Traveling with an Infant – Packing TIPS
Packing Tips for Traveling with an Infant
*Article contains affiliate links*
It is an interesting fact, which surprised me when I became a parent for the first time, that as tiny as a new human is….the sheer volume of stuff they need is staggering. No matter how short the trip out, whether you are just going to the grocery or grandma’s house, traveling with an infant means a large amount of ‘stuff’. Heaven forbid you have the wrong ‘stuff’ and find yourself with a naked baby (who had the proverbial diaper blowout) because you forgot to pack an extra outfit.
Been there – done that.
There we were, at a sushi restaurant we had been patrons of for years, with tiny new baby. I was clearly still trying to get the hang of being a mom when we had the EPIC diaper blow out. All parents know this moment. The one where poop oozes ALL. Over. The. Baby. You wonder how something soooo small and sweet can create such a HUGE and disgusting mess and then sit there just smiling at you in the adorable baby way. Ugh.
Thankfully, the owner of the restaurant who knew us well was sweet and reassuring! LOL! I was a wreck. She made me feel so much better after I cleaned baby up and realized now she would be naked except for a fresh diaper because I hadn’t repacked the diaper bag properly after the last diaper issue! Thankfully, naked baby was happy enough. 🙂 Don’t be me with a naked baby!! Pack the right stuff. 🙂
Be sure to pack the RIGHT stuff when you travel with baby!
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Traveling with an Infant – Packing TIPS
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Clothes
Pack at least two outfits per day and still plan on doing laundry. Babies have a knack of making crazy messes at the least opportune moments. Just plan on it. All but the fanciest hotels have self laundry. Pack the baby laundry detergent you use and quarters in a zip loc baggie for ease.
Ziploc even makes HUGE bags that are perfect for packing a day’s outfit for each kid. Make life easy on yourself!
Be careful packing detergent. You want it NOT to make a mess in your suitcase. As a traveling mom of a baby you have plenty to do without adding an extra mess! I like to pack laundry detergent pods in a small tupperware. They are protected from being broken by getting squished and if they still manage to leak the mess will be contained.
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Sun and Surf
A baby’s skin is a lot more delicate than ours AND a lot of sunscreen isn’t for use on infants younger than 6 months. Even if you can find one that is OK for an infant making sure every single inch of baby is greased up properly is no easy task. Heaven forbid you miss a spot! A sunburnt baby would feel so bad. Don’t miss a spot!
I prefer to use sunscreen material. It is so easy to dress baby in material that will protect skin – no sliminess involved. Wonderful new materials are soft, breathable AND can be washed in the sink. They can dry overnight and be ready to wear the next day. My babies wore sun shirts, hats, and swimwear all made from this wonderful material. This cute and breathable shirt is from IPlay. Love the cute colors!
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Swim Diapers
Pack swim diapers. Even though you might be able to find the right size and type diapers at your destination, you’ll either spend too much time looking for them and or too much money. Bring the diapers from home and spend your vacation on more fun things that diaper shopping.
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Cold Weather Gear
Just like with travelers of all ages, layering is the best way to keep baby warm when the temperatures dip low. A tiny baby can be attached to you inside your own jacket and benefit from your body warmth, too.
We lived in Denver when my youngest was born and we did a lot of hiking. Baby K was always toasty. I dressed him in his regular clothing – long sleeved onesie, pants and socks and then put him in the baby carrier on front of me. We loved the Baby B’jorn. I tucked a blanket in the edges of the baby carrier to hang on the outside of baby. Lastly I put on MY coat – my maternity one was the perfect size and zipped the coat around him. He was a warm and happy hiker! I loved having him right in front of me so I could touch his little hands and feet easily to make sure he was toasty and warm. We moms need to have those littles close!
Before baby is mobile a sleep sack is a warm and toasty solution to keep baby warm at night in the safest way possible. I love these!!! If it really cold you can put on two. Even a super wiggler will have warm and toast toes in these sleep sacks.
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Food
We all want to save the planet. Parents are especially aware of this because we want to leave it a little better for our kiddos! BUT, when traveling disposable stuff is the way to go.
Use bottle liners (these drop in bottle liners were my favorite by Playtex) and toss when they are used. Who has time to wash bottles on vacation? Not me!
