Sharing Ski Vacation with Baby

In December I took my first trip with my 8 month old daughter. I studied up on entertaining baby on the airplane, getting liquids through security and what to pack. The flight went great. I was the lady with the cute, smiling baby instead of the crying one. I felt very smart.

Then, like most things related to parenting, I realized there were a bunch of unanticipated issues that began to unravel my confidence about vacationing with baby.

Altitude and breast feeding are a tough combo. The water demands of living at 10,000 ft were exaggerated by producing 32+ oz of milk daily. I woke up nearly everyday with headaches and nausea despite nearly constant sipping.

Sleeping with an infant is no picnic at sea-level; but sleeping at altitude was much harder than anticipated. I guess baby's ears are not well equipped to deal with pressure changes and Maggie seemed bothered -- tugging her ears by day and crying much of the night. Was it the new surroundings, high elevation, teething, ears or a combo of everything? Who knows, but none of us were getting much sleep.

Diaper changing is a breeze. In fact, I can change a diaper in complete darkness in under a minute without waking the baby, left handed. But I got sick of changing diapers hunched on the floor then carrying them to the garage to prevent stinking up the room. Not a big deal, I admit, but after 11 days of no sleep and headaches, I was happy to get home to my changing table and diaper pail.

Child Proofing Rental accommodations are seldom safe for baby. A minute into our stay and I've already surveyed a series of potential disasters. Electrical cords, chokeables, fancy decorations within reach, stairs with no gate. Short of totally fixing this house, it was pretty tough to put baby down for more than a minute. Bringing outlet covers and even a baby gate may have helped.

Sun and temperature at altitude are much more intense than at lower elevations. The sun was intense for baby skin and the cold would sting her face before we could even walk to the gondola and back. Without my car, I felt more cooped up on vacation than at home.

Dry air seems to be a fact of high elevation and baby's delicate skin made her especially irritated. Her nose was plugged with crusty boogers and her skin was painfully dry. The humidifier in her room helped a little. So did bringing her into the bathroom after a hot shower to inhale the steam. The 3 oz of lotion allotted by TSA did not cut it for 11 days and I was slathering it on her red, cracked skin multiple times a day.

I was disappointed that my relaxing ski trip did not include much relaxation or very much a skiing. Entertaining, feeding and resting baby without the convenient 'stuff' from home created a lot of additional work. The need to conform to baby's schedule derailed the fantasy of 'first chair', or even 'mid-day chair', 'last chair' or 'any chair' for that matter. I envisioned ski trips before baby: wake up, eat French toast, ride until bored/tired, hot tub, fall asleep on the couch. I spent the first day sitting around in my long-underwear waiting for baby to eat and grandma to come home to babysit -- jittery that I didn't get on the hill until 2:30. It took me a few days to accept this new reality; to recognize the joy of sharing the experience with baby. Ski-in-ski-out lodging helped. Also, I purchased a season pass so it was easier to go 1 or 2 hours without blowing a $100 lift ticket.

It was tiring and fun and different. Not sure if we'll make it back next month, but I look forward to bringing my daughter back when she is old enough to ski.