As winter holidays sneakily creep into view, there are many occasions on the horizon for which you will travel with your newborn baby. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends are vying for some quality time with your little munchkin, but even mundane trips to the grocery store strike your heart with fear … There are so many baby supplies to consider packing, and you don’t want to lug half the nursery for no reason at all. Luckily, there is a simple trick to streamline your packing and still be prepared for all of baby’s needs.
The most effective traveling with baby tips come from recognizing the three priorities of an infant: to eat, to stay safe, and to keep clean. As a parent, it is your duty to ensure that your child is well fed, protected, and hygienic at all times, so narrow your focus to the supplies which will support these three priorities. You will be a pro packer in no time, but to start off, print this Baby on Board Checklist to leave by the front door or in a pocket of your diaper bag for hassle-free travel prep.
The supplies of utmost importance when travelling with a baby are those which help her eat. First, pack enough formula depending on the length of time you expect to be away from home. Dry formula packets save space and are less likely to leak or spill in the diaper bag compared to bottles. Second, be sure to pack a back-up bottle. Juggling a fussy infant, a clumsy stroller, and your list of groceries sets the scene for placing baby’s bottle on a shelf and never seeing it again. Do not allow a lack of food to spoil your trip! A hungry baby is not a happy baby, so you will not be happy either. For mothers who breast-feed, pack your feeding pillow or other comforting tools to simulate a routine feeding even when you and baby are on the go. Finally, toss a small burp cloth into your bag. While family, friends, and strangers alike will all agree that your newborn is beautiful, her baby spit-up on your sweater is not so beautiful and can be easily avoided.
Your method of transportation comes into play when determining how to keep baby safe. Are you travelling by car? Securely strap your infant into the back seat. You can choose an infant car seat or a convertible one, which offers the option of rear-facing for infants and forward-facing for small children. The convertible car seat is recommended for cost efficiency, because it can grow with your baby while still providing excellent safety. Are you going to use a carriage or a baby sling? Carriages give baby a secure place to nap even while you are strolling around, while baby slings offer the comfort of close contact and hands-free holding. For more information about devices to hold your newborn, browse “Bringing Back Babywearing.”
No matter how you tote baby around, dress her appropriately for the weather and bring one extra outfit, a hat, and a fleece baby blanket. These are vital for protecting her from impromptu temperature drops, and the back-up clothes and blanket serve double duty if she soils herself. A travel mat or portable play yard are invaluable options for setting up instant areas that are safe for baby to play, lie, or be changed, and swaddle blankets provide the most comfortable and safe sleep. (“What is Swaddling and Should I Do It?”)
The last priority parents must pack for is keeping their newborn clean. Though feeding and bathroom routines vary per child, most mothers suggest packing 1 – 3 diapers per hour. After changing, you will want baby wipes and diaper cream on hand. In fact, you will want baby wipes at all times during the day – before allowing people to hold your baby, after spit-ups or spills, etc. The small plastic bag is a trick for carrying clothes that get soiled during your trip, without ruining the inside of your diaper bag, and once again, pack an extra pacifier for when the first one gets vaulted into the realm of the unknown.
In review, there are sixteen items to check-off your list when travelling with baby. Instead of haphazardly stuffing your diaper bag with supplies, focus on those which serve baby’s needs to eat, stay safe, and keep clean. A newborn’s tummy is most important to please, but also keep her safe with different types of baby blankets and weather-appropriate attire. You don’t need to pack the whole changing table to keep a newborn clean, but you will want to bring plenty of baby wipes everywhere you go. Hopefully, the Baby on Board Checklist makes gathering supplies a simple task, so you can redirect your attention to enjoying your first winter travels with baby!