Traveling with a baby can be fun but remember that visiting new places, with new sights and sounds, can be overwhelming to a young child. If you are traveling with a young baby, it’s best to take it slow and set realistic expectations. Plan ahead carefully and let your baby experience this new world at his or her own pace.
Tip 1. Plan and pack ahead of time
Choose a good size diaper bag or backpack with several compartments or pockets for your baby’s accessories. If you are traveling by plane you will need to take this as a carry-on.
Bring enough diapers to last you, until you can get to a shop. I personally hate arriving somewhere and having to hike out straight away trying to find shops to purchase essential items.
It is also handy to pack a foldable changing mat or a least a small towel so you can change your baby almost anywhere. It is not always easy to find a suitable place to change diapers, depending on where you go. If you prefer you can also purchase disposable change mats to take.
Pack some plastic bags, baby wipes, a few toys and a change of clothes for the baby. If your baby’s skin is sensitive to baby wipes you could also pack a soft cloth and a bottle of water.
Tip 2. Bring a favourite cuddly toy or soft blanket
It can help if your baby has something familiar to cuddle like a favorite stuffed toy or cuddly blanket when traveling. Your baby might feel less anxious about being in a new place if they have something soft and familiar to hold on to.
Books and other small toys can help to distract your baby and keep them entertained while you are traveling. You could purchase a couple of new toys for your trip or, alternatively, put some their toys from home “away” for a couple of weeks and reintroduce them on your travels as a surprise.
Tip 3. Eat Familiar Foods
If your baby is up to eating solid foods bring along small snacks for the trip and while you are away trying to feed your baby familiar foods, like baby crackers, banana and pre-packaged baby food that they like. Bring along disposable spoons, baby bibs, and wipes.
Think about what foods are hard/easy to clean off in case you have no access to warm water (eg, tomato sauces and pumpkin puree can be messy and will stain easily). Keep a bottle of water on hand for cleaning up as well as drinking.
A useful tip is to let your baby get used to eating food that is not perfectly heated at home before you go. That way your baby will be less likely to refuse a semi-cold offering if you need to feed them on the go.
Tip 4. Set A Routine And Try To Stick to It
If you are traveling to a different time zone it can help to start the transition the week before you leave home by putting your baby to bed a little earlier, or later, than you normally would each day.
While you are traveling it is a good idea to start – and end – the day early. Babies and young children are generally at their best in the morning so this is a good time to sightsee and explore your new surroundings. Afternoons and evenings are better for relaxing and quiet games indoors.
Young babies rely on routines to help them understand their day so try to keep their meal times, bath time and naps similar to the routines you use at home. This will help your baby to adjust more quickly.
Don’t stress too much about changing your baby’s sleep patterns permanently. Babies sleep patterns will naturally go through different phases, even at home, and there will sometimes be setbacks when your baby is teething or they are sick. Any setbacks on your travels will only be temporary.
If you are worried about jet lag, hotel blackout curtains are helpful when establishing new sleep patterns in a completely different time zone! It also helps if everyone is well rested before you travel as it makes the transition easier. Over a few days everyone will adjust to the local time.
Tip 5. Pack A Medical Kit
It’s a good idea to pack a small medical kit that is suitable for all the family. If you traveling overseas it is best to take your own baby pain relief medicine or other medications because you know they work for your child.
Other useful items to pack might include a digital thermometer, a medicine spoon, nasal aspirator, and baby nail clippers. The MediBuddy First Aid Kit for kids is a handy item to carry and includes cute band-aids, kid-size bandages, antiseptic wipes, ointment, and gauze. It comes in a small carry case that fits into easily into your backpack or diaper bag and you can add some tweezers or other small items if needed.