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Old 12-02-2007, 11:29 PM   #1
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Infant in an Airstream?

Hello. We are considering living fulltime, for up to nine months out of the year for the next few years, with a newborn. I am four months pregnant and am trying to decide if this is incredibly foolish to attempt. It would certainly cut down on the amount of baby crap we would have around, which would suit us fine. I am wondering if anyone out there has infant/baby experiences to share? Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:51 PM   #2
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We weekend camped w/ our son in our MH. What size AS do you have or are you thinking about doin' this in?
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:55 PM   #3
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hi mvanmeter and welcome to the forums...

looks like 2008 will be a big year 4 u!

it might be useful to explain more about your airstream plan and vision...

-what is the motivation for this adventure?

-will you be parked or traveling?

-rv park, trailer park, neighbors back yard or somewhere in slippery gulch america?

-urban or rural?

-new or used unit?

-how many people and dogs?

-first bambino?

-rv experience?

-working or stay at home or job situation ?

-how well do you handle 'surprises'?

and so on....

reducing baby crap has something to do with feeding i think

cheers and all the best.

2air'

and IF you need some baby name suggestions, i'm sure the members here can help!
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:03 AM   #4
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Hello...yes, more info is in order! We are new to Airstreams, but are avid campers. We are looking at a 19' International or a 20' Safari as its all our FJ Cruiser can tow and we don't want to replace the car. Its also our first baby. We would be parking in an RV park and staying put, in the Los Angeles area, while my husband works. I would be doing some work from home, over the computer. We also have two mid-size dogs who have been traveling with us all their lives. We are good at living with very little "stuff" and would welcome that. I am mainly wondering if anyone out there has lived with a baby in an Airstream, and has any advice they can share. Thanks so much! mvm
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVanMeter
I am four months pregnant and am trying to decide if this is incredibly foolish to attempt.
i'm never one to tell somebody something is foolish BUT since you asked, yes this is a very foolish idea.

my wife and i had our first baby 16 months ago. it's been hard enough in a 900 s.f. 2 bedroom 1 bath house. the baby is going to completely disrupt your lives (in a good way i might add). the idea of liviing with a newborn in a 19' trailer is crazy. i might clarify i'm an avid backpacker and can minimalist camp with the best of them BUT a baby needs a lot of stuff and i don't mean toys, i mean diapers, wipes, clean water, clothes, blankets, warmth, love, etc.

if this is something you have to do for financial reasons or whatever, then you need to do it. people raise babies in a lot less desirable situations. however, is this is something that is by choice, i'd say it's a poor choice.

the first year of a child's life are so fragile and precious that you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your child is in as safe and comfortable an environment as possible, free of as much dust and dirt and dog hair as possible.

i'd suggest waiting a few years but whichever you may choose, make sure to enjoy everyday with your new baby because it goes so fast. good luck
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:28 AM   #6
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Haven't lived with a baby in an Airstream, but have lived with babies...And one thing to keep in mind is that their metabolism is very speedy. They get sick faster and get well faster than we do. So it's pretty important that you have some good resources immediately available when you need them. The "watchful waiting" program that adults often use isn't usually the most prudent route for a babe. Will you have a good pediatrician close by?
Once their health is dialed in as a priority, the rest is up to you. Crying, fussy nights, dog fir, poopy diaper disposal...You'll have to work out the logistics to suit your own citeria. Just keep that little tyke's health as your compass. And by the way, a thriving infant is a direct reflection of mom's well-being. You need to be sure that this arrangement allows for plenty of rest for you, too. Sleep deprivation is not a good thing, especially when it involves care of a little one. I'd wait a year or two, if possible, before you take this step with such precious cargo in tow.
Best of luck,
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:31 AM   #7
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It's about 300 square feet at best. You are probably looking for somebody that has already driven down that road and I would too. I can promise you this, if I was forced to live in my Airstream with a new born, or 3 for that matter, it would work fine. You've got to just decide if you want to do that and it's not the Airstream that even comes into question. You have hot water, heat, AC, shower, a place to store food, etc but the part you're searching for is if there is enough space. Well, it is what it is...bout 250-300 SF depending on model. Ummm, could be interesting but fun too.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:54 AM   #8
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19-20 ft is a REALLY small trailer for full timing, even with one adult and no dogs.

the bed and galley and bathroom are ALL compromises. so is the water capacity and heat and a/c.

now IN or NEAR L.A. means mild (smoggy) weather.

folks with small units manage because they create an OUTDOOR space as large/larger than the trailer.

more living space add to the quality of life.

finding a parking spot is a big issue. how close in and north/south/east of the area are issues.

it would be better to get a bigger unit and rent a tow vehicle to get it parked.

then use the toyota for transportation.

