It may sound daunting, but traveling with baby does not have to be a nightmare! A little preparation and forward planning is all you need for a successful trip with your tiny traveler.
There are certain supplies that are essential for any trip with your baby. The most important, of course, is enough food and milk for the journey. Always pack more than you think you’ll need and include plenty of finger foods if your baby is old enough — these are great for helping to keep him occupied! If you are breastfeeding and need to express milk, you can store it in a cooler, with ice, for up to 24 hours. You can also store bottles of pre-made formula in the same way — alternatively, you can add pre-measured powdered formula to the bottles, then top it up with cooled, boiled water as required.
Another option is to bring “ready to drink” cartons of formula. Whilst ideal for the journey itself, be aware that you may not be allowed to take these cartons with you into certain countries. Sealed containers of formula do not normally present a problem.
Solid foods can be packed into a cooler, although a better idea is to bring foods with you that you can easily prepare during the journey. Avocado pears and bananas are good examples, as they can be simply peeled, mashed and served to your baby at room temperature.
Always bring your own feeding bowls and utensils when traveling with baby – many eating establishments do not have cutlery appropriate for an infant’s use. A travel high chair is incredibly useful, too — and means that you can comfortably feed your baby wherever you go. Disposable bibs, or a wipe-clean plastic bib, can be very convenient when traveling and they certainly cut down on the laundry!
If you ask for food or milk to be warmed for you, be VERY careful to check the temperature on its return. Busy waiters or cabin crew may overheat the food and you will need to wait for it to cool down. With this in mind, ask for any food or milk to be warmed well before you’re actually going to need it!
Many parents worry about how to sterilize feeding equipment when traveling with baby. There are many products available to assist with this, from microwave sterilizer bags to disposable bottle liners. Most stores dealing with infant feeding equipment will offer a range of travel accessories such as these.
Other essential items for your trip will include nappies/diapers and scented diaper bags. If you’re heading to a warm destination, adequate sun protection is a must! Also, consider bringing a small nightlight – if you’re breastfeeding, it can be very useful in a dark, unfamiliar hotel room.
To help your baby cope with the trip and to reassure him in new surroundings, be sure to bring his favorite blanket. This can also serve as a handy “curtain” to shield an aeroplane sky cot/bassinet from the light, or for naps in his stroller when out and about.
Dress your baby in light layers when traveling — not only does this make it easier to cope with fluctuating temperatures, but if your baby spills his food, for example, you can easily remove the top layer of clothing. Bring a change of clothes for yourself, too — baby’s mess tends to have a habit of transferring itself to his parents!