January 7, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

When to move with a newborn?

If everything goes according to plan, a baby will be born in April and a new job will begin in August. The difficulty is that the new job will be in some currently unpredictable location approximately a thousand miles away from where we now live.

Granting that neither situation is exactly ideal, when do you think would be the best time to move with a newborn? I'm on an academic calendar, and could move as soon as mid-May, as late as mid-August, or anytime in between.

What else do you think I need to know for this? First-time parent. Thanks!
posted by gerryblog to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have to go with later being better, just because the first time parent with newborn is killer for the first couple months. By the time August rolls around you start getting the hang of it and your little one has figured out some stuff to start letting you sleep more so you can actually make some coherent thoughts. I was mostly non-functioning and stressed about doing everything wrong with the baby for the first 2 months with my first, and I can only imagine that moving during that time would have driven me over the edge. If you can't move before the little one gets here, then definitely wait as long as you can after they do so you don't heap one big stress on an already giant stress you are going to have.
posted by katers890 at 5:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, you will typically need to have well-child pediatrician visits 2 days after hospital discharge, then again at 2 weeks and then 2 months of life. So maybe plan to wait until after the 2-week visit to make sure everything's copacetic with your kid, and schedule the 2 month visit in your new locale?
posted by killdevil at 5:39 PM on January 7, 2012

I could not have done anything beyond basic daily tasks for the first three months or so. Later is definitely going to be easier than earlier. I moved with a six-month-old and that wasn't bad at all, and I probably could have done it at four months. Three months would have been iffy, and earlier than that would have been plain awful. That said, I have a friend who moved with a three-week-old, and she survived, though she was not successful with breastfeeding and I've always wondered if the stress of the move had something to do with that.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 5:47 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

The six week mark is one of the hardest times and you may have follow ups with the OB and pediatrician till then. If there's a C-section or other compliations, the first 6 weeks would also be a no go.

I'd vote for early mid July to early August. That gives you time to adjust before going back to work. And an opportunity to start building community. If you have friends or family in the new locale, that would help. Is it possible to join a Facebook parent group for the new community or something like that?
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I moved with a newborn 10 days postpartum. Yeah, sucked. Don't do that. At least don't do it the first 6 weeks. Prolong as much as you can.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:02 PM on January 7, 2012

You do what you have to do. Newborns aren't invalids and neither are their parents. Make your plans with the big picture in mind. Local OB/pediatrician in touch with new pediatrician, professional movers or 2-guys-with-truck, etc.

Some people's subjective advice will be based on their rough first month, other people's advice will be based on anecdotal rough month three, etc. Assuming your baby is healthy, focus on pinning down resources and a new network in the "currently unpredictable location" so that it's a bit more predictable.
posted by headnsouth at 6:03 PM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Later. We have a new baby (start of December) and we're making a huge (international) move asap. We're super organized people, we're both home, and the birth and baby were/are super healthy and easy, and we're still only just getting back into serious moving planning five weeks after the birth (although we did have guests for weeks and we did do some necessary pre-planned tasks in the first couple of weeks). We had roughly planned to move at the end of February, now we're moving that to the end of March for our own sanity, although I think we could do Feb if we pushed ourselves.

It's not that we're that sleep deprived, but that someone always has to be with the baby, and we have to stop what we're doing constantly to feed and change him. The parent giving birth will need to take things easy physically for at least a month too (I feel great, but my joints are still super loose, and nothing can be done about that).

It depends on your logistics and budget too. If you have paid full-service movers and a studio, go for it! If you're moving a three-bed house in a U-Haul, wait.

