Your beautiful new baby has arrived, and you are ready to show them off to the world, right? You want to introduce them to family and friends near and far, and you are ready to make that trip. But if you’re anything like me, the thought of traveling with your new baby creates a lot of questions and maybe even a few concerns. Is my baby ready to travel? What car seats are approved for flights? How should I prepare for feeding my baby on the plane?
Let’s touch on some ways to better prepare for traveling with a new baby.
Important things to consider when traveling by air:
1. Check with your pediatrician before traveling by air with your baby, particularly with a newborn.
Planes and airports can be very crowded, and often there are a ton of germs present. Have a conversation with your baby’s doctor so you can ensure their immune system is strong enough to support them during your travels.
2. Look for direct flight options first.
While this isn’t always feasible, not having to change planes will make traveling with your baby much easier. If you are not able to book a direct flight, look for flights with a longer layover. This will eliminate some of the stress of trying to navigate through a busy airport with your baby. The more time you have to get to the next gate, the more time you have to relax and regroup before boarding again.
3. Bring a baby carrier to wear your baby so your hands are free in the airport.
It’s very helpful to have your hands free when presenting your ID and ticket, pulling your luggage, drinking your coffee, ordering your Uber driver, the list goes on. If your baby is still small enough to hold in a baby carrier, this can be a lifesaver and make traveling so much easier.
4. Find out if you can carry your child on your lap or if they need their own seat.
Many flights may offer an option to carry your child on your lap in your seat if they are under a certain age. While I do not suggest this for safety reasons alone, it is helpful to find out what your airline allows before booking your flight so you can plan accordingly. I recommend purchasing a separate seat. This allows you to use your baby’s car seat for a safer and more comfortable flight. There can be a lot of contradictory information about car seats rules and regulations for flying. Check to see if your car seat is FAA travel approved here.
5. When traveling by air with your baby, always have a change of clothes handy for everyone in your family.
If there is one lesson I have learned over the years of traveling with babies, it is to always be prepared. You never know when nature may call, or when a spit up may occur, (or on who it may land!). It makes life so much easier when you have a fresh set of threads right there in your carry on bag.
6. Consider easily transportable storage options to safely store expressed breast milk or formula.
This baby bottle bag can store warm milk or formula for a few hours so you can feed your baby on the flight. It also offers an option to keep your milk/formula cool with freezer packs if you have a short flight and you plan to warm the milk when you arrive at your destination.
Things to consider when traveling by car:
1. Making sure your baby’s car seat is properly installed is probably the most important factor.
Our team offers car seat safety and installation sessions if you need help with your car seat. Once that is confirmed, you may be wondering: Do we need extra travel time? How should we plan for feedings?
2. I can’t stress this enough, plan stops around your baby’s feeding times.
We all know our new baby needs to eat every few hours, as they still have such a tiny belly. To make your trip more enjoyable, plan on stopping frequently to feed and comfort your baby. If your baby is on a feeding schedule, there is no need to alter it. Being prepared to stop every few hours will allow everyone to have a more restful and easier trip.
3. Bring plenty of snacks and water especially if your breastfeeding.
Everybody will get hungry and thirsty at some point on the road. Keep snacks and plenty of water available so you can stay nourished and well hydrated.
4. Plan extra travel time to get to your destination. You may need a day or two longer to get to where you are going for longer trips.
Extra stops for feeding and comfort are one thing, being well rested and able to drive safely is another. Giving yourself extra travel time will reduce some of the stress and anxiety of traveling. Allowing as much time as you need for rest is helpful to you as the caregiver, and imperative when you are the driver.
5. Pack a change of clothes for everyone that is traveling by car with you and your baby.
This is important for so many reasons! Diaper blowouts are on the list. If you have a change of clothes within arm’s reach for everyone, you will be ready if a mess happens. And we all know, messes happen, especially with a baby! Being ready with fresh clothes will help to keep everyone comfortable on your travels.
6. If you are bottle feeding, whether it is expressed breast milk or formula, consider a bottle warmer with car adapter.
These can be extremely useful for long roadtrips. Many come with a wall adapter as well, so they can be used during your vacation too.
Traveling by air or by car can be stressful. But, being prepared, and planning ahead may eliminate some of the worry. Most importantly, have fun and try to enjoy these special moments. After all, that’s really what traveling with your baby should be all about!
Check out this article for more tips: Taking a Vacation With Your Baby