Photo by Treasures & Travels
There are few things more daunting for a new parent than the idea of having to travel with a new baby. Whether it’s a quick hour trip to grandma’s, an eight hour drive to the beach for summer vacation, or a three hour plane ride home for the holidays, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your journey is tear free. Well, for the most part. Here’s how to travel with an infant.
Quick trips are a breeze in the grand scheme of infant travel. Making sure your diaper bag is well equipped with extra diapers, wipes, burp cloths, clothes (nothing worse than a lack of a backup when a blowout happens), toys, food/bottles, etc. is essential for any trip. But for some reason it always seems like the smaller trips are the ones where we find ourselves in need of something we left at home. Don’t let the simplicity of your travel make you lax on planning.
Extended Car Rides
When car rides stretch past a quick trip to a neighboring town, the possibility of encountering an infant meltdown greatly increases.
Accept the fact that the family beach house that normally takes 8 hours to get to will probably take 9 or 10. All those diaper change and feeding breaks can really add up. Plus you’ll want to take frequent stops to give your little one time to stretch those limbs outside of the car seat.
If your little one uses a music box to help put them to sleep, bring it with you. In fact, bring a number of familiar items that will help the car seat and family minivan feel more like home. Stuffed animals, blankets, pacifier, etc. Whatever your baby uses to help self soothe, bring it.
If you have an only child, consider leaving some space in the seat next to your baby for whoever isn’t driving. Mom or dad can slip in the back and help entertain or soothe your little one.
Timing can be everything when taking a long trip. Utilize normal nap times for the majority of your driving. For extra long trips you can even drive through the night while your child sweetly snoozes.
Believe it or not, plane rides can often be easier to manage than a long road trip. You’re able to sit with and entertain your little one instead of worrying about actually getting from point A to point B; that’s the pilot’s job. But you can still rely on some helpful hints to make it a cry-free flight.
Once again, packing and leaving the house with plenty of time to spare is vital. You don’t want a Home Alone 2 rush to the terminal montage.
Someone once told me to not let my kid’s feet touch the ground while making my way through security to the terminal and while I first thought they were nuts it ended up being a great tip. Not only are you keeping constant contact with your child/children in a crowded and stressful environment, but you also prevent curious little brains from taking over causing them to dash out toward something interesting. If you don’t have enough arms or carriers to account for all your babes, remember that airliners usually allow you to check car seats and strollers free at the gate so wrangling the kids is easier than it may seem.
If you are traveling alone with an infant, call the airliner and let them know. Many airliners will allow you to bring a helper, generally a family member, to accompany you to the terminal without needing a ticket. Extra hands for easier travel!
Grab snacks for you and your little one so you don’t have to wait on the flight attendants coming by with pretzels or cookies.
For babies that have never flown, and even little ones who have already earned their wings, takeoff and touchdown can be the most jolting parts of the flight due to the shift in cabin pressure causing earaches. A great way to prevent pain in your infant’s ear is to nurse or bottle feed during those parts of the flight. The suction created on the bottle or breast will help keep your baby’s ears from popping. If your child is slightly older and no longer using bottles, consider pureed fruit and vegetable pouches instead. A similar suction occurs leaving your baby happy and occupied during the bumpier parts of the flight.
Check ahead to see what you can and can’t bring with you on the flight. You’d hate to find yourself rummaging through your luggage to find that over-the-size-limit bottle of baby lotion while trying to keep your infant from crawling through the TSA scanner.
Above all else, remember that there will be bumps in the road, literally and figuratively. Don’t flip your lid if something gets a little out of whack along the way. Don’t panic at the thought of your kid being that crying baby on an airplane. You may get dirty looks but anyone who has ever had a child will understand. Above all else, relax and enjoy the ride/flight/quick trip.