Traveling during the holidays is a majorly stressful endeavor. From making sure that you have everything you need packed, to the long car rides in traffic, to flight delays and layovers, it is enough to make you want to rip your hair out. The last thing you want with all that stress is a cranky baby on your hands. A five hour road trip to visit the family with a screaming little one is enough to make you want to cry as well. And if you are taking a plane, I’m sure your fellow passengers won’t be thanking you for the added noise either. So what do you do? Here are some tips to make sure your baby is as happy and comfortable as can be, in turn making your life a whole lot easier.
Entertainment is a huge factor during traveling. The more your little one is occupied the happier everyone will be. But at the same time, you don’t need to over pack and add every toy your child has to your carry on. Kids can be wonderfully easy to amuse with little objects. Sometimes things you naturally carry in your purse can entertain your baby for at least a good half hour. Your keys make for easy entertainment, with key chains and plenty of things to jingle. Even just letting them rummage through your purse can help a baby stay occupied.
However, it’s also a good idea to have some toy options. A four pack of crayons and a mini coloring book can be very helpful, while a cuddly stuffed animal may comfort them enough to sleep for a while. For a nice two in one stuffed animal and blanket option, the Frog Blankie by Maison Chic could be the perfect travel companion. Your smartphone is also a nice fail safe whether on the plane (as long as they are allowed to be on) or in a car. Even if they don’t know how to work them, the colors and moving panels are a great distraction.
Another important tip is to dress your baby as comfortably as possible. Try for a natural fabric like cotton, that is comfortable and breathable. Pajamas make great travel outfits. They allow for easy diaper changes and can help coax your baby into sleeping for a period of time. It is also practical to keep a swaddling blanket on hand at all times. Keep in mind the discomfort of flying in a crowded unfamiliar atmosphere, and make your child comfortable by wrapping them in your arms for a time, until they fall asleep. The light but cozy cotton SwaddleDesigns Marquisette Cute & Wild blanket is the perfect option for a potentially stuffy and warm airplane.
Finally, because it tends to be colder during holiday travel some easily removable comforts are also a good idea. Make sure to pack a warm hat and booties for when you aren’t in the car or on the plane. The Egg Baby Striped Knit Hat And Bootie Set is comfortable and stylish allowing you to show off more than your baby’s good behavior.
If traveling with your baby, it is usually best to travel on their schedule. When looking for flights it may be beneficial to find ones later on in the day. If you tend to put your baby down at around 7 or 8 then look for a flight around those times. They may start off a bit cranky, but chances are the lull of the plane will put them to sleep as soon as they get comfortable. If driving somewhere, leaving early in the morning when your baby is still sleeping can make things a lot easier. This way you can avoid trying to get a fussy kid into the car seat, while dragging half open luggage behind you. The car is also likely to keep your baby asleep with gentle vibrations.
My final tip, and one that every mother should know, is that it’s important to have plenty of snacks in your carry-on luggage or in the car. Airplane food rarely agrees with anyone and children are less inclined to suffer in silence. A small baggie of Cheerios or Goldfish is easy to carry and easy to eat. Sure a few may fall between the seats, but something along those lines is a necessity. A child with a happily full stomach is more likely to stay quiet.
Whether your child is still on breast milk or not, you should always have extra bottle on hand. The sucking motion of a bottle and swallowing can also help to pop your baby’s ears, lessening their discomfort.
When you have to travel, there’s so much that can potentially cause stress. Delays, traffic, and other unforeseen problems are as much a part of the holidays as food or gifts. Don’t let an unhappy child add to the grief. Make sure they are comfortable, entertained, well fed and rested, and you may very well enjoy traveling as much as your destination. Well, maybe not that much, but still. Happy holidays.