime. I am happy to help. I hope you and your family have safe travels!

  3. Coming from my perspective, I would mentally prepare by having your husband watch your baby by himself for 3 days straight. Give him a few hours break each day but the rest of the time he’s on his own.

    There are times when traveling I am going it alone for 3-4 days while Stasha works 12 hour night shifts. I can honestly say for a man it can be very stressful and mentally exhausting. Most of us don’t realize how difficult raising a baby can be. And I don’t think men handle it nearly as well as women. Mother’s are so much more patient and nurturing in general. If he makes it 3 days or if he already does this, you two will be fine. After that the hardest part is taking your baby away from grandma and grandpa. They won’t be happy about it but you have to do what’s best for your little family. Good luck!

  4. Lee Anne says:

    My husband and I travelled together but came back home in November to “settle in” for the birth of our first kid who arrived 3 weeks ago. We have the itch to go back to it, but wonder about whether its realistic that we both get assignments at the same time? Are you able to both take an assignment and avoid having to find “child care” and still see each other? Thanks so much!

  5. Congratulations Lee Anne! I am actually not a nurse though. My wife Stasha is the nurse and I run our two websites, Travel Nurse Help and our new job board for travel nurses, Travel Nursing Exchange. I usually put in about 50-60 hours a week though so it takes a lot of time but I obviously have more flexibility than your husband would if he took an assignment.

    Even with our more flexible situation, it can be a struggle trying to find time together to fully enjoy traveling. I can’t imagine if both of us were on an assignment. Although unless you have family willing to watch your baby or you are willing to put them in child care back home, it’s really not going to be much different whether you travel or settle. You’ll both probably work on the days your spouse is off and have one day a week to spend together.

    Stasha and I don’t really have any family that doesn’t have a full-time job so that’s not an option for us if we did settle. And neither of us are comfortable leaving Carter with a babysitter so traveling actually works out great for us.

    The hardest part is just never having a break. I am very jealous of my sister who is able to drop her two daughters off at my mom’s for a weekend so her and her husband can have a break. Good luck and keep us updated. Would love to hear how it all turns out.

  6. Angela says:

    Hello,
    My husband and I are really interested in travel nursing. My biggest problem so far is the family insurance. What is the most affordable way to insure the family that you have found? Do you have any advice on this? Thanks!
    Angela

  7. Ashley says:

    I am thinking of starting travel nursing soon and I have a 5 year old and 2 month old. What my concern is finding doctors when traveling for baby’s checkups and vaccines. I’m not sure how that works moving different states.

  8. Brad says:

    Hi Ashley. We get vaccines through the public health department. They usually give them once a month at a set location. We still pay for them, but saves us from having to pay a doctor visit fee. As far as baby checkups, we did one and stopped. Both of us felt it was a complete waste of time and money. I’m not sure who decided babies need to be checked every so often even if nothing seems wrong, but the 5 minutes it took the doc to check our son certainly didn’t seem to justify the $120 charge. I’m sure others feel very different and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I personally think it’s a joke and just one more reason insurance is so out of control. But if it’s important to you, I’m sure you could find a doctor at each assignment that would be willing to do the checkup. It would just be a pain to fill out all of the info every time.

  9. Fortuna says:

    Hello there! I have been wanting to do travel nursing for many years! I am finally ready, but I have a 7- month old. My husband will not be coming with us because he’s not able to telework. Any advice? I have mixed feelings about traveling now with a 7-month old but I know I will never do it if I don’t now. My first assignment will be 3hrs away from home. I will have to find a nanny. BTW, I have been a SAHM for the last 7-month.

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