After several long trips with my son in the first nine months of his life I have learned a lot about what should and should not be brought along. The process of packing what you use at home and the reality of dragging it all around with you are completely different. From car safety to feeding you do not want to miss a beat. Read on to find out what you do not want to forget when traveling with baby.
The only form of identification most parents have of their little ones is a birth certificate which you need to travel. If you are traveling outside of the country you should make sure you get your baby a passport as they are required for everyone now days. The airlines make you show the birth certificate to prove that the baby is as old as you say they are and so they can have them on record in case of emergency.
The wonderful thing about airplane travel these days is that most airlines check your car seat for free if you have your baby on your lap. Since there is a fee on each checked item it can save you about twenty-five dollars each way. However, if you bought a ticket for your baby then you have to take the car seat on board to safely seat them. No matter what you need the car seat on the other end so it must go.
As a huge convenience to you the airlines gate check your stroller when you travel. That means you can push your child from plane to plane and not have to worry about carrying them around the airports. Then you leave it at the cabin door when entering the plane for the airlines to put with the luggage for the duration of the flight. When you arrive at your destination it will be waiting for you when you exit.
There are several different items you can bring for your baby to sleep in when they are very young like a co-sleeper or travel bed. However, when your baby starts to move around and can not sleep unattended it is important to have a pack and play along so they can sleep safely. This item you will have to check under the plane but it is a must have for rolling around and mobile babies so they do not hurt themselves.
Self Soothing Items
Some babies use binkies or pacifiers and some use blankets. Whichever work best for your baby make sure you pack it for the trip in your carry-on luggage. Grab a handful of binkies and put them in a clean zip lock bag so when one gets dirty on the flight you can just grab another. There are also paci-wipes for sale at most big stores in case they all make it on the floor or you lose some while traveling.
A baby carrier or sling work great for traveling with your baby, especially when you are traveling alone. They help when you need both hands for eating your own meal or going to the bathroom. It is also nice to have the carrier along if baby gets fussy and you need to walk the isles so that you have your hands free in case of some turbulence.
Diapers, Wipes & Toiletries
Make sure to pack enough diapers, wipes and toiletries (diaper cream, baby wash, baby lotion, gas drops, Infant Tylenol) for the day of travel and a couple of days after you arrive. This way you have time to find your brand of diapers, wipes and products at the stores where you are visiting.
However, if you are traveling out of the country then you might want to stock up in your suitcase so you do not have to worry about finding what you use in the stores.
Packing clothes according to the weather report where you are traveling is a good start but make sure you pack long sleeved clothes as well when traveling to a warmer climate. While you may be wearing shorts and a tank top your baby may need a long sleeve top in the shade. On the other hand if you are traveling to a cold climate you probably only need cold weather clothing for your baby.
If you know there will be laundry facilities available then you can bring about half as many outfits. This way you do not have to worry about running out or packing too many outfits. To be safe plan to use about two outfits per day and a pair of pajamas.
Food & Drink
Whether your baby is drinking formula or breast milk you will want to pack accordingly. For formula feeding pack three or four complete bottles, a bottle brush, formula and buy bottled water once you pass security for the plane ride. Pack enough formula to last the whole trip so you do not have to worry about finding more.
For breastfeeding mothers you will want to pack your nursing cover, nursing pads and a bottle to put some baby juice or water in for takeoff and landing so their ears pop when pressure builds up. Also the bottle of juice and water is great to help keep baby hydrated in between feedings.
If your baby is also eating purees and baby snacks make sure you pack plenty for the trip. Bring enough jars, bibs and spoons for the day of travel and the first day you arrive in your carry on in case they lose your suitcase. Make sure you put all the baby food in one large zip lock bag so you can pull it out when going through security. Also since you have to pack quite a bit of baby food for the trip the room it takes up in your checked bag will be great for bringing home souvenirs and gifts.
When babies are small they are easily amused by a cup or ball which you can most likely find on the other end of your flight. Do not take too many toys but a few favorite little ones are just fine. Those links are great because you can hook them onto the car seat or stroller and the baby can play with them and a few rattles, mirrors or teething toys linked onto them while you are out sightseeing or visiting.
While traveling can seem like a huge ordeal it can be lots of fun with baby when you pack right. Hopefully you can use the list of items to help pack for your trip and not feel that you took too much or missed something important. Good luck with your vacation and have safe travels.