Traveling with baby: tips to make it easier
Travelling with baby can present unique challenges and give any parent – if you’ll pardon the pun – a terminal case of the freak-outs. In the interest of helping ease your travel woes, here are some tips that can make your family travel easier, from a momma who’s been there, done that, many times over.
Tip: Wear your baby!
If there’s one piece of baby gear you absolutely should bring with you on your travels, it’s your baby carrier. For getting through check-in, baggage-drop, security and to the gate, your baby carrier will save you from having to fold- and unfold a stroller countless times, will keep your hands free and will put your baby in the place where he feels most comfortable and secure: on you. Especially in a busy, crowded and unfamiliar place like an airport. Ever notice how many parents are carrying their babies in-arms while pushing empty strollers? Well, you’ll be the enviable one in-the-know with your baby cozily tucked up on you. Babywearing FTW!
Once on board, if you were unable to purchase a seat for your baby, having her in your carrier with your seatbelt buckled will help support her more safely during the flight than simply in-arms without your arms getting tired. You’ll have to remove your baby from your baby carrier during take-off and landing, though.
Tip: Plan for nutritional needs.
No matter how long your travel plans, you always want to be prepared. If you’re exclusively nursing your baby, well, you’re set (with your set. Haha!). Nurse your baby on take-off anf landing to help those little ears, and any other time in-between. You’re good to go!
In all other cases, have at least a few snacks that your baby will enjoy on hand. You never know what could happen when it comes to delays, so it’s best to pack a bit extra.
Need some easy travel snack ideas? Here you go: small containers or baggies of baby carrots, sugar snap peas, sliced cucumber, apple slices, tangerine or orange slices, etc., whole-grain crackers or biscuits, natural cheese cubes or sticks, small yogurt drinks or mashed fruit packets, cut pita and hummus, etc.
These snacks are healthy, will leave you with minimal waste to deal with, and a lot of them are great for both gummy- and toothy-mouthed babies to gnaw on for a while. Slow-eating snacks that take a while? Bonus! Just remember to bring extra wipes for cleaning up in the aftermath.
Steer clear of food that gets mashed easily, like bananas or pears or other easily-squished foods. Trust us on this one.
Tip: Pack surprises.
You don’t need to go crazy and spend a ton of money here, but if you gather a few new and novel things to share with your baby through travel time, your baby is more likely to stay happily playing. You know your baby better than anyone else, so pick some things that they’d enjoy. Some ideas: coloring or maze books and crayons (look for ones that AREN’T round! It will keep them from rolling off the tray tables), age-appropriate activity books, your smart phone or tablet with apps or a movie your child would enjoy (don’t forget the children’s headphones!). Hey, you can even turn the barf bag into a hand puppet by drawing a face on it and telling your child a story with it in a funny voice. Just remember to pack a pen. Oh, and take your time doling the treats out, too. The longer you take, the longer they last, right?
Tip: Schedule your flights around you baby.
If at all possible, schedule your flights to coincide with regular sleep times. Even though getting through the airport and, finally, boarding the plane and getting settled in your seat(s) will be hectic and most likely keep your baby awake, if your baby’s used to falling asleep during the same time as your flight, the hum of the plane might help settle him to sleep. One can always hope, right?
Tip: Know the carry-on rules.
Know what you can legally bring on board for your baby and yourself, such as the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule. Oh, and apparently it’s important to note that you must remove your baby from your baby carrier before attempting to place the carrier into the x-ray machine (Yes. It actually says that.). Your child can keep their shoes on, though. So there’s good news, after all.
Knowing the rules will help you and everyone else move more smoothly and quickly through security. And hey, it’s always good to know your rights, isn’t it?
Tip: Make friends with the flight attendants and the people around you.
It’s always nice to be nice to others, particularly in cramped quarters where you’ll be stuck together for a pre-determined amount of time. And when your travelling with your baby? You’re going to encounter people who are super cool and helpful, and others who are…well, not so much. If you can break the ice a bit with a little light humor about having your baby on board with your fellow passengers, you might help pre-emptively defend yourself against any rude remarks if your baby has fussy moments in-flight. Many of the flight attendants we’ve ever encountered or heard about while travelling with our babies in tow have been really helpful, so be sure to greet them just as they’ll greet you. They’re the gatekeepers to extra water and snacks during the flight. Just sayin’.
We wish you many safe and happy babywearing adventures with your baby!
We hope you found these tips for travelling with your baby helpful.
Is there anything you think we should add? Please let us know in the comments below!