If you plan to fly or take a road trip with your baby, you’d better buckle up, gather your strength and get prepared for the long ride ahead. Though you can’t control everything that happens at the airport, in-flight, or during the car ride, there are a few things you can do to make the travel day more relaxed and more comfortable for you, your baby, and everyone else around you. Traveling with kids is difficult; here are 10 tips you can use for a successful travel experience!
1. Make a Checklist
If you want some peace of mind, don’t ever pack your carry-on bag without a checklist. We recommend you start packing a few days in advance. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to pack all your baby gear. Here’s a list of necessities that you should never leave behind:
- Diapers and wipes – You need to have enough diapers and wipes for travel time plus extra. Your flight might get delayed; your car can get a puncture, etc. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Also, bring a roll of doggy poop bags in your diaper bag to contain the soiled diapers just in case you have to change them indoor or mid-flight.
- Change of clothes – Babies and toddlers are messy. A messy diaper can ruin an outfit; your baby might vomit all over themselves and on you, etc.; the scenarios of how your baby can dirty themselves are plenty. Always have a couple changes of clothes for you and your kids at hand.
- Two or three receiving blankets – They are great for naps, for keeping your child warm, as a nursing cover-up, and for keeping your clothes shielded from spit-ups. They are also great for using as a ground cover in case of diaper changes on the floor or in bathroom where no changing station is available.
- Breast pump, feeding bottles, and nursing Pad. Also make sure your breast pump is 220v compatible in case if you are traveling to Asia, Europe, etc.
- A baby carrier or a sling
- Bottles and formula if you are bottle-feeding, and don’t forget the bottle cleaner and brush! Also it is not a bad idea to bring along a hot water kettle if packing space allowed, you will thank me later! While you got that bottle, why not bring a long a few tea bags and your favorite instant coffee for the trip?
- Pacifiers for the little one, or a sticker book for the older one?
- Ziploc bags – They are great for storing opened snacks and for keeping dirty clothes separate in your diaper bag
- Baby-friendly snack, comfort toys, and a few books
- Bath gel, bath toys, and their lotions
If your baby is younger than two years, you might have to hold them on your lap the entire flight. This can be quite uncomfortable especially if you are traveling without your partner. The simplest solution is for you to purchase an extra ticket for your baby and bring a car seat on the plane. Look for something that’s not too bulky or heavy. Traveling with your child secured in a car seat is one of the safest ways to air travel. Better yet, a car seat bag can also double as a diaper bag! Kill two birds with one stone.
The more space it has, the better. You’ll be stuffing a lot of things into the bag so buy something that has a lot of storage space; preferably a diaper bag with tons of separate storage spaces. This way, you can easily place items in their designation locations and easily pull them out as opposed to having to continually rummage in the bag every time.
4. Bring your Child’s Favorite Toys
Pack that stuffed bear your baby loves, take their favorite book with you; simply carry anything that can help your little one feel comfortable and safe. Whip out their toys as a distraction especially if you feel a tantrum building up! Or how about letting them pack their own luggage during the trip?
Imagine if you have a connecting flight and you need to dash from one end of the airport to the next. Children get tired quickly and at some point; you’ll have to carry them. This is especially difficult to do; imagine lugging a car seat, your diaper bag, carry-on, and your baby as well.
Make things easier for you and baby by checking your stroller at the gate. You’ll be able to use it to maneuver through the airport and right up to the end of the jetway. From here, the airline’s attendant will store it in the cargo hold for you and bring it back up when you’ve landed. NB: Purchase a collapsible stroller as they are easier to use, if you have two kids, check out this double stroller.
6. Schedule Your Trips Accordingly
By now, your baby probably has his/her sleeping schedule. Most babies tend to get fidgety in the afternoon hours. Consider scheduling your trips around your child’s sleep time. This way, they can go right to sleep as soon as you board the plane or get into a car.
7. Dress in Comfort
If you are breastfeeding, it’s always a good idea to carry a scarf or a baby carrier warp – it can double as a cover-up when breastfeeding or as an accessory to hide those spit-up stains on your shirt. Additionally, wear comfortable shoes that won’t give your feet blisters from all the walking and running you may have to do.
8. Breastfeed Without Fear
Some moms are nervous about nursing in public; especially when seated next to a stranger on a plane. Planes don’t have much privacy (unless you can spring for first-class tickets) so you’ll need to get creative. Either use a blanket to cover up or if you are lucky enough to get a window seat, simply pin a receiving blanket to the seat in front of you and on the side of your seat – you’ll have complete privacy from everyone! All you need are two safety pins and hopefully, an understanding and accommodating neighbor.
9. Try to Take Short Trips
Children start getting impatient if they sit in one spot for long periods of time. If you are driving, try to plan stops along the way to allow your little one to walk around for a bit. If you are flying, try not to take trips that are longer than six hours.
10. Try to Relax
Babies will have tantrums, and there’s nothing you can do about it. No matter how well you plan, you may encounter a situation where your child just wants to cry or yell. If all fails, accept that babies will be babies and try to relax. A panicked mom means a hectic travel experience. Get into your zen and take things in stride.
Traveling with babies doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. With proper preparation, it can actually be fun! Think of every scenario you might encounter during your travels beforehand and plan for solutions accordingly.
Whether it’s packing snacks, juices, pumping milk beforehand or carrying their favorite toys, ensure you’re prepared for anything. If all fails, well, at least you tried your best!
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