Congratulations! You are adventurous enough to start traveling with your new bundle of joy! I know this might seem daunting, even if it’s just a quick trip to the nearest town or staying the weekend at Grandma’s house, but this milestone is a lot more manageable than you might think.
- Pack smart.
The one thing that can make your trip a disaster from the start is if you forget diapers, or a pacifier, or wipes, or anything of utmost importance to you and the care of your baby. Another helpful packing tip: try to aim and pack the car the night before you leave. Packing the car after the baby goes down the night before leaving reduces the departure-time stress and will also help everything move along swiftly.
- Diapers: Preferably one for each hour you’ll be in transit, plus extras in case of delays.
- Changing Pad to put under your baby during diaper changes.
- Blankets: Just in case bring a few to use to lay your baby on, cover your baby, cover yourself if you’re nursing, protect your clothes from messy burps, shade your baby, and more.
- Plastic bags: carry a variety of sizes for storing soiled diapers, clothes, and blankets.
- Diaper rash cream
- Extra pacifiers (if your baby uses one)
- One to two outfits per day is a good guideline.
- Sun hat
- Formula, water, and juice if appropriate with extra bottles, nipples, and sippy cups if appropriate.
- Energy-boosting snacks for you to munch on: you need to keep up your energy too!
- Baby pain reliever and supplies for treating minor injuries
- Sling or front carrier
- Portable crib or play yard
- Car seat for safer travel by car or plane
- Collapsible stroller: so it can be gate-checked or stored in the overhead bin of an airplane.
- Know your airport regulations
First of all, babies need passports! If you’re traveling outside the country, remember to leave yourself ample time to get your baby a passport and passport photo. Airlines like Delta will allow you to “lap” your child for free without a ticket if he or she is under 2 and you’re traveling within the U.S., but you still need to get a ticket and pay taxes/fees if you’re traveling internationally.
Most importantly, TSA allows you to carry on breast milk, formula, and baby food, as well as medically necessary liquids and gels in “reasonable quantities” exceeding 3.4 ounces. So feel free to pack whatever your baby needs to eat or drink on your flight and/or stash a nursing cover in your diaper bag.
- You don’t have to board early. Remember that it takes 30-plus minutes for everyone else to board, and all of that is just extra time your child will be spending in a cramped seat getting antsy. Board the plane when there are few passengers left in line.
- Sit at a window seat. Being at the window seat prevents squirmy arms and legs from stretching out into the aisles where flight attendants and other passengers are constantly walking back and forth.
- Feed baby during take-off and landing. Due to the changes in cabin pressure, it’s a good idea to nurse or bottle-feed your baby during the ascent and descent. This forces them to swallow and helps keep the ears open.
- Bring the entertainment with you. Pack a few of your baby’s favorite toys and books from home. Not only will they keep him entertained in the car and/or flight, but they can also help pass time in a hotel room and make him feel a little more secure, as his normal routine is disrupted.
- Try and establish a sleeping and eating routine.
When traveling with little ones, they are often jet-lagged, cranky, and plain tired. Try to establish a bedtime routine/ set time in addition to afternoon naps to the best of your ability. Whether it be putting the stroller umbrella down over baby and letting him nap while you’re strolling or taking some time to relax in the hotel room while he’s sleeping- make sure your baby gets his zzz’s! In addition to sleep, regular feeding is important. It is easy to get carried away with sightseeing/ activities, but your baby will be confused and hungry making him be cranky and screaming. ANd do your future self a favor and make sure not to forget his mid-afternoon snack!