Migrating with a baby

Last year May, I dropped my entire life in Perth and literally ran back to my mum in Singapore. My husband, in a week packed all our belongings into random bags and dropped it off at various friends’ houses. While remaining in my parent’s house and pretending that I was 12 was a comfortable option, it certainly wasn’t the right one. So, I finally plucked up enough courage to make my big move back to Perth.

Everything becomes more complex with a baby to care for. I knew this in theory and migrating with a baby taught me plenty of practical lessons too. Here’s what I did right and what did not exactly go according to plan.

Got it right:

1. Packing well
I am glad I got this one right. Packing is crucial, especially when you don’t have the luxury of a company sponsored container to ship your contents in. Planning my packing in the form of a list really helped me as it allowed me to evaluate what was necessary. It was very tempting to bring along Kiara’s entire nursery but it is silly to pack in too many wet tissues, diapers and such when you know you are not going to be dropped off in the middle of the Amazon forest. Only pack things you need, use often and absolutely cannot get at your destination.

2. Research
Though I’ve lived in Perth before, my life then was very different. A late night takeout place would have been the only thing on my priority list. This time, I made sure that there were pharmacies, supermarkets, after-hours clinics and such services available near where I was moving in. I talked to friends living in the area with young children and that made life a lot easier. If you don’t have friends in your new destination yet, you can always join forums and online communities.

3. Sticking to THE routine
As adults we take time to adapt to new surroundings. Imagine how hard it is for young children and babies. Everything from their surroundings, to people and weather would be different. Sudden change makes them uncomfortable, discomfort makes them cranky and cranky babies make life difficult. Try your very best to stick to your baby’s routine. The familiarity will calm them down and ease adaptation. I religiously followed Kiara’s routine. Not only did she sleep and eat well, it made it a lot easier to run around with her, shopping for our new home.

What I didn’t get so right

1. Assumed perfect accommodation scenario
I had gotten a rental property in a good suburb and assumed everything would be perfect. Unfortunately, the water heater was not working; neither were the room heaters and it was freezing! Thank God for amazing friends we could bunk in with. If you are planning to migrate, though it could be a little pricey, get a serviced apartment at least for a couple of days. This would ensure everyone is comfortable till your permanent accommodation is fully sorted. In my personal opinion, I would take a serviced apartment over a hotel when travelling with a baby. You will need the kitchen.

2. Tried to get too much done too soon
While I was very eager to settle in as soon as possible, it was also equally important to ease into my new life. Rushing into things head on like I always do is not recommended for mothers with young children. You will only get frustrated that things are not moving fast. Always better to spread things out and allow for down-time. Children need our time too.

Hopefully these tips will help some of you new mothers who are planning to migrate with a baby.

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