Moms face special challenges when traveling with children, particularly babies. With some forethought, there are ways to make traveling with a baby much more pleasant. As in most cases with travel, preparing ahead can save a lot of time and aggravation. At no time is this more important than when traveling with a baby. Many of the following suggestions have been recommended by pediatricians, mothers, family travel experts, and child development professionals.
1. Don’t Over Schedule Plan the trip out as best you can. Refrain from over scheduling, since it is impossible to predict how well the baby will adjust. Use this itinerary to help with packing. For example, how many outfits and other items you will need and items for special circumstances.
2. Use Baby Playmats For downtime in a hotel or at someone’s home, bring along baby playmates. They are machine washable and include a variety of activities to entertain the baby. Because they are so versatile, they are excellent to use both inside and outside of the home. The added bonus for travel is that there is no worry about how clean the new environment is, since the mat provides a more sanitary play area for the baby.
3. Pack a First Aid Kit Minor first aid mishaps can occur at any time. Much of the time, supplies may be available at the local pharmacy. However, when traveling, getting to and from a drug store can be a hassle. Therefore, assemble a basic first aid kit:
- Prescription medications, even if only taken occasionally
- Health information sheet with particulars about medications taken
- Medical professional contact names and numbers
- Infant thermometer
- Baby Tylenol
- Antiseptic cream
- Band Aids
- Infant insect repellent
- Hydration powders
- Assorted bandages and tape
- Alcohol wipes
4. Create a Home Away from Home The reality is that a great deal of the trip will involve entertaining and soothing the baby. Therefore, bring along cherished items like a special blanket and toys that provide familiarity for the baby.
5. Prepare for the Sun Pack a hat and high level sunscreen for time in the sun, even in cooler weather.
6. Bring a Multi-purpose Car Seat For car travel, bring a rear facing car seat that doubles as a carrier and stroller. For air travel, if a seat was purchased for the baby, bring along an FAA approved car seat. It may be possible to use the seat in any case, or it could be stored overhead if necessary.
7. Install Removable Shade Screens To keep the bright sun out the shade screens can be placed in the side windows of your car. Otherwise, the baby may become uncomfortable and there will be little that can be done at that point.
8. Pack Pacifiers and Sippy Cups For the possibility of ear pain, encourage the baby to breastfeed or suck on pacifiers, bottles or sippy cups. Babies in cars may be given special chew toys to soothe gums.
9. Travel at Night Try to schedule travel for after bed time when the baby normally sleeps. Moms have found that this can cut down considerably on disruption and discomfort. Depending upon how old the baby is, bring along books to read to make the process easier.
10. Adjust Baby’s Sleep Times If crossing time zones, try to shift sleep hours for the days leading to departure to help fight jet lag. Consider using the new schedule once the destination is reached.
11. Avoid Big Crowds Keep babies safe on public transit by taking along a convertible stroller car seat if possible. Avoid traveling during rush hour as much as possible since mass transit tends to get crowded at those times.
While travel can be difficult for new moms, if you plan ahead it can be a much more pleasant experience than believed. For example, many people enjoy babies, and sympathetic parents understand how tough it can be. As long as you take time to prepare and create as much of a home away from home as possible, it will be much more enjoyable for everyone concerned.
Kelly Kovacic understands how traveling with a small baby can be frustrating, but with the right supplies it is possible to enjoy your trip.