And congrats!
posted by crabintheocean at 6:30 PM on January 7, 2012

Gerryblog, you're the daddy, right? Your pregnant partner cannot know now how she will feel after the baby is born. As the daddy in this very early stage of parenthood you need to defer/cater to her needs/desires as best you can.
posted by mareli at 6:36 PM on January 7, 2012

Whenever you decide, make a commitment right now to hire people to deal with anything you can - all the packing, the moving, setting up in new home, have meals delivered during times when kitchen is in boxes, etc. The fewer things that you and the mother have to worry about is totally worth the price.
posted by CathyG at 6:48 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm an academic and a parent and will have done 1 in-town move and 2 cross-country moves before my kid turns 4.

I'd be happy to chat with you about specifics of academic moving with child, of course. And if you're interested, memail me and I'll put you in touch with a lurker friend who had baby in April, defended diss in summer, and moved TO ANOTHER COUNTRY in August. They're actually on an international flight with baby right now, but I can safely say that I think that she would have done it differently if she could have.

PERSONALLY, I would negotiate for a January start date given the baby's birth. Seriously. I think that moving with a new baby is next-to-insanity.

But no matter what stage, anyway, this will suck and as CathyG said above, OUTSOURCE EVERYTHING. Pay people to move you - professional movers if you can. (We did this for our last move and it was still super stressful, even with a 2-year-old.)

(Most academic packages don't totally cover a move. I think under these circumstances, you'll have more weight to negotiate for a bigger move package or it'd be worth it to get it paid for.)

And start purging and packing NOW before the baby comes. Get down to the bare minimum that you need for everything.

Split stuff into KEEP / SELL / GIVE AWAY / THROW AWAY and anything that you don't need now, get rid of now. Be ruthless. Think about the cost of moving something (I think that someone on Ask Me said to think of things as costing X per ounce or pound) versus buying new.

Do not get tons of baby crap/gifts. TELL EVERYONE to not buy you anything until you move. Don't get a crib - have baby sleep with you or in a pack-n-play.

I can say more. Really.
posted by k8t at 7:30 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

My husband and I moved when our first child was nearly three months old. The difficult part was not the actual move - my husband coordinated it on the day and I watched the baby - it was the preparation before. That kid was so clingy that there were days where it was all I could do to get a shower and a bowl of cereal in, so packing was a nightmare. I'd vote for later just to give yourselves extra time to pack and get organized.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:08 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't favorite K8t's answer and echo this part hard enough!

And start purging and packing NOW before the baby comes. Get down to the bare minimum that you need for everything.

Split stuff into KEEP / SELL / GIVE AWAY / THROW AWAY and anything that you don't need now, get rid of now. Be ruthless. Think about the cost of moving something (I think that someone on Ask Me said to think of things as costing X per ounce or pound) versus buying new.

Do not get tons of baby crap/gifts. TELL EVERYONE to not buy you anything until you move. Don't get a crib - have baby sleep with you or in a pack-n-play.

Seriously. You will never have this much time again. It is amazing to me now that I used to read a magazine in one sitting when I was pregnant! And babies need so little stuff!
posted by crabintheocean at 8:13 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pack now. Everything.

My son is 9 months tomorrow and we contemplated a move around the time of his birth... You can do this if you pack everything up well before labor happens.

Congratulations and good luck to you!
posted by jbenben at 8:14 PM on January 7, 2012

Another vote for later. C-section will require some recovery time that is not negotiable. As a first-time parent, everything is really weird and hard and I can't imagine packing and negotiating a move in those first few months. Plus, those few weeks are tough but also very precious. I didn't know that before I had mine. You don't want to miss it!
posted by amanda at 8:30 PM on January 7, 2012

Oh, and FWIW, if I were in your shoes, I'd do year 1 with baby while still being a grad student if you have the funding.
posted by k8t at 8:32 PM on January 7, 2012

Give yourself plenty of time to settle in your new location before the job starts or it will be that much more stressful. Take into consideration the mother's social support network will be gone after the move and she'll need to rebuild it, not a problem, parent groups at local libraries, community centres are amazing for this, get you out of the house and connected to others going through the joys of parenthood. What everyone else said about C sections.
posted by furtive at 9:46 PM on January 7, 2012

