10 tips for travelling with a baby

Summer is ahead and many families are making travel plans. If you have a new baby in your family, don’t discard the idea of travelling. Travelling with a baby can be stressful at times, but with proper planning and preparation, it can become a great experience. It is important to consider the baby’s needs and daily routine to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip.. 

Here are 10 tips from sleep consulant Uneliiva Livia, to keep in mind, including timing naps, nuances of flying, and choosing the right stroller.

1. Timing Naps and Following a Routine

The following recommendations are entirely up to you. From my own experience, I approach travelling very casually and often let go of strict schedules. Personally, I think it’s sometimes easier to be flexible on vacation than to strictly adhere to the usual routine.

Plan Around Baby’s Sleep Schedule: Try to plan the trip around your baby’s usual sleep patterns. For example, choose flight times that coincide with your baby’s nap time so they can sleep on the plane.
Avoid Large Time Differences: When travelling to a different time zone, try to keep the time difference as small as possible. A significant time difference can disrupt your baby’s sleep routine and make adjustment difficult.
Maintain Routine: Attempt to keep the same daily schedule you follow at home while on the trip. This provides a sense of security for your baby and helps them adjust to the new environment more quickly.

2. When Flying by Plane with a Baby

Opt for Direct Flights: Direct flights are always a more convenient option when travelling with a baby as they reduce travel time and the number of layovers.
Bring Essential Supplies: Make sure to bring essential supplies on the plane, including diapers, wipes, extra clothes, food, and toys to keep your baby content throughout the flight. Pack these items in brightly colored bags to make them easier to find.
Practical Tips: Ideally, each person should have one carry-on luggage. Depending on the airline, your baby might have their own luggage allowance. Have your companion, spouse, or partner board the plane first to stow away luggage and other items before you arrive at your seat with the baby.
Pressure Equalization: During takeoff and landing, the change in pressure can be uncomfortable for your baby’s ears. To help alleviate this, give your baby a pacifier, breastfeed, or offer a bottle to encourage swallowing and help balance the pressure.

3. Choosing a Stroller

Compact and Lightweight Stroller: For travel, choose a compact and lightweight stroller that is easy to fold and carry. Some airlines allow lightweight strollers to be brought into the cabin, making it easier to navigate the airport (e.g., Babyzen Yoyo).
Versatility and Comfort: A lightweight stroller should be comfortable for both the child and the parent, offering sufficient support and comfort for longer walks. It should also allow for naps if you have layovers and spend extended time at the airport.

4. Choosing Accommodation

Baby-Friendly Accommodation: When selecting accommodation, prioritize places that are baby-friendly and equipped with necessary amenities such as a baby crib, high chair, and a kitchenette for preparing baby food.
Safety: Ensure the accommodation is safe, free from hazardous objects or areas where the baby could get hurt. For instance, a villa with a pool might cause more anxiety than enjoyment..

5. Managing Food and Hygiene

Breastfeeding and Meals: If your baby is still breastfeeding, you might find it convenient to nurse while using a baby carrier or sling, which allows you to feed ‘on the go’ if the baby is particularly fussy. If your baby is already on solid foods, familiarize yourself with the local cuisine at your destination to ensure there are suitable options for your child.
Hygiene: Bring enough diapers and hygiene supplies to keep your baby clean and dry. It might be challenging to find familiar products while travelling, so pack the essentials you know you’ll need, especially if your baby has a preference for specific items.

6. Toys and Entertainment

Favorite Toys: Bring along your baby’s favorite toys to keep them entertained and provide comfort during the trip.
New Toys: Introducing new toys during the journey can provide additional entertainment and hold your baby’s attention longer than familiar items.

7. Ensuring Health and Safety

Medications and First Aid Supplies: Pack necessary medications and first aid supplies to be prepared for any unexpected situations.
Drink Bottled Water: If the water quality is questionable, use only bottled water, especially for drinking and preparing formula or food for your baby.
Vaccinations: Ensure your baby’s vaccinations are up to date, especially if you are travelling to an area where there is a higher risk of infectious diseases.

8. Documentation and Travel Insurance

Documents: Take along your baby’s passport, vaccination records, and any other necessary documents. Airlines may require your baby’s birth certificate or other identification documents.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is crucial, especially when travelling with a baby. Ensure that your insurance covers all potential health issues and travel disruptions.

9. Getting Around at Your Destination

Transportation Arrangements: Research in advance to determine the most convenient transportation options at your destination. Consider whether you need to rent a car, use public transportation, or if walking is the best option locally.
Car Seat: If you plan to rent a car, check if the rental company provides child car seats or if you should bring your own. Bringing your own car seat may be a safer option as you know it meets safety requirements and your baby is already accustomed to it.

10. Adaptation and Flexibility

Be Flexible: Unexpected situations can arise while travelling, so be prepared to adjust your plans and be flexible. If your baby is tired or restless, take a break and give them time to adjust.
Enjoy the Moment: Travelling with a baby is a special experience that will create lasting memories. Enjoy the time spent together and cherish the moments you create.

Travelling with a baby may seem challenging, but good planning and preparation can turn it into a pleasant and smooth experience. Consider your baby’s sleep and feeding schedules and be prepared for unexpected situations. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help overcome obstacles and fully enjoy the trip.

Let’s also normalize travelling with babies! Even if they don’t actually remember it. Nonetheless, travelling offers wonderful experiences and developmental opportunities for young children. A child who learns to adapt to different places is likely to be more flexible and adaptable to changes at home as well.

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