So, you had a baby and are wondering how you will ever take a trip again. How could you possibly leave the comforts of your home to take your baby somewhere new for an extended amount of time? I’m here to tell you, you can. You will. And it can go a lot smoother than you might think. I’ve rounded up my top ten travel tips with a baby.
1. Timing is everything.
Plan car and plane rides to coincide with nap times. Feed baby before you start off on your car trip, or have a bottle ready for when you get on the plane.
2. Make a list and check it twice.
Babies come with a lot of stuff. A week or so before you leave for your trip, start a list of everything you will need to pack. You will find yourself lying in bed thinking about how you need to pack the teething gel or the burp rags. Get it out of your head and write it down. You will thank yourself later.
3. Bring comforts from home.
When packing, make sure to pack things that remind baby of their home. Maybe it is the quilt you lay down for them to play on, or their favorite books to read. Keep in mind they are going to be taking in many new things, so the more things they have that are familiar to them, the better.
4. Tag team it.
If at all possible, do not travel alone. Have your husband, wife, friend, mom, or anyone you feel comfortable with join in on the journey. Not only will you have to take care of your baby, but you will have to take care of your basic needs as well. You probably don’t want to figure out how to use the rest stop bathroom while holding your baby.
5. Be organized
The last thing you want is a crying, hungry baby, and a mom who can’t find the bottle parts in the diaper bag. No fun for anyone. Plan out what you are packing in each of your bags so you can quickly access whatever items your baby may need.
6. Keep baby in their routine (as much as possible).
Babies thrive on routine. I have learned this the hard way. When one nap is missed, it can throw off the rest of the day. Try to keep baby on schedule if there is any way you can. Sit in the backseat every three hours to feed baby. Cover baby up with a blanket on the plane so they can calm down and take their nap. Do anything in your power to keep their feeding and sleep schedules on track.
7. But allow flexibility.
So maybe you can’t put baby in a crib for every nap because of the fun you are out having on your trip. That is A-Okay. Make it work however you can. Nap in the baby carrier while out sight-seeing? Perfect. A bottle while out to lunch? Great. Don’t be afraid to have a good time because of a strict schedule. Babies will adapt and be able to hang better than you might think.
8. Allow for extra time.
This one probably goes without saying, but don’t forget it. The mid-travel blow out will happen. Or the one item you swore you wouldn’t forget, gets left at home. Give yourself extra time so when things throw off your perfectly envisioned trip it doesn’t stress you out.
9. Pull out all the entertainment stops.
Chances are baby will be in a car seat or on your lap for several hours. This may be especially hard for babies who are rolling, crawling or walking. They are so use to being able to move, they may quickly become bored when restricted to a small space. Bring new toys, hop in the backseat of the car, show baby your new surroundings. Keep baby entertained and stimulated for as long as possible. They will be happier and worn out faster, leading to better naps later.
10. Remember to soak in the memories.
Traveling can be stressful. Throw a baby in the mix and it can be downright miserable. But remember what this is all about. Creating new memories together as a family. Roll with the punches and marvel in the excitement. These are precious moments with your little one that are meant to be enjoyed. Enjoy the adventure.