Are you traveling with your baby soon? Well… You haven’t known packing until you’ve packed for baby!
Once you’ve had a baby, traveling can get a bit challenging. You pack a million things with you but you end up forgetting some of the most important for your baby.
My little daughter is 8 months now and I, along with my husband, planned to go on our very first extended road trip (with the baby) to the North of India.
Frankly, it wasn’t easy because Misha is used to the comfort of her home. And thanks to this trip, I learned a lot of things about traveling with a baby for the first time.
Based on my experience and 14 days of mountain goodness with Misha, here are my top tips for anyone traveling with a baby to avoid any unpleasant and/or unexpected situations…
Traveling With A Baby – My Top Tips For Anyone Planning To Travel With A Baby For The First Time…
1. Plan Ahead
I cannot stress this enough. You may have made all your travel plans spontaneously before but when you have a baby you have to make sure you plan way ahead of your travel.
The biggest reason being you cannot get everything ready for a baby in just a matter of hours or even one day to be honest.
It took us a whole week of planning… From organising the routes we would take to the hotels we would stay at overnight.
It really was a little overwhelming because Misha’s comfort was our top most priority… And the thing about traveling with a baby is that the road trip cannot be uncomfortable at all.
The baby needs their comfort at all times, else, they might end up getting cranky, making driving all the more difficult.
So plan ahead so that you know exactly when and where you’ll be halting.
As for my experience, since we were in a mountainous area, there was extended driving without any stops and it did bother Misha being stuck in one position in the car seat.
So we would pull over (where it was safe) and I would pick her up and let her stretch her body for a bit.
I felt guilty for causing discomfort to our little baby but considering we travel quite often, I thought it was necessary for her to get used to it.
In case you are thinking of traveling long term with your baby, don’t forget to check out our post on extended travel with a baby.
2. Pack Enough But Not Too Much
When it comes to packing for a baby, more is less. But this doesn’t mean you need to pack even the non-essential items.
First, here are the absolute necessary can’t-do-without things…
- A diaper bag which includes enough diapers (of course), a changing mat, wet wipes, a hand towel to dry the baby’s tush, a face towel, tissues, feeding bottles, formula (just in case breast feeding isn’t possible), water bottle, baby cream, diaper rash cream, baby powder, a sun hat.
- At least 2 sets of clothing for a day of traveling because your baby’s clothes are going to get dirtier than you can imagine. I packed 10 sets which I could get washed at the hotel when we would stop overnight. I packed another 20 something shorts and leggings because I wanted to make sure I gave my baby some air time from the diapers.
- A pram – for when you want to simply take your baby out on a walk
- A baby carrier – helped a lot on our trek
- Baby’s favourite rattles and toys to keep her busy
- Munchkin baby fruit feeder – an absolute joy for parents traveling with teething babies
I did not buy a large pack of diapers because I knew I could get them on the way as and when required. So that saved a lot of space.
AND, whatever skin care products I used, I made sure they were travel friendly.
3. No Need For A Portable Baby Bed Or Bassinet
If you’ve ever heard about the benefits of co-sleeping, you would want to skip sleeping your baby in their crib.
When you’re traveling with a baby, you already have so much to carry with you that packing anything extra makes you think twice.
I would suggest that you share your bed with your baby at least when you’re traveling…
One of the reasons is also that your baby may find a new place overwhelming and take time to adjust. So you might want to make sure that you keep your baby feeling safe and comfortable by co-sleeping with them.
While a bassinet or a portable bed seems like a great idea, you’ll soon feel that it’s not one of the best ideas.
Consider co-sleeping, unless of course, the hotel you’re staying at provides a comfortable baby crib…
This is coming from a mother who has been co-sleeping with her baby since day 1 and only uses the crib for play activities.
That said, when it does come time to stop co-sleeping (cause you can’t do it forever, no matter how much easier it is), Katherine Rosman shares some great tips to get bub sleeping in their own bed.
4. Don’t Forget Carry-ons
When you’re traveling with a baby, you must ensure that you have some of the essential items within easy reach.
Whether you’re traveling by air or by road, I recommend having a small carry bag to easily access things for both yourself and your baby.
Apart from my huge diaper bag with my important baby things, I had a separate small carry-on bag which had things like 3-4 diapers, small pack of baby wipes, a set of clothing, Misha’s favourite toy, 2 feeding bottles, a sippy cup, hand towel and some formula in a small container.
Because there’s a lot that goes into a baby’s bag, it’s not really feasible to open it mid-way and try to find your way through the many things in there…
So a small, compact carry-on bag that you can keep within easy reach really helps a lot when you’re traveling with a baby.
5. Carry Your Breast Pump If You Exclusively Breastfeed
Breastfeeding while traveling can be a little tricky, especially when you’re driving to your destination with your baby.
And since I’m very particular about not reducing my milk supply (even though I do not exclusively breastfeed anymore), I make sure that I carry my breast pump if I’m traveling for more than a day.
Now the most important tip is that an electric breast pump may not be as comfortable to use as a manual one. I found the manual hand pump very convenient as there isn’t a lot of equipment to carry with it.
Manual breast pumps are less expensive than the electric ones and do the same job as the latter. The only thing is that with the former your hands are occupied while you’re at it.
I was carrying the feeding bottles anyway and if I did use the pump once or twice, I stored all the milk in them. This also made me give Misha way less formula because I had to use the pumped milk to save it from going bad.
So yes, traveling with a baby can be a nerve-wrecking experience for sure, but it sure is an experience you’ll learn so much out of!
These were my top tips for traveling with a baby… If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments section! Or perhaps you’ve traveled with your baby already… What are your views? Would you add anything to this list? Let’s chat in the comments below…
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