IF/WHEN you move, rent again and take it to another location.

a new a/s isn't cheap along with parking and supplies and insurance, but neither are apartments in socal..

urbanfood has given you very very wise council, so have the others here. we obviously care about your situation.

what we don't know it just how determined you are to do this. any obstacle can be overcome by a determined soul...

here is another young family, with a CUTE baby and bambi.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/374502-post203.html

they don't full time but i've camped with them several times. 2 adults, 1 baby and 1 small dog.

it's been an absolute joy to watch their little guy grow. he loves sleeping in the airstream.

you might p.m her for their personal experience.

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:18 AM   #9
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:42 AM   #10
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I live in a 31ft sovereign 1978.model since 2001summer.
in 2006,,baby was born,,,soon 2years old.
YEs, I recomend you to choice 31ft!rear full bath.
and NEW or Clean up roof Airconditioner.
GOOD luck!
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
19-20 ft is a REALLY small trailer for full timing, even with one adult and no dogs.

the bed and galley and bathroom are ALL compromises. so is the water capacity and heat and a/c.


it would be better to get a bigger unit and rent a tow vehicle to get it parked.

then use the toyota for transportation.

cheers
2air'
When my youngest (now 18) was a newborn, we had a 23' Safari Special. I had full-timed in the trailer for about a year before we were married. I did it for much the same reasons as you mention; it was an inexpensive way to live (in 1987) in San Diego. One of the challenges you'll face today is finding a park that you'd be willing to live in that doesn't cost you as much (or more) for lot space as apartment rent. RV/trailer park monthly rent has skyrocketed in SoCal as the land values have climbed. Some trailer parks don't allow long-term live-in travel-trailers by policy; some by zoning.

I can tell you that it's a challenge for a 30 something to live in 23' full-time (with a small dog). We used it frequently even after the baby was born and our herd of kids varied from one to three (hers, mine, and ours; initially ages newborn to six) depending on where and when we went. The Safari worked well for camping, but my wife and I were pretty frazzled after a few days in the trailer with the newborn. I think that from ages one to three are even worse as there's not much room for the baby to roam and explore, and that age gets cranky pretty quickly when they're cooped up.

The beds in the small trailers are small, and the dinette (or couch as mine had) isn't particularly comfortable. Storage is precious. There really wasn't enough hanging clothes storage for me alone (full-timing, and I was in a sports-coat/slacks and/or uniform occupation) much less for a family of three. Propane needs to be filled in the winter (I was in San Diego and used the furnace and water heater a LOT). The bathroom is tiny, and there is no tub for baby washing; just a shower in most of the small trailers. A porta-crib takes up most of the walking room. We were fortunate in the Safari to have the couch as it allowed for more floor space than the dinette for a porta-crib.

I have a 25' trailer now, and it would be the absolute minimum length I'd consider for full-timing, and even it doesn't have a tub.

If you're serious about this, I think that 2air's advice is sound. You'll find that even a 34' will fill up pretty quickly with necessities, but a trailer from 28' to 34' would offer you a much better and more comfortable living arrangement depending on the floorplan. There is more room for hanging clothes. The galleys are better equipped and larger, the baths have more room (important full-timing with a baby), and they have a queen bed which is important when you need your rest. They carry larger propane tanks so you won't need to fill them as often.

The only downside is that you won't be able to pick up and move at a moment's notice 'cause the FJ just won't be enough truck to do it, but you said you'd intended to let the trailer stay put anyway.

The attached photo is of my wife and my now 18 year old son (then a month or so old around August of 1989) at Morro Bay with our Safari 23'.

Good luck and keep us informed!

