Our first week on the road was filled with amazing views and lovely times meandering south towards the coast. We are ultimately headed to Spain. We’ll see if we ever get there.
Newborns are snoozy.
We’ve been on the road now for two weeks. It’s our first longer trip with a baby. Vigo was 6 weeks old when we left Heidelberg, Germany. He has done well on the road. He finds home in the two of us, so being on the road is home for him, I suppose. We have been making several stops on his account, if he’s hungry or needing a snuggle. We can travel for a few hours at a time before he begins to squawk. He’s still at the multiple nap a day stage so we time our travel for after he’s been fed, changed and snoozing.
Tiny space, loud cry.
Dom recently learned that our ears are specifically attuned to hear the frequency of a baby’s cry. Is that why they sound so loud? The toughest part about having a newborn in vanlife is when he is in an unconsolable state at night. Sometimes he gets very worked up and then he just has to cry it out. Being in such a small space with such a loud little human is tough. Luckily there are two of us parents and we can pass him off when one of us has reached our limit. I don’t know how you single parents do it without going insane and feeling like a failure as a parent. Dom was doing laundry at the laundromat the other day and Vigo cried in the van with me for 45 minutes straight, I cried for about 20 minutes of it along with him. But this kind of thing was happening at home too. It’s just that now it’s happening in a 8 square meter space. There is sadly no second room to escape to except the great outdoors, which sometimes is not very welcoming, like when it is raining and stormy.
Breastfeeding is so great for living on the road.
I have the pleasure of breastfeeding my little babe and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve always got my boobs with me and they are all that Vigo needs in terms of sustenance. How cool is that? I don’t have to worry about bottles and formula. And as I have heard breastfed babies poop smells a lot better, so when there are dirty diapers in our trash in the van for a few days it’s no worries.
He doesn’t make special requests or require extra entertainment.
We have spent most of the last week stuck in southern France. Our faithfully shitty van has broken down again, but we have been making the most of our time, heading to nearby beaches and cooking delicious meals in the parking lot at the mechanic’s. It’s somewhat embarrassing to have bought such a p.o.s. but we still love her and are willing to invest in her a bit longer. We’ll see if we get through the rest of this trip without another repair, or just leaving her here, down south. For Vigo, luckily, it makes no real difference whether we are parked at a beautiful ocean view or in the parking lot at a mechanic’s. So in this respect he’s a great travel companion when things go south, without actually heading south. ;)
Tiny babies don’t take up much space.
We have a little nook at the side of our bed for Vigo, which makes night feedings easy peasy. We also have a baby hammock for him above our bed, which we rock him in sometimes during the day. His car seat fits in the seat between us in the 3er front seats when we are driving. Well, I take it back, his THINGS take up a lot of space. His stroller takes up a big portion of our under the bed storage and he has more clothes than the rest of us, but anyway, he’s tiny. He fits wonderfully in a carrier for urban and nature hikes.
Newborns don’t need many baths.
We haven’t bathed yet on our trip, don't judge, but we have all been making use of the baby wipes. They keep our most sensitive areas clean and it hasn’t been hot and sweaty yet so we haven’t “needed” showers. We can't afford fancy restaurants anyways, so a bit of greasy hair and cradle cap are fine with us. Pretty soon we may go to a public pool and get a nice hot shower in. It’s about time.
Overall, I don’t think we are too crazy for bringing a newborn along on the road. Vanlife is working out with our newborn baby. He would have just as many fussy times at home as he does in the van, I think. He’s definitely not an easy going baby, he needs a lot of attention and movement, so I think the road and staying active is what he likes.
We’re two weeks in now, we’ll see whether our tune changes after the 8th week. 8 weeks my goodness! We are so grateful to have this much time on the road, what a privilege.
Thanks for reading lovelies,