First Time Travel as a Mom

They said we were crazy, but we did it anyway. We went away for a long weekend and took our nine-week-old son along for the ride. And we would do it all over again!

Maintaining an intimate relationship with Mark is challenging with a newborn. While I’m home with Grady on maternity leave, Mark works a full day as a plumber. When he comes home, he takes over Grady duty and I try to keep up with house chores and, sometimes, manage to do something for me. Even when we have the chance to relax, we are usually on opposite ends of the couch where the recliners are. On weekends, we hustle to our families’ houses so that they can spend time with Grady and see how much he’s grown that week. Few hours are dedicated to simply hanging out as a family.

After seven weeks of being back at work with reduced sleep, Mark decided it was time to take some time off and we decided it was time to take a break from family and friends and enjoy uninterrupted time as a family. We booked a short trip to Newport, Rhode Island.

Aside from a food sensitivity snafu at the end of the trip, traveling with Grady went smoothly and we really enjoyed our time focusing on one another. Many people told us they couldn’t imagine traveling with a nine-week-old, so I’m here to share what we packed, review accommodations, and share some baby-friendly activities.

What to Pack

How many outfits to pack for a nine-week-old? How many diapers? I packed twice as many outfits and PJs as days we were there. For example, we spent two nights there, so we packed four pairs of pajamas and four swaddles. Luckily, Grady didn’t have any blow outs until the last morning, but babies are so unpredictable! In terms of diapers – the question wasn’t how many, it was how many is too many!?

Additionally, we packed three blankets, four burp clothes, an extra full pack of wipes, wash clothes, a few toys, emergency pacifiers, pumping equipment, a portable sound machine, and accessories like a hat, booties, and sunglasses. Some items I highly recommend are:

Travel Bassinet- More light weight and compact than a pack and play, this is a great option if you are travelling with a smaller infant. It fit in the middle of our king-size bed with plenty of room for me and Mark to sleep on either size. The inside of the bassinet is mesh-lined and breathable, and the mattress seemed comfy. Grady had no problem sleeping in it. It conveniently folds up for travel.

This bassinet is also great if you are looking for a safe bed-sharing option at home. We used it two nights after getting home when Grady was gassy and not sleeping well. I think it would be a great option for small space travel, like camping!

Diaper Caddy- This is one of my most used items at home and was an absolute must for travel! There are three large compartments for diapers and wipes. Depending on how often your baby wakes up in the night, it holds at least a week of overnight diapers. I filled the third compartment with spare PJs, burp clothes, and wipes. The pockets held diaper cream, hand sanitizer, thermometer, nose sucker, and still there were empty ones!

Click HERE to shop these essentials

Accommodations

Though I say we visited Newport, our inn and the majority of our activities were in Middletown. Middletown is just a 5-10-minute drive from downtown Newport, and only a 5 minute drive to the mansions. The main road of Middletown has restaurants, bars, ice-cream, and sidewalks that make it all walkable and stroller friendly. It also has a beach!

Sea Breeze Inn- click here for website

We absolutely recommend staying at the Sea Breeze Inn! This 16 room Inn was perfect for our first trip as a family because it was more affordable than the hotels in downtown Newport, but bigger than a home B&B where Grady could wake up the whole house when crying.

The Sea Breeze Inn is run by a Greek woman called “YiaYia”. She was there to serve breakfast in the morning and to serve us ice-cream in the evening. Renovated five years ago, the décor was modern and the room spacious. The cozy diner attached to the small lobby served breakfast, lunch, and ice-cream/dessert until 9pm. The menu had a complimentary breakfast for guests, a full menu that you could order for a charge, and a handful of Greek dishes, including an avocado and olive spread breakfast sandwich on pita and homemade Greek yogurt.

We can’t say enough about Yia Yia herself. As soon as she saw Grady, she looked to see if there was a bigger room available for us. She cooked our breakfast herself and even gave us some dessert for free. She loves her job because she loves getting to know her guests, so be open to chit chatting.