Roger
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:04 AM   #12
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virtually baby proofed

Although I personally couldn't imagine raising our two kids in an airstream, I also couldn't imagine full timing at this point in my life either.

With that said we take week long trips with our infant and 3 year old and have no problems. One nice feature of an airstream is it is already baby proofed. There are very few modifications or safety changes to make.

A couple of things we consider differently since having kids is outdoor space and a good latch for the screen door. We often carry a dining tent with a floor to give more space. The screen door needs to latch securely to prevent the infant from leaning on the screen and falling out

As for the diaper genie, I would be committed to taking the diaper out to an outside trash can. There are times we can't bear the genie in a full size house.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:02 AM   #13
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #14
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There is a lot of good information to consider here already, but I thought I'd add a little something anyway.

Because this is your first child, I would like to offer a gentle warning... your relationship with your husband is going to change quite dramatically, and with the pressure and stress of small quarters and sleepless nights... it might be tough (to put it mildly).

I was lucky, in that my babies (all 3) were all very mild tempered as infants. They were content to be held and nursed, held and nursed... you get the idea. Two of my dearest friends, however, weren't so fortunate and they had screamers. Unless they walked the halls, they would cry. I would hate to be stuck in an airstream with an inconsolable baby- I get tense just thinking about the neighbors and all that. However, if you have to do it- then you have to- and to make it work will take a lot of forgiveness and patience.

When camping with our son, I slept with him (no crib) and when he awoke (every 2 hours) I was right there to put him back to sleep (no bottles). I also had an Ergo backpack/frontpack (highly recommended- all canvas, folds to size of a sweatshirt- can be used well into toddler-hood) to keep him close and happy during the day.

To me, it all depends on the neccessity of this, how generous a person is as a mother- no room for resentments-, and how committed you and yours are to making it work. Even in a huge house, you will need a lot of support and love from Dad, because as Janet said, your baby's health (growth, happiness)will be a direct reflection on yours.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:08 PM   #15
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Congratulations! Is it to soon to ask if its a boy or girl?

When my first child was born, I was full timing in a 22' self contained MH, by my self. (I was no longer with his mother.) I took my son every weekend.

To answer your question. Yes it can be done. I had to take the garbage out often (diaper odor), and sometimes right away! The biggest challenge I had, was sleeping. I couldn't fit a crib in my MH, so I would lay him down on my bed, between the wall, and me. This ment that I had to lay down even for naps so that he wouldn't roll off. At night I didn't sleep very well because I was terrified that I might roll over on him.

After a couple of months, of weekends only, I got an apartment. The apartment was much better for an infant, even though I only had my son on the weekends.

Again, congratulations on your new baby! Keep us informed about the important stuff. You know; boy or girl, how much did your child weigh.
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:19 PM   #16
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great advice roger (and tanya) and i love those 20 year old airstream/baby pics!

sharowcat...

CUTE baby! and cool google earth-like photo!

your 31 must have center bunks, so the crib adaptation is perfect

and doesn't block the center walkway.

plus you've got that little 'tub' in the bath room which works very well.

keep 'em coming folks, real life stories, the daily issues and the joys...

will give the op a clear image of what she faces.

this could become a keeper thread!

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:39 PM   #17
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Congratulations on your soon to be born child!

I'm going to agree with 2Airishuman. He's right about getting a bigger unit. I fulltimed happily in a 22ft CCD for a year... and then the walls started closing in. Bought a 25 Safari FB SE (and then the B...... at Airstream came out with a 27 FB SE). It was just me. No pets, no husband, no baby.

People can do many very difficult things when it's necessary - and if you HAVE to live in a trailer it isn't necessarily awful.

Now I shall commit heresy: At your stage in marriage/pregnancy/life - is an Airstream the best choice? (I totally GET why the Airstream appeals to you.) I'd say this is one case where a SOB might be MUCH better. You can find LOTS of SOB's for sale... fifth wheels with slideouts that will give you double or triple the space of an Airstream. There are also "park model" trailers for well... trailer parks. Airstream living isn't cheap compared to SOB living. If your goal is to save money NOW, then maybe the Airstream should wait 2, 3, or 4 years until your little one is bigger and can really appreciate CAMPING with you.

