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Old 13-08-2017, 14:02   #1
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Cruising with a baby

Anyone that has spent some serious time afloat with a baby? Lot's of people sail with kids, however we're attempting to go cruising for some months with our son that will be just under a year old.

Naturally, I guess there will not be so much sailing, probably just short hops, but as we love living aboard we decided to try it again - even if the circumstances this time will be different. We're going to Turks and Bahamas this time, which I think will have reasonably temperature and provide the possibility of moving slowly and short distances.

I'm just looking to hear about your experiences. What to think hard about – dos and don'ts – as when living aboard and sailing with an infant.
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:54   #2
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Re: Cruising with a baby

Unhooked,

You've opened a sack of worms here. There are a number of CF'ers who think we shouldn't sail with babies, and you're likely to hear from them in force.

I personally know a number of people who have cruised with newborns, and nothing bad happened. These kids have now mostly grown up and are doing fine. My advice is to only listen to those who have done it, or have grown up as the kid.

Ann
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:59   #3
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Re: Cruising with a baby

We spent a year cruising from the Chesapeake to the Bahamas and back, with an 18 month old, and a 12 year old. Both daughters. The baby was the easier of the two.
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:19   #4
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Re: Cruising with a baby

bumfuzzles did. others did and succeeded and some failed. depends on the family.
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:53   #5
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Re: Cruising with a baby

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Unhooked,

You've opened a sack of worms here. There are a number of CF'ers who think we shouldn't sail with babies, and you're likely to hear from them in force.

I personally know a number of people who have cruised with newborns, and nothing bad happened. These kids have now mostly grown up and are doing fine. My advice is to only listen to those who have done it, or have grown up as the kid.

Ann
I'm going to word this carefully. I'm not going to tell them what they should or shouldn't do. What I will say is only my personal thoughts on what we would or would not do. I would not go on long cruises as described with a son just under one year old.

Here are my reasons. Babies that age are still subject to a lot of possible conditions and illnesses that being near quality medical care can make the difference on. Their immune systems are still so weak so very minor things can be life threatening. Then, between two and three years old as they gain mobility, the task of watching them all the time is a challenge. However, my biggest reason would be the weak immune systems of very young children. Now, that's just my cautious nature. I don't argue at all that many have done it. Some successfully, some not. I'd worry myself senseless. I'd probably do that with a baby anyway, but even more on a boat. I'm sure I'd be taking a baby to a doctor often when not needed, but I couldn't do that out sailing and that inability would bother me. My concern is if something did happen and I thought somehow cruising had an impact, the guilt, where deserved or not, would be overwhelming to me.

See, that's the big thing is to know yourselves. Know your tolerances. They're not the same for any two people so you should listen to all sides, but ultimately decide yourself. Just be sure it's right for you, because this desire to cruise with a one year old is all about the parents, it's not something to benefit the baby.
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Old 13-08-2017, 16:07   #6
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Re: Cruising with a baby

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unhooked View Post
Anyone that has spent some serious time afloat with a baby? Lot's of people sail with kids, however we're attempting to go cruising for some months with our son that will be just under a year old.

Naturally, I guess there will not be so much sailing, probably just short hops, but as we love living aboard we decided to try it again - even if the circumstances this time will be different. We're going to Turks and Bahamas this time, which I think will have reasonably temperature and provide the possibility of moving slowly and short distances.

I'm just looking to hear about your experiences. What to think hard about – dos and don'ts – as when living aboard and sailing with an infant.
Here are other threads or topics or discussions in CF about Children and Infants on boats. Plenty to read for comments, opinions, and experiences.

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...nts&gsc.page=1

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 13-08-2017, 16:28   #7
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Re: Cruising with a baby

OP - See if you can find a copy of "Love in a Nutshell" by Anita Leslie (wife of Bill King of Galway Blazer)
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Old 13-08-2017, 16:48   #8
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Re: Cruising with a baby

We have a couple in our Cruising club (CCCA) Coastal Cruising Club of Australia
who did a world circumnavigation on a 24ft top hat and had 2 babies on the way. The eldest son has also just completed a world circumnavigation in a Top Hat, so salt water in the veins. Jan published a book about the experience and is called 2 in a Top Hat by Jan Mitchell.

I might add this cruise was done many years ago before all modern conveniences were available. As said before it all depends on the parents.

Best of luck
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Old 13-08-2017, 18:02   #9
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Re: Cruising with a baby

I write as a full time cruiser and a pediatrician who used to run a pediatric intensive care unit...

Because of the dire consequences of a baby getting seriously ill when out of reach of first world medicine I am not an advocate of taking babies off-shore.

However, if you stay in reach of good medical services, as you will in the Bahamas, I do not see a reason for staying home. Miami to Bimini is a safe overnight trip.

I would have the baby check by a pediatrician to eliminate any potential problems, immunizations should be up to date and I would have medical repatriation insurance or the money to pay for the service. You need some kind of flotation device for the baby and you should wear a life jacket yourself when in the dinghy with the baby.

While at times I appear very conservative spending 20 years at the sharp edge of pediatric medicine including organ retrievals in brain dead pediatric near-drownings tends to make you that way.

Have a great cruise.
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Old 13-08-2017, 18:51   #10
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Re: Cruising with a baby

Babies can't generate enough heat to keep warm. Many nights I had to sleep on my back with baby tucked in my arm.
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Old 14-08-2017, 09:18   #11
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Re: Cruising with a baby

I have no personal experience, other than meeting families cruising with children. I'd suggest reading the book "Voyaging with Kids - A Guide to Family Life Afloat". It is a compendium put together by a number of current sailing cruisers, sharing their experiences sailing with their kids. Another resource is the sailing blog by a family with three young children sailing in the Caribbean: "Windtraveler" (Windtraveler.net). Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 14-08-2017, 09:29   #12
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Re: Cruising with a baby

We returned to cruising when our daughter was 14 months old. Sailed the Atlantic, Caribbean. S. America and ended up in Florida. Parents there told us that our daughter was missing out on school so we took her to one. The head teacher asked her what she had been doing and what she had seen. By the time Emma told her where she had been and about seeing whales etc, the teacher said, " you have learned more than we could have taught you here". I can´t remember our daughter ever being ill or needing a doctor until she went to school. The 3 of us being constantly together on an adventure was a wonderful experience for all of us. Go for it.
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Old 14-08-2017, 11:32   #13
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Re: Cruising with a baby

We did it, no drama. Bahamas and western Caribbean first few years of our youngest's life then across the Pacific when she was 4.

Wouldn't trade those years for the world.
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Old 14-08-2017, 12:44   #14
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Re: Cruising with a baby

Thanks! Great to hear. We're swedish and as you probably know we're the most safety conscious people on earth. We actually switched plans from Los Roques to Turks & Caicos more or less just because we wanted to be sure to get hold of medicine as supply in Venezuela is rumoured to be seriously scarce.

And even for the sail up to Turks from the BVI I'll do it myself, probably with a friend, and mother and child will go by plane.

Will for sure check out the suggested books and blogs. :-)
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Old 14-08-2017, 12:50   #15
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Re: Cruising with a baby

Met a young sweedish couple in the Keil Cannal last month who had a young baby with them , heading for the Med , nice folk , nice boat
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