Many parents can feel a bit anxious when traveling with your baby. Very few of us look forward to carrying the additional luggage and dealing with the potential melt down on a long road trip or flight. The child's melt down, not the parents. ;)
Here are some tips to hopefully ease some of that stress and provide ideas for your travels.
Don't pack a week's supply of diapers or wipes. It's always best to carry what you need for the car or plane trip with a few extra diapers just to get you to the nearest store. Purchase your diaper and wipe supply when you arrive at your destination or you will need a suitcase alone just for these supplies.
Pack 'n' Play for your baby can be your savior! I'm not a fan of using a hotel provided crib since I won't know what type of crib, how old or when it last received a thorough wipe down. Your own Pack 'n' Play can be a safe place to set your baby down for some play time or a nap, especially if they're crawling, and provide an adequate bed for the trip duration. While this is an extra piece to carry, you can be sure that your own pack and play is safe, clean and reliable....and you've saved space by not bringing your week's diaper supply!
Set up a diaper station. I would bring a travel pad and set up diapers and wipes close by. When changing is needed, don't find yourself juggling a soiled baby while trying to pull out diapers and open wipes from your diaper bag.
For babies still bottle or breast feeding, try to time feeding upon take-off and landing of flights. The pressure change is not comfortable for many babies and feeding can help with the ear pressure. It's like chewing gum for you and I during these flight times. If your child is asleep, let them sleep. If it's not feeding time or your child is asleep, a pacifier will also work.
Bring extra clothes. Accidents happen; be it spit up or a leaky diaper. Be prepared and have a change of clothing (or two) for your baby.
Layer your baby's clothes and bring a blanket. Especially on a plane that can get too cold or too hot. You can always adjust by removing or adding. A cold baby can be a very unhappy one so make sure you are prepared for temperature adjustments as needed.
If your child is old enough, bring some baby snacks for those in between feeding times. This will ensure there are no hunger pains before that next meal.
Do not forget the stroller. While traveling, your stroller can not only be used to ensure your arms don't fall off but also a place to nap, play and feed. If your baby is sitting up, your stroller can become a high chair.
If your child isn't sleeping during a plane or car ride, be prepared to keep them occupied. Bring a couple travel toys for the ride and for outings to dinner. Perhaps your baby has a favorite toy that can keep them busy for a bit which will also help them feel secure and comfortable. Sing, talk or read a book. An engaged baby is a happy baby.
Try to keep your baby on their normal routine. Plan your outings around nap time and be prepared for when it's feeding time. While some babies can be a little flexible, by keeping their schedule, you can ensure you will have fun and happy photos to remember your travels.
* The tips above are the opinion of the writer and not meant as professional advice. Always check with your pediatrician.