WHETHER it’s a trip overseas, a quick run to the country, or just a trip to the doctor’s office or clinic, when you have to travel with your baby it can be a big event that takes much planning. Even a simple trip to the clinic, for example, will have you doing a mental checklist so you don’t forget essentials, so just imagine doing a longer trip and actually forgetting something the baby needs.
What you need will include a list of essentials that all babies will require, as well as other items particular to your individual baby. Here are some real-life tips that will make packing up and travelling with baby a breeze.
Do not wait until the day that you need to leave to pack, even if your trip is in the evening or at night. Pack things like diapers, wipes and extra clothes from the night before so you’re not rushing when you’ll be faced with inevitable last-minute hold-ups – like a blowout that requires a diaper change. Do a mental checklist of all the items your baby uses daily and pack from that – and then a little extra, because if you don’t have access to laundry facilities you’ll be using twice as many rags and bibs and the like.
Don’t forget baby’s favourites
If your baby can’t sleep without his pacifier or favourite blanket, you should have already bought multiples of these and you should ensure that one or two are in the bag. The worst thing is to arrive at your location and then realise that you’ve forgotten the ‘binkie’, and then have to try to source one that the baby will accept.
Pack for where you’re going
Where you live may be warm 24/7, but where you’re going may not be. If the baby sleeps in a chemise at home because it’s hot, for example, and you’re going away for a hotel weekend, know that the room will be cooler, and so footed pajamas may be a better bet than the chemise. So pack for the location you’re going to, and not where you’re leaving. Also remember hats, socks and mosquito repellent.
Buy travel aides
You can get cold packs to buy on Amazon that you can freeze and then add to your cooler to transport your expressed breast milk, and you can also get bottle warmers if you’re travelling shorter distances and want to keep pre-made formula or warmed-up expressed milk warm. These items save you having to prepare milk from scratch, and make your life easier if you’re unable to prepare formula or breastfeed the baby. You should also consider investing in a removable car seat head support for your baby, so his head doesn’t fall uncomfortably to the front or side when travelling.
The last thing you want to have is issues when you arrive at your destination and then realise that you’re not prepared for something major. Example, what would you do if you arrive at your hotel room and there’s no kettle to boil your baby’s water or microwave to heat bottles? Instead of having to improvise or travel to the hotel kitchen to get hot water, you should expect these hiccups and bring along your own thermos, and other items like this.
Sometimes you have to improvise
If you’re staying in a hotel room then things can get quite interesting when it comes time to do things like bathe baby. If there’s no tub and you didn’t lug along your portable bath, the sink will have to do. Sometimes when travelling you have to improvise – unless you want to opt for an Airbnb where you will have access to a washer/dryer and a kitchen.
Prepare for interruptions
If you’re travelling by car, then prepare to stop somewhere along the way to give the baby relief from the car seat. Unless you have a super chill baby, the majority of them will get cranky if they’re buckled down in one position for too long. So prepare to make use of rest stops, and know that your journey will take a bit longer, as baby’s comfort is paramount.
Whether you have a newborn or an older infant, entertainment can mean the difference between you getting a migraine from baby’s screaming or you both enjoying the ride. Invest in a car seat toy that is attached to the handlebar or the car seat, or a mirror to attach to the headrest to keep baby entertained. Also, make sure you have a playlist of baby’s favourite tunes, and if you’re into screen time, a tablet attached to the back seat can entertain for hours. If you have an older baby, then crayons and colouring books should be a staple in your baby bag.
Stock up on diaper disposal bags
How do you dispose of your diapers at home? Do you just bin them as is, or do you put them in poly or paper bags first? If you’re travelling you will need to do the same, especially if you’ll use a public restroom to change your baby. So get a stack of poly bags or paper bags to wrap used diapers in.
Be a minimalist
If you’re travelling by air, the last thing you want to do is travel with every knick-knack. Lighter is better – so a travel stroller may be better than that bulky one you use at home, and so will a travel car seat. The lighter you travel, the better your life will be, because it’s no fun lugging loads of baby luggage, plus a squirming baby.
Now is not the time to experiment
If your baby is a bit older and is starting solids, travel time is not the time to experiment with new foods. Sure you may want baby to eat from the family pot, but food prepared by others might not rest well with your baby’s stomach. Traveller’s diarrhoea is bad enough for older people, but imagine having your baby experiment with some chicken then having to deal with vomitting and diarrhoea in a hotel room. So either stick to jar baby foods, or hold off until you get back home.
First aid kit
Don’t forget baby’s medication – trust us, this will be the time when there will be nicks and bites, runny noses and stomach issues. Take along baby’s medication, things like gripe water and gas drops, as well as extra diaper rash cream, hydrocortisone, baby-safe sunblock, thermometer and acetaminophen.