Many young parents panic when it comes time to travel with their new baby. But traveling with a baby isn't as difficult as you might think, as long as you prepare ahead of time. Our little baby has already been on 14 flights, so we have managed to learn a few nifty travel hacks.
So relax and remember to take along these necessities for baby's travels:
On-Flight Diaper Bag:
Our biggest tip is to make sure you get a backpack diaper bag! It is so much easier to handle customs, other kids, other luggage and everything else when you have both of your arms free. Inside the backpack we love using packing cubes, where we can organize our essentials into a diaper cube, an entertainment cube and a food cube. We leave these cubes out and with us close to our seats so that we can grab them even when the seat belt sign might be on.
Baby Feeding Supplies:
Of course, the most important thing to bring is nourishment for your baby. If you're still breastfeeding, that makes things easier. However, if you're uncomfortable with nursing in public, you may want to bring along bottles and formula to tie you over while in transit. We love using either the nifty twist-and-shake type bottles or make due with these great formula dispensers. Bring an extra bottle or two. If your baby is eating solid foods, bring some things for him or her to have a snack - crackers, teething biscuits and the like.
Diapering is often one of the biggest problems when traveling, but there are ways to take some of the hassles out of it. How many diapers will you need? Figure one for each hour of the trip if your baby is still at newborn stage, and then pack 2 or 3 more in the case of delays or 'diaper emergencies.' Bring a full pack of wipes - they'll save you in more ways than just at diaper time. Remember that despite our best-laid plans, you may not always be able to change baby when you want, so make sure you pack ointment for possible rashes. Disposable diaper pads are wonderful for when you need to change NOW and can't find a clean spot to lay your baby down. Finally, a good supply of plastic bags will come in handy for storing dirty diapers or clothes until the next stop.
To help your baby's ears adjust to the cabin pressure changes during take-off as well as during landing, you can encourage swallowing by breastfeeding or bottle feeding him. Pacifiers are brilliant for the ears as well and we have also taken lollipops for our baby to suck on for when the flights are short and she isn't interested in feeding. Honestly that bit of sugar is better than painful ears!
If your baby is sensitive to noise, we also suggest you invest in some good quality noise blocking baby headphones to block out airplane noise and announcements.
Whether traveling by air or seeing sights on the ground, you'll, of course, want a convenient way to carry your baby. A collapsible stroller is an absolute must while traveling with your baby - look for one that folds to store in the overhead bin if you're traveling by air.
Only take essential baby gear - for us that is an easy-to-carry baby stroller and a baby carrier - being able to carry the baby hands-free can make life much easier when juggling various suitcases, backpacks, and carry-ons. Not to mention that attractions at your destination is likely to have many stairs.
Once baby's immediate needs are met, there are a few other items that can make traveling with baby much easier. Try to get the seat close to the baby bassinet, or at the very least make sure to book an aisle seat. Sometimes simple things like plastic airplane cups can be a great way to entertain baby and lastly a neck pillow has gone a long way in either being an arm rest for when I breastfeed or a small pillow for baby when she sleeps in our arms.
Oh and don't forget to leave the high heels at home. We highly recommend in investing in some super comfy flats, you will be so much more balanced in them whilst walking over cobble stone pathways with your baby in your arms!
Try to relax and enjoy the trip! The rewards will far outweigh any challenges.