Traveling with children is hard enough but traveling with an infant is an entirely different experience.
Most new moms are unprepared when they need to travel with their new bundle. Whether it is by car, plane, or boat, these tips can prepare you for what to expect, what to bring, and keep you from overpacking on your trip.
So, take a deep breath, let that stress go, and make a note on these tips for traveling with your infant!
Check-in with your Pediatrician
If you are planning on traveling internationally with baby, be sure to do a checkup with your pediatrician at least two weeks prior to your trip. Why? Some countries require extra immunizations even in adults, so an infant would be much more vulnerable to diseases.
Your Pediatrician will help determine whether scheduled immunizations need to be moved up sooner or if a certain medicine should be taken prior to your departure. If you prefer to do research on your own, simply search online on the Centers for Disease Control website under the Traveler’s Health section.
Flying with Baby
Flying with a baby is no easy feat. Babies require a lot attention, food, diapering needs, and equipment. While traveling light is always the goal, at least make sure you have enough supplies to get baby to the destination. Here are some considerations for flying:
Rear-Facing Car Seat
While it may be a hassle to drag one onto the plane, it really is the safest way for your infant to travel. Make sure to determine your airline’s policies beforehand as you may need to purchase an additional ticket so that baby can have their own seat. Also, make sure to take the baby out every few hours, especially during long flights, so they can stretch their limbs and get a diaper change if needed.
Collapsible Baby Stroller
Most airlines allow you to bring your stroller right up to the gate and store it as a carry-on item. This is convenient for you so that the baby has somewhere to sit throughout the airport. Also, once you get off the plane, you have an immediate form of transportation for baby.
Another option for saving space and giving the baby a comfortable spot during travel is a baby carrier. Especially with infants under 6 months of age, they prefer laying on mom or dad’s chest to sleep. A baby carrier is a simple and easy solution and makes it easy to get baby on and off the plane, while also maneuvering him/her around during the plane ride.
Ask if your airline has a bassinet
If you are going abroad with a newborn, you are going to want them to be as comfortable as possible for the long flight. Call ahead of time to find out if your airline offers a bassinet. Calling ahead of time ensures you will get one for your baby as they typically have a limited amount of them available for both domestic and international flights.
Traveling with a little one can be an adventure all on its own! This is a time where that tablet might come in handy. When trying to keep baby happy on flights, make sure to pack a lot of their favorite snacks, puzzles, coloring books, and even a small, quiet toy or two that they enjoy. Try loading some kid-friendly games and movies on your tablet so they have something to stay busy with. If you have a picky infant or toddler and they are at the food-eating stage, its best to pack snacks you know they will eat!
Avoid issues with air pressure change
Most infants and babies do well with air pressure during takeoffs and landings if you make sure they are sucking something. Since infants can’t swallow, pop their ears, or yawn on command, this is the solution! Breastfeeding, a pacifier, or bottle are the best options for keeping your baby sucking during the change in pressure.
Taking baby to a Hotel
Hotels are wonderful, but not always fully suited for their miniature guests. Take these precautions when booking your hotel for you and your little one.
Check for safety
The standards of safety are different from country to country. You should do a thorough check of your room to ensure the railings are at appropriate heights and that the child cannot slip through. Check for exposed electrical wires or outlets and peeling paint chips.
If you have a toddler on the move, be especially detailed in checking the room. Little fingers discover all manner of things!
Does the hotel provide baby amenities?
If your hotel graciously provides amenities, such as a car seat or a bottle warmer, then you can leave those bulky items behind. Check ahead of time and see what your hotel has to offer in the form of infant care. Some hotels even have diaper pails, baby baths, and cribs.
Be cautious when using these amenities and make sure they are also up to safety standard. Search thoroughly and you will find the family-friendly hotel you love!
Going on a Road Trip!
Flying and driving with baby both have their own tricks of the trade for making sure your little one is safe, secure, and satisfied the duration of the trip. A lengthy road trip, or even a local one, does not have to be a hassle. Try some of these tips the next time you are ready to hit the road!
Take turns sitting in the back with your little one so you can help address any issues they have as they happen. You can cure boredom with songs and toys, give the baby a bottle, or know when its time to stop for a diaper change.
Also, try taking naps when the baby is snoozing on the trip if it's your turn in the backseat! This allows you to be well-rested when the driver is ready to switch.
Drive at night
Driving at night can make the trip a lot more enjoyable, especially with an infant. While it may be hard on the parents, try taking a rest before you hit the road and plan to leave right at baby’s bedtime. Go through the entire bedtime routine and snuggle baby up in the car seat.
Driving through the night maximizes drive time because your baby will spend more time sleeping and less time needing any feedings, entertainment, or diaper changes. Of course, that means you need to be prepared with a good day of rest and caffeine to avoid drowsy driving!
Plan to make stops
Face it—you may be able to go for long stretches, but you shouldn’t, and neither should your child. Taking breaks is essential for using the restroom, taking time to eat, and stretching your legs. Besides, as an adult, sitting too long in one spot cause poor circulation!
If you are driving during the day, you should plan to stop every 1 to 3 hours and during the night every 3 to 6 hours. Make sure you plan out your stops to avoid unnecessary stops which will slow down your trip. During your stop make sure to stock up on any missing supplies, use the restroom/change diapers, feed if necessary, and just let your little one stretch their legs a bit!
Keep the necessary supplies on hand
We’re sure you’ve packed just about half the nursery in your suitcases, but that is not very easy to get to while driving. To avoid digging through your luggage, keep a supply kit at arm’s length in your vehicle and stock it with:
- Portable changing pad with a few diapers
- Pack of wipes
- Pre-portioned formula or breastmilk in a cooler
- Two or three small toys
- Infant medicine, just in case
- Baby thermometer
- Portable sound machine
- An extra blanket
Consider making an adult kit too with all your favorite and essential road trip supplies!
When you must—call it quits
It’s okay to stop. If the baby is just being uncooperative or you and your partner are exhausted, pull over and stop. Find a place to rest and regroup the next day. No road trip is ever worth a cranky baby and exhausted parents! Sometimes a reset is all you need to get back on the road!
Have you traveled with a baby before?
Our readers would love to hear what worked for you! Do you have a tip you can give a new mama on what it is like traveling with an infant or toddler? Comment below and let us all know!