Mom-tested tips for hitting the road (and sky!)
Traveling with your new baby is exciting! New experiences, new places, new faces…it can all be a little overwhelming too. Smart moms know that for a stress free trip with baby you will need some extra planning and preparation.
Don’t let the trials of traveling with your baby stop that adventurous spirit that you had before baby was in your life.
Now is the time to start planning for your baby’s first trip. Here are a few mom-tested tips to make your trip a success:
- Try to arrange your departure flight for a time of day when baby likes to nap. The odds will be in your favor that your little one will be quiet and content during the flight if they are drifting off to sleep just as the flight is taking off. Don’t forget something to suck during take-off and landing (your breast, a bottle, a pacifier…) to help baby’s ears with the pressure.
- A soft carrier, like the Baby Bjorn is essential for quick connections through the airport. It will keep baby comfortable and close to you. Baby can stay cuddled up next to you through security and onto the plane. Once onboard, safety regulations require you to take all straps off along with the carrier- that’s when it turns into a padded pod for baby to sleep on your lap.
- Bring a little extra of the essentials in your carry on- diapers, formula and an extra receiving blanket. Don’t panic if your flight is delayed. Carry a few extra diapers in your bag and some pre-measured formula that can be mixed up quickly if you are delayed. That receiving blanket can double as a clean up cloth, cover for breastfeeding moms or rolled up as a pillow if you get the chance to catch a few zzzzzzz’s yourself.
- Keep pieces of luggage to a minimum. Extra onesies and baby’s favorite blanket are essentials but car seats and travel cots can really slow you down. Plan ahead and arrange for baby equipment rentals at your destination. Most major cities have companies that will supply you with all the comforts of home for baby while you are away. And, because most of these companies are run by moms- you can expect spotless equipment and strict safety standards.
- Whether you are staying at a hotel or Grandma’s house, pack a few supplies to “baby proof” your destination. Outlet covers and cabinet locks don’t take up a lot of room in your suitcase but will prevent your little one from exploring in some of the unsafe areas of a new location.
- Make sure your sweetie has a safe place to sleep while she is away from home. Don’t assume your destination is decked out like your nursery at home. Most hotels offer compact cribs but a private vacation rental my only you offer a playpen circa 1970. Inquire before you arrive about sleeping arrangements for your baby.
Most importantly, try to relax and go with the flow. If baby decides not to sleep, entertain her with her favorite toy. If your flight gets delayed make the most of your extra time and take a walk through the airport. She will take her cues from you; the more relaxed you are the happier all of you will be on your first trip!
If bringing baby on a plane is a little too daunting, a road trip is a great way to ‘get away’ without flying cross country. Pack up the car, pack up the baby and pick up your partner. There are a few things to remember when heading out on the road with your little one. Your roadmap to a successful journey will depend on many things… here are some simple solutions for your next adventure:
Firstly, make sure your car seat is securely fastened in the car. “80% of all car seats are installed incorrectly” (www.safety-council.org). Now is a good time to recheck the seat’s instructions and tighten up the straps. Baby will be safe, sitting snugly in her seat. In most vehicles the middle of the back seat is the safest place for baby, but every vehicle is a little different so check your vehicle’s manual too.
If you are going to be riding up front, make sure your diaper bag is within reach. You may need a receiving blanket, bib or pacifier. A cooler is also a good idea tucked behind one of the seats. You can premix some bottles or have some baby food close at hand. And although it might be tempting to slip baby out of her car seat for a quick feed, use feeding time to pull over at a rest stop and get a little down time. Inflatable nursing pillows and bottle warmers that hook into your car’s AC adapters are great gear to have on hand.
It is a good idea to plan rest stops about every 2-3 hours to keep everyone happy. You will have to get creative for ways to entertain her in between stops. An onboard DVD player and Baby Einstein mean a 30-minute break from singing and story telling for you!
Remember, window shades are a must for summer car travel. A cool, comfortable baby is a content traveler.
A road trip is also not the time for her best outfit complete with zippers, hooks and rivets. Make sure to dress her in something comfortable. Anything with snaps or buttons in the back could really start to dig in to baby’s delicate skin after a few hours in her car seat. Your trunk will no doubt be packed with overflowing suitcases, a case of diapers, and all of baby’s favorite toys, but it is a good idea to have a spare outfit within easy reach. Fill a large Ziploc bag with a quick change of clothes so you don’t have to empty the entire contents of your suitcase just to find a fresh onesie.
You are bound to find some family friendly features at stops along the way. Getting there is supposed to be half the fun, so…above all enjoy the journey!
About the author:
Stacey Corbett is the mother of twins and the owner of
One Tiny Suitcase, Calgary’s premier baby equipment rental company – www.onetinysuitcase.ca. Her experience with travel, twins and two year olds has led her to explore not only her own backyard but many incredible Canadian destinations.