Guest post by Tailynn Brost.
I have always enjoyed traveling and, now that I’m a mama of two, I love exploring and adventuring with my kids. In fact, I have a hard time staying put most of the time. Once I had my oldest son, Dayton, my wanderlust only grew. Then I got pregnant with Aspen, and once we got his Down syndrome diagnosis I’ll admit I was a bit scared of what to expect. I remember thinking, “Does this mean our traveling days are over? What does this mean for our family?” After educating myself and watching beautiful families all over social media with their babes, I soon learned that Down syndrome was nothing to be afraid of. And our traveling days were just getting started!
I love taking my kids with me on day trips, weekend getaways, and longer road trips. Seeing them experience things for the first time in some of my favorite places (or even new places for all of us) just makes it that much more special to me. When I first started traveling alone with my oldest, it was a bit daunting. I worried how he’d handle an extra long car ride. I stressed about airplane meltdowns or how he’d handle a new space. But after a few trips, we got the hang of it and I applied what I’d learned when I started traveling with both my boys.
Even though Aspen has Down syndrome, traveling with him isn’t all that different than when Dayton was his age and we’d go on vacations. However, there are a few things I keep in mind for our adventures.
Here are my 3 essential tips for traveling with a child with Down syndrome:
#1 Support Your Immune System.
Aspen, like many others with Down syndrome, becomes sick more easily. And when he’s sick, stays sick for a while. He has more narrow passage ways than most people so he has a scarier experience with croup, pneumonia, anything respiratory related. Because of this, we tend to choose Airbnb’s when traveling more often (though I’ve always been an Airbnb fan!). We also make sure we wash our hands religiously and carry hand sanitizer everywhere. If we are going to a busy destination, I make sure to bring our stroller or Boba carrier so that I can keep Aspen close and “control” his environment as much as possible.
That said, we still went to Disneyland. We still went to a resort in Hawaii. We just make sure we keep our areas clean and we all take immunity gummies and other multivitamins before, during, and after our trip. We don’t let it keep us from having fun, family memories. We just adapt!
#2 Bring Your Energy-Saver.
Aspen has hypotonia – again, very common in individuals with Down syndrome. So he tires a little more easily than you or me. That being said, Aspen LOVES to walk and run. But, I still bring along our carrier, stroller, Tush baby or Keenz wagon depending on the setting to help out my mama arms and his baby legs.
#3. Be Sensitive To Sound.
Sound sensory is something I have known about for awhile. I have it, Dayton has it and so does Aspen. If it gets too loud, we all tend to get a bit overwhelmed. For this reason, we try to avoid crowded places or go to our favorite spots during off hours or times of the year. (Notice I said try!) We’ve learned that Disneyland in September during “back to school” season = a dream. Hawaii during December = even more amazing. Zion bright and early = spectacular.
Also, keep in mind that weekday vacations typically mean less people which means less noise and activity, so we try for that whenever possible. And I always bring along beanies in case we need something to help muffle the sounds.
So don’t be afraid to travel if your little one happens to have an extra chromosome, too. Getting out there is the only way your babe will learn to adapt and help you all make the best memories possible.
Hi! I’m Tailynn! Boy mama to two wild, beautiful boys. One of whom happens to have an extra chromosome. I love advocating for my babies, photography, adventures & a good cup of coffee. I share bits & pieces of our life and spread Down syndrome awareness in my little corner of the internet @tailynnvictoria.