So, you’re planning your first out of town trip with your baby? Showing your babe the world (even if it starts somewhere that’s just a 2-hour car away) is one of the best ways to bond and create family memories.
Even though it can seem daunting at first, we have some tips and tricks for how to travel with a baby that can help you feel ahead of the game.
When Can you Start Traveling with a Baby?
If you’ve loved traveling long before becoming a parent, we bet you’ve been wondering how soon you can travel with a baby ever since you found out you were pregnant. Here’s our suggestions.
With newborns, we definitely suggest checking with your pediatrician before booking your trip, but a general recommendation is to wait until your newborn is about one or two weeks old. Be sure to frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to help minimize exposure to germs and illness from other passengers.
And, while you probably won’t want to take a roadtrip longer than the trip home from the hospital with a newborn, as long as you have the proper car seat, technically there’s no one stopping you.
As far as comfort and ease goes (if there’s even such a thing as ease when traveling with a baby) 3 months old is when babies are usually ready for shorter trips and 9 months old seems to be the sweet spot for traveling long-haul trips.
But, remember: every baby is different, so follow your intuition and decide for yourself when your family is ready.
What to Pack for Traveling with a Baby
Obviously packing for your baby is very different than packing for yourself. For example, don’t plan on being able to restyle a shirt with two different pairs of pants — by the end of the day that shirt will be very done for.
Figuring out what to pack with a baby mainly depends on how old they are and how long you’re traveling for. Here’s a few customized checklists to help guide you:
Overall Traveling Packing List
✔ Outfits: Plan for 1 daytime outfit and 1 night time outfit per day + extras
✔ Plastic bags to contain dirty diapers when you’re not near a trash can
✔ Extra bottles
✔ Extra pacifiers
✔ Collapsible travel stroller
In addition to all the essentials listed above, here are some extra items you’ll need depending on your specific travel situation.
Newborn Packing Checklist
✔ 10 or more diapers per day
✔ Multiple burp cloths
✔ Nursing cover
Baby Packing Checklist
✔ 8 or more diapers per day
✔ Snacks for you and your baby
✔ Books, tablets and stickers: you need a variety of entertainment
Traveling on an Plane with a Baby
Step one, stop stressing about whether or not the baby is going to cry. They will cry and someone will probably get annoyed (we’re going to go ahead and guess that person doesn’t have a child) and there’s not much you can do to guarantee that won’t happen.
A common reason why babies cry on planes is because their ears hurt. As Mayo Clinic suggests: “To help equalize the pressure in your baby's ears, offer your baby a breast, bottle or pacifier to suck on during takeoff and the initial descent.”
Another thing that causes fussiness is boredom, so come prepared with some treats, distracting toys and their favorite videos.
The good news is that planes are usually also full of other parents, so you’ll find there’s a lot more compassion around you than you think.
What to Pack in your Carry On
Think of your carry on as your emergency kit. You’re going to want the things you need at a moment’s notice in reach. Things like:
✔1 diaper for every hour of travel
✔An extra set of baby clothes
✔An extra top for you (in case something really messy happens)
✔An extra warm layer for baby
✔A soothing toy
✔A baby book or tablet
✔ A portable changing pad
✔ Plastic bags for dirty diapers
Travel hack: We like to pack a couple of Overnight Diapers for overnight flights.
Taking a Road Trip with a Baby
Whether it's to your in-laws for Thanksgiving or for a quick vacation, bringing a baby along on a road trip is trickier but totally doable with these hacks:
Be Ready to Turn Your Backseat into a Changing Table
Pretty much all parents know that blowouts can happen at anytime, you can help minimize them with right sized diaper. But when they inevitably do pop up, it’s usually the worst time possible — like on a road trip in the middle of nowhere with the next glimmer of civilization 10 miles away. Here’s what you’ll need
A portable changing pad
A backseat organizer stuffed with diapers, wipes, rash cream and a toy (for distraction)
At least 1 diaper for every hour you’ll be in the car
Keep Wipes All Over the Car
You probably already do this. But, just in case you’re not familiar with driving around with a baby (hey, city parents) having lots of wipes within reach at all times is a lifesaver. From sticky snack hands to sudden snot to a spilled bottle, you’ll be using wipes the entire trip and you don’t want to have to pull over and grab another them from the trunk when you’ve gone through your first.
Don’t Put Your Diaper Bag in the Trunk
If you ever make this mistake, you’ll probably only make it once. Keep you diaper bag within reach so that you don’t have to make a pit stop.
Plan Out Stops Along the Way
Before your trip look up rest stops, gas stations, restaurants. Anywhere you can safely change a diaper. AKA not on the side of the road.
You Can Do It
We’re not here to sugarcoat anything, traveling with a baby is rough, but it’s not impossible. Just come prepared and try to remain calm — you’ve got this.