My wife and I had our first child four weeks ago yesterday. We moved on Wednesday, albeit temporarily and only a small portion of our possessions, to an apartment, to be near her hospitalized mother. Consequently, I cannot recommend moving with a one-month old. We were just getting down a routine, learning to live with this new little human, when suddenly everything changed. It's not a disaster, but it's tough, and it's certainly not something that I would choose to do. Of course, I have not had the experience of moving with a two-month old, or a four-month old, so I have nothing to compare this to.
posted by waldo at 10:28 PM on January 7, 2012

There is no ideal time to do this, but from my reckoning, the optimal time is anywhere between two months and mobility, which would be no earlier than 4 months even for early milestone achievers. The ability to put the baby down and know that the baby will stay there, even if voicing displeasure about this, makes the physical logistics of organising and executing a move massively easier than a child you literally cannot put down because s/he just scoots off.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:50 PM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

I moved with a 4 week old after a C-section in between Christmas and New Years 14 years ago. I lived. You could have just stuck me in a box and left me there for a few weeks, but we had a lot of help and I just sort of wandered around un-helpfully. Also, I helpfully packed a lot of boxes that no one could lift since I couldn't move them to see how heavy the boxes were. So they had to unpack all of those boxes and repack them. One baby item that was really helpful was the stroller. She just slept in that so I could wheel her around the box filled house for a while. Oh, she slept in a Moses basket atop a giant box of books next to our bed for a while. I was exhausted and pretty weepy but I was probably just as exhausted and weepy after the next two were born without any house moving. So wait as long as you can, but as long as you don't expect much help from your wife, it'll work.
posted by artychoke at 11:54 PM on January 7, 2012

K8t's advice of get rid of everything now is the best. We should have had 5 garage sales before we moved.....User this time now to pare down....If I could turn back time, I would do this a million times over...
posted by pearlybob at 1:44 AM on January 8, 2012

I moved when my baby was eight weeks. As others have said, it's not the actual move but the packing that is most difficult - hire people or rope in friends to help (either to pack or to attend to the baby) to make your lives easier.
posted by goo at 6:27 AM on January 8, 2012

Personally, I wouldn't plan on going anywhere until the 6 week mark -- later if you run into any sort of complications or have a c-section. Line up new medical/support care before hand as much as possible.

Try not to buy a lot of baby gear. Babies don't need much at all the first few months. I could've survived w/a mini cosleeper and baby carrier for quite awhile - maybe a baby swing (there are good portable models).

If there's a good friend or helpful relative who can make the initial trip with you to the new digs to be an extra set of baby-holding, box-unpacking hands, that would be wonderful. My MIL and her sister came to unpack my kitchen for me after we moved (I was 8 mo pregnant). They put everything away and got it all organized. It was the NICEST thing anyone has ever done for me.
posted by hms71 at 8:27 AM on January 8, 2012

We moved when my son was 7 months old. His Dad had to do a lot more work because I was still nursing, but it was otherwise no worse than any other move, which is to say, a stupidly horrid ordeal. Give yourself enough time to get settled, find a new pediatrician, etc., before work starts. I wouldn't plan to move with a baby under the 2 or 3 month mark, if I had a choice. What if there are complications for Baby or Mother? I had a surgical delivery w/ complications, and couldn't have done much in the 1st few months; even managing the infant was challenging.

Use your Before Baby time to get rid of stuff you don't need to move; there's always more of it than you think. Maybe even start collecting boxes, if you have a place to put them. There are lots of threads about what you need for a new baby. You need much less than you think, esp. if you have to move it.
posted by theora55 at 10:41 AM on January 8, 2012

Wow, thanks everyone! This has all been very helpful, with a rather strong consensus towards delaying the move at least until midsummer.

Delaying graduation or the start date is not really an option, so it's got to happen somehow...

posted by gerryblog at 12:29 PM on January 8, 2012

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