Paula Ford

PS: and let us see pictures of the baby!

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Old 12-03-2007, 02:15 PM   #18
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My wife and I travelled over 1800 miles with our 6 month old daughter and 2 year old sun last April towing our 68' Overlander and boondocking almost every night. Lots of bottles, lots of pit-stops, lots of diapers but also lots of fun. If the weather had been severe and our outddor space limited, it would have been a different story. I can set up and dismantle a pack and play in 15 seconds flat.

We still do a lot of camping and long weekend trips with the kids and dog in our 08' 28 footer but it takes serious space maximization and planning to make it happen with any degree of relaxation. If we were gong to full time with the children it would need to be in a fairly established and consistent location where we could rely on access to necessities, healthcare, etc. versus being on the road for long stretches.

Many of the previosu comments are excellent for your consideration. I wish you the best and applaud your weighing of the options before diving in.

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Old 12-03-2007, 04:31 PM   #19
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Tanya offered very helpful and thoughtful advice in her post. We have just one 3-year-old daughter and have only recently purchased our Airstream for camping trips. We chose an older 27’ model. It is still going to feel small for us but our truck can tow it… barely. Like Tanya’s kids, our Sammi Jo was an easy baby (thank you God) and today is a well behaved toddler but she is BUSY, BUSY, and BUSY.

I have to agree with 2Airishuman on getting a bigger trailer. My wife and I owned a 1972 ’31 Boles Aero for many years (before the baby). Although we never fulltimed it, we spent many long weekends and vacations in our beloved Foil Boil at a Colorado River “resort”. Since there were no Airstreams nearby, we had by far the coolest trailer in the park. Trust me; I totally get the Airstream thing. If for any reason I were to live in a trailer the only color would be silver.

If you are going to give this an attempt, my advice is don’t buy a trailer you plan on living in based on your current tow vehicle. You need more room than a 20’ can provide. We never owned anything capable of towing our ’31 but had buddies that moved it to our park in exchange for gas money and adult beverages.

Congratulations to you and your new family! Nothing that anyone can tell you will prepare you for all the precious joy to come.
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:33 PM   #20
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Okay, back to your informational post...
Quote:
Originally Posted by MVanMeter
We are looking at a 19' International or a 20' Safari as its all our FJ Cruiser can tow and we don't want to replace the car. Its also our first baby. We would be parking in an RV park and staying put, in the Los Angeles area, while my husband works. I would be doing some work from home, over the computer. We also have two mid-size dogs who have been traveling with us all their lives. We are good at living with very little "stuff" and would welcome that. I am mainly wondering if anyone out there has lived with a baby in an Airstream, and has any advice they can share. Thanks so much! mvm
If you are planning on staying put, I certainly wouldn't let your TV limit your trailer size. Why not go for a larger trailer? I don't have kids, but I do have a 19' & a 22' trailer and I wouldn't consider full-timing with a spouse, baby & two dogs for any length of time in either one. Maybe the 22-footer, but it too would get real small, real fast. The thing with the small trailers is that there is no room to get away from each for "personal space". The "nineteen feet" of a 19-foot Airstream is really only about 16' because it includes the bumper & tongue. So, 8'x16'=128 sq. ft. for a 19-footer and a 20-footer is only slightly larger. And within this 128 sq. ft. you have the bare necessities and many things are intended for mutli-functional use. The dinette &/or sofa doubles as "a bed" and the dinette doubles as worksurface for food prep and a desk. The "real bed" is small and oftentimes in a corner so getting up in the middle of the night to tend to the baby means "everybody" is awake. Not to mention getting two dogs involved in the propositon. I would definately go with a larger trailer it you are determined to make a go of it - at least one with separate sleeping & living areas and more storage. Keep in mind, foot-for-foot, the older trailers are lighter than the newer ones...

As far as towing, I'm not an expert...but I think even your FJ Cruiser (a 4L V6 with a 5000 lb towing capacity) would be under-sized for a 19-20 foot trailer. When we first got our trailer we had a Jeep Cherokee that was supposed to be able to tow 5000lbs...yeah, it could move it but not tow it well or safely. So if you are determined to give full-timing a try...I would really reconsider a few things.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

Shari
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