Wharf Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar- Click here for website

Mark summed it up perfectly when he said, “That’s what you get when you go for southern food in Rhode Island.”

We loved the ambiance of the restaurant and I totally recommend it for drinks and small eats. Mark and I both got craft beers and fried pickles in their outdoor dining area and loved the vibe. The fried pickles were sweet and spicy and unique from other restaurants.

We both thought the bbq biscuit sounded good. However, the meal was very spicy – not great for breastfeeding. The brisket also seemed overcooked. We weren’t too impressed, but the restaurant was busy, so other dishes could be better. 

Aside from the spicy food, the facility wasn’t baby-friendly. The main restaurant is up a set of stairs, so we sat on the patio with the stroller. I also didn’t see a changing table in the tiny bathrooms. However, those restrooms couldn’t have been handicap friendly, so I’m wondering if the changing table was in the handicap room.

Flo’s Clam Shack- Click here for website

Casual dining at it’s finest. This restaurant reminded me of Cape Cod in both ambiance and menu. The restaurant is order-at-the-window style. There is outside seating, or you can order and dine on the first floor. Trek up to the second floor for a bar and raw bar and an unobstructed view of the ocean. After ordering lobster rolls, Mark and I carried the stroller to sit upstairs for the raw bar. The raw bar was simple – oysters, little necks, etc.  Simple and delicious.

In terms of baby-friendly accommodations, you can easily eat outdoors or roll the stroller into the first floor. I didn’t use the restrooms to see if they had a place to change diapers.

Newport Activities for Mom, Dad, AND Baby

We went into the weekend with only one scheduled activity – lunch reservations at the Newport Vineyards. However, we like spending time outdoors and being active, so I knew the Cliff Walk was a must. I wanted to keep the weekend as flexible as possible so that we could react to Grady’s mood and unpredictable nap schedule.

My biggest tip for success is to stick to one activity per day and to make sure you stay fed.

Cliff WalkThe Cliff walk is a well-known (and free) attraction in Newport and one of the best ways to get a view of the Newport mansions. It is a great activity for parents who like to be active and babies who like to be in their strollers. The entire walk is over three miles, but pay attention to the map to see what sections are family friendly.

Looking at the map, about half of the Cliff-Walk is color coded green as “smooth terrain” (this took us from the South entrance to the Ruggle Street check point for reference). This section was stroller friendly. There were a few small sets of stairs that Mark and I tag-teamed carrying the stroller up and down, but nothing too bad. There were also benches along the way where you can stop and feed if your babe gets hungry!

Newport Vineyards

The Newport winery, while technically in Middletown, is a must for good food and drink. Mark and I made a reservation for outdoors, and when I noted that we had an infant, we were seated on a covered patio to stay out of the sun. Don’t worry if you’re not a wine-o, they have a beer menu as well. Their food offerings include appetizers, entrees, and sharable plates. I highly recommend the bacon burnt ends!

They also allow you to take a drink in a plastic cup with you as you walk around the vineyard.  The path is stroller friendly, though make sure you have coverage for your babe since the vines are in direct sunlight.

Bird Sanctuary –

This was a hidden gem that our innkeeper told us about. Just three minutes from Second Beach (which we briefly walked on, but I have no review on), the bird sanctuary is perfect for a nature walk. For a small entry fee, you can spend a few hours exploring the different terrains- shrubbery, wetlands, forest, ponds, quarries, fields, etc. In terms of the birds – we saw a few, but you probably need binoculars and patience to see a lot.

I recommend a wearable carrier if you bring your babes. We had a regular stroller, and though we were able to get through the “Shrubbery” paths, which are wheelchair accessible, it was bumpy. A jogger or off-roading stroller would even be a better option to our regular Graco.

At the end of the weekend, Mark and I felt refreshed, closer to one another, and closer to Grady. We recommend Newport, RI for a quick vacation with an infant!

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