5 Tips for Traveling with Baby

Mother Putting Baby Son Into Car Travel Seat

If you have a new baby, you may be headed off on your first family trip together over your winter vacation.  Exciting times, but also some that could cause new parents a lot of angst and anxiety.  Traveling with baby is absolutely doable – yes, even if yours is fussy and unpredictable.  You’ll want to be prepared and have a good attitude to ensure a pleasant journey for everyone.  We’re helping you do that by sharing 5 tips for traveling with baby:

Tip #1:  Think it Through

Sorry to break it to you – gone are the days where you can grab your coat and sunglasses and head off on a whimsical trip to wherever you want.  Or at least not for awhile while you’re traveling with baby.  Now you need to play the responsible parent and think through your trips, even daytrips or overnight outings.  That means selecting a spot that is kid-friendly, figuring out the most convenient method of traveling and ensuring you bring along everything you need.

As you are planning your trip, think through every stage including what it will be like on your flight or car trip, the baby gear you should have available at all times, where your baby will sleep and food for your baby if you’re not still exclusively breastfeeding.  And don’t forget to pack your own stuff too!  Work with your partner to mentally walk through every part of your vacation to be super prepared for a terrific trip.  Also, if you will experience a time change during your trip, prep your baby by altering her sleep times slightly before you leave to help her quickly adjust.

Tip #2:  Make Safety a Priority

You may have the baby-proofing down pat at your house, but traveling to a new place presents a new range of safety issues.  Bring along some supplies like outlet covers, cabinet locks and soft corners to ensure safety while traveling with baby.  Hotels may have some of these items available upon request and you can also ask grandparents to help you prepare for safety as well if you will be staying with them.  Don’t forget the big items either, like car seats and crib safety.

Tip #3:  Create a Home away from Home

The quicker you find a rhythm at your destination, the easier the trip will be for everyone.  Unpack immediately and designate a play space, changing station and “kitchenette” where you can store and clean feeding supplies.  Act like you own the place and make it yours even for the short time you will be there.  Admittedly, this is more difficult in a small hotel room than a friend or relative’s house.  But it can and should be done for everyone’s sake.  Get creative.  If a bathroom or closet are large enough to accommodate the crib, let baby sleep in that dark quiet space to allow more room in your living space.

Tip #4:  Take Breaks and Help Everyone Sleep Comfortably

If you are feeling stiff and bored on a long car or plane ride, your baby probably is too.  Get up and move around as much as your travel plans can accommodate.  While driving, take frequent breaks to get fresh air and feed your baby at her appropriate times.  On plane rides, walk around and let your baby see and experience all that an airplane has to offer.  Try to keep your baby on her regular sleep schedule.  This may require some fancy moves on your part to ensure she gets in her naps even while traveling.  Try wearing your baby, taking her on a car drive or even rocking her to sleep, even if you typically do not do that.  A rested and happy baby on vacation is worth breaking a few of your own rules.

Tip #5:  Breathe and be Flexible

Relax a bit – this is your vacation too, after all.  Between the stress of making sure you have covered everything your baby needs and anxiety over being in a new environment, do try to take some time to breathe and enjoy your trip.  This often requires being flexible and rolling with the punches.  Chances are not everything will go as planned and you may have different opinions and influences to contend with along the way.  If you have a positive, chill attitude about it, things will go much smoother for everyone, especially your baby.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!