But, if regular bottles are the way you want to do things even when traveling = more power to you! There are all sorts of travel goodies to help you when on the road. This traveling microwave bottle sterilizer makes easy work of getting bottles ready for baby. Microwaves are easy to find most anywhere.
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Diapering and Cleaning
Pack more diapers than you think you’ll need. What if some of your luggage gets lost? What if baby gets diarrhea? Be prepared. Even if you CAN find your favorite diapers at your vacation destination do you want to spend time shopping for them? Bring your own diapers! Or ship them ahead to your destination. As fun as it is to explore the grocery store (and it can be really cool to see what cool and different types of cookies and pastries you can find) you do NOT want to be in desperate search of a certain size or type of diapers.
Wipes come in many flavors and scents but with my own bizarre allergies (Read how to travel with allergies here.) I prefer things without a scent myself. These water wipes have NO chemicals and are all natural. And if you have been traveling for 36 hours straight..you might even want to take a spit bath with these to feel more human!!
Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Sleeping
Think outside the box on this one. My babies have slept in the stroller, in a dresser drawer pulled out and put on the floor, and once even in a laundry basket. You do NOT need a fancy schmancy official travel bed to travel with baby.
**** NOTE that the March of Dimes says that it is UNSAFE to sleep in the same bed with your 0-3 month old baby. The safest place for baby to sleep is alone, with no bedding, in the same room with parents.**
“recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.”
Not all of these recommendations were around when my babies were tiny and I did sleep with them sometimes. I feel really fortunate that all turned out well for us. I know now, with these strong recommendations, I would be terrified to sleep with my babies!! So, when you are potentially facing a change in schedule when you travel and thus less sleep…how do you prepare a safe spot for baby to sleep when you travel?
I love this travel bed/beach tent for babies because it is a duo product. You can use it for naps inside the hotel or on the beach. The top will keep the sun off baby’s sweet newbie skin and the zippered screens will keep those horrible bugs from snacking on your sweet baby!!
Sleeping can be tricky with a newbie during travel. Sometimes babies sleep anywhere and for long periods of time. If you are this lucky parent….well, those of use whose babies did NOT sleep EVER will just try not to hate you! LOL!! Holy cow, I was sleep deprived for the longest time. LOL! If you are like me…and your newbie was determined to never sleep for more than 45 minutes only to be completely refreshed and ready to rock and roll again – leaving YOU an utter zombie…this noise maker is for you.
Firstly, anything that can be familiar to baby, the same as at home, will be comforting and help baby sleep better. And of course anything that helps baby sleep better helps EVERYONE sleep better, right? A sleep machine makes the same noise anywhere you go and can help the whole family sleep better. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the noise machine can drown out any of the little sounds – or BIG sounds you hear when traveling that could potentially wake the sleeping baby! OMG – do NOT wake the baby!!! Once when we didn’t have an air conditioner in the hotel room, we slept with the windows open. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a garbage truck making that horrible beeping “I am backing up’ noise at o’dark thirty!” and a crying baby is NOT the very next sound you want to hear at that moment.
We use this white noise sleep machine at home and this portable ‘travel sound conditioner‘ while we are on the road! Now that my babies are bigger (11 an 13) we travel with 2 machines if we are in adjoining rooms. They are small, lightweight (1.2 pounds each) and worth the space and weight!!
with an infant – Packing tips – Medicine
I have always traveled (and still do) with a thermometer and medicine in a first aid kit. (Read what I pack in my first aid kit here!) Fevers always seem to happen during the middle of the night or on a holiday weekend while you are in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared! Once, I broke this rule and brought everything but the thermometer. I managed to find one at a pharmacy in Madrid but couldn’t read a celsius one. I had to google ‘what celcius temperature is a fever for a child’ for it to be useful.
Again, where was this ingenious invention when mine were little? Holy cow! Put the medicine in this hollow pacifier – officially called a pacifier liquid medicine dispenser and give to baby. Assuming medicine doesn’t taste ferocious to baby, they will drink it down AND you’ll know how much baby consumed. More than once I struggled to get medicine into baby by squirting the medicine into baby’s mouth near the cheek – only to have it spit right back at me. Then…how much medicine did baby actually get? There was no way to really know. It was stressful! This fantastic invention would end the wondering.
Check out these articles on more traveling with infant tips:
Natalie, The Educational Tourist