Packing for Your Baby When You Travel
Some people probably find it quite daunting, going away for the first time on a trip with a baby. It does seem like quite a lot of hassle, but it is important not to let the baby take over your life in a negative way. If you need to travel, go away on a vacation, or visit friends or relatives, the important thing is: just do it! You just have to pack for the baby as well, and take into account a few practical issues.
I was 17 years old before I ever went on an airplane, but our daughter was jet-setting from the age of 2 weeks. Of necessity, we had to go on a flight to Cebu and stay for a few days. It was the first of several such trips in the first year of her life, and I am sure that early first trip made it that much easier for the later ones, when she was more aware.
When packing to go away with your new baby, it is not too dissimilar, at least as a starting point, to preparing a baby layette, then multiplying it by however many days you are going to be away. However, having had time at home with the baby already, you will have a good idea of all the things you need to get through the day, and night, so the actual packing is not really something to worry about.
What you can take with you will depend on how you are travelling, and where you will be staying when you get there. If you are staying at a hotel, then try and get one that can supply a crib. All is not lost if you cannot find one, but if you have already got your baby used to a crib, then it is a good idea to try to continue with that while away. In her case, she was content in the hotel crib, even though it was much deeper than her own. When we returned a couple of months later, when she was more aware, we could tell she was already familiar with the hotel and the crib, and settled more quickly than we had expected.
If at all possible, do not put off taking your baby on a trip. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is likely to turn out. Remember, a baby knows no difference to what you are teaching her and exposing her to, so if trips away are part of your life, then it is normal to her too. But to make it as smooth as possible, think carefully about what you need to pack, and your access at the destination to any other needs that might arise.
Of course, feeding and clothing the baby are all important. You want to make sure you have everything you need for feeding her, and you have to remember that you may not always have the convenience of a kitchen on-hand. If you are breast-feeding, you don’t need to worry about feeding supplies too much since you keep them with you at all time. However, if you are bottle-feeding, make sure you have everything you need already prepared. Pack sterilized bottles and nipples in zipper-close plastic bags to keep them clean.
It is best to overestimate on everything. Pack at least as many diapers and wipes as you go through on a daily basis for each day you will be on your trip. Then bring an extra two days in case the baby gets diarrhea, or you unexpectedly take a little bit longer than planned. You also want to make sure that you have changing pads or something similar to keep the area that you use to change your baby keep her clean.
If you are uncertain about the weather, pack a large variety of clothing. Take a couple of extra outfits, preferably things you can layer or mix and match. Try to pack at least one spare outfit for each day of your trip, especially if you will not have laundry facilities. Remember, babies are experts at making messes. Be prepared for the worst, and things will prove better than you had dared think.
It is vitally important to pack a small first aid kit, containing pain reliever/fever reducer, Band-Aids, teething medicine, and any other supplies your baby may need. Toys like teething rings, and a favorite comfort toy, should be taken into consideration, as well as basic baby toiletries. Again, bear in mind that you should be preparing for the worst, just in case. You want to be prepared if you are not in a place where medical supplies are on hand.
Make sure you have a means to comfortably carry the baby, like a baby sling or a front-pack carrier, especially if you’re going to be outdoors, unless of course you prefer just to carry her in your arms. Also, a portable playpen with some toys will make the trip much more enjoyable for you and the baby, if you can fit it in. If you have a play pen that doubles as a crib, then that’s even better. Packing some small activities for travel, as well as some other things that can be packed away and then brought out once you arrive at your destination, is probably the best way to go.
If you are travelling on a plane or bus, and plan to check your bags, make sure that any necessary baby supplies are in your carry-on. Not only do you want to make sure that you have everything you need while in transit, but there is always the worst-case scenario that bags will be lost. You may be able to go without an extra change of underwear, but baby may not be able to.