The thought of taking your baby on a family vacation probably sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time. When it comes to babies, getting there is definitely not half the fun. An upcoming flight can make you think of a screaming baby driving all the other passengers crazy, with no way to escape. A road trip brings up thoughts of stopping at every rest stop to calm a child frantic to get out his car seat, making the trip take twice as long as planned. But fear not, with a few simple tips you can get from point A to point B relatively painlessly. Being prepared should be your motto and read on for the top 7 tips for traveling with your baby.
Tip #1 – Bring plenty of food
Whether you are nursing, your baby is on formula, or eating finger foods, bringing plenty of food en route is key. If you are flying you may be worried how your baby’s ears will handle the change in pressure during the plane’s ascent and particularly the descent. Everyone remembers a flight they were on where they were sitting near a child screaming with ear pain. Children aren’t easily able to pop their own ears so the easiest way to help them is by making sure they are either eating or sucking. If your baby is breastfeeding or sucking on a bottle this will help immensely. A soother is also a great tool for ear pressure. It also helps to calm your baby so she won’t get as upset even if her ears do plug a little. Older babies can be given snacks to help with the pressure. Snacks are also a great way to keep your older baby amused during long flights. Put out a few tasty snacks at a time and you can keep your baby entertained for hours.
Tip #2 – Bring plenty of diapers and a change of clothes
There is nothing worse than being caught with a diaper blowout and no change of clothes on hand. Well, it could be worse. You could be on a plane. There is no quick store to run into to grab a change of clothes for your baby so make sure you come prepared. Extra wipes, diapers, and at least, one if not two changes of clothing are a must.
Tip #3 – Bring new toys
Anything new is sure to hold your baby’s interest for a little while. Some parents rely on a small bag full of new toys to entertain their tots, especially during long flights. You don’t need to spend a fortune on new toys though. Bringing even a few dollar store items that your baby has never seen is a great way to keep her entertained. Choose items that are safe for her age group and small enough to bring on board.
Tip #4 – Bring a lightweight stroller and/or a baby carrier
No matter where you are traveling you don’t want to be carrying your baby around in your arms or in her bucket car seat the entire trip. Don’t bring your gigantic stroller system either. A lightweight umbrella stroller is all you need. If you don’t have one already you can buy one from any department or baby store for around $20. This way if the stroller gets wrecked you’re not out a lot of money. Carriers are also fantastic for trips, especially if you’re going sightseeing. If your baby is getting older, and you’re still using one of the carriers like the Baby Bjorn that puts most of the baby’s weight on your shoulders, consider an upgrade. Carriers like the Ergo put your baby’s weight on your hips, making it easy and comfortable to carry her for hours at a time. Babies will often fall asleep in carriers, finding the movement relaxing. This is a great way to avoid spending nap time sitting in a hotel room. With a comfortable carrier, your baby can nap and you can get out and see the sights.
Tip #5 – Road trip at night
If you’re planning a long road trip you may be wondering how to keep your baby entertained for hours while they are stuck in their car seat. Many parents swear by night travel to get from point A to point B as quickly as they can. If you’re comfortable driving at night and have a partner you can switch off with if you get tired, this might be the way for you to travel.
Tip #6 – Stick to your routine
At home, you probably have a routine for your baby. Bath at a certain time, followed by books, a snuggle, and then bed. It’s best to stick to your routine as closely as possible. Your baby might be confused by new surroundings but if you keep her routine similar to what she is used to she should adjust much quicker.
Tip #7 – Be Prepared
No matter where you go always have diapers, a change of clothing, snacks, games, and first aid supplies with you. Traveling can be unpredictable at the best of times and the more ready for that you are the better off you and your baby will be.