Who’s traveling this holiday season? We may still be in a COVID world, but many of you still have the need to do some kind of traveling this season! If this is you, I want you to be equipped with all the tools you need to have the easiest, safest travel with baby. We’re staying home for the holidays this year, but these tips & tricks come from a LOT of experience traveling last year with Mason. Even in a pre-COVID world, we were always worried about germs around an infant! So check out my most useful baby travel tips:
First of all, GIVE YOURSELF SO MUCH GRACE! Traveling throws your routine out of whack – and your baby’s! Sometimes you’ll have to do some things you wouldn’t ordinarily do at home in order to maintain your sanity while traveling. And that’s OKAY. You will not ruin your baby’s routine forever or spoil your baby too much or anything like that…Just do what you have to do, mama! You deserve your travels to be as stress free and enjoyable as possible and, if that means breaking your own rules just a little, then do it!
If you are flying, try to book a flight at a time when baby typically NAPS!The exact logistics of this depends on how long your flight will be and how long you baby typically naps, but do your best to get a nap for the majority of your flight. This makes the traveling experience the most pleasant for all parties involved. My husband and I flew to visit family in San Francisco with Mason last November when he was 4 months old. From San Diego, the flight is only about an hour and a half. Children under 2 don’t need their own seat, so we held him on the flight. Mason nursed during takeoff and then dozed off for the rest of the flight–case in point of doing something I wouldn’t usually do at home! Another tip for flying: wipe down the seats, armrests, etc. with a Clorox wipe and attach toys and/or pacifiers to a pacifier clip to baby’s bib. You don’t want that stuff falling on the gross airplane floor!
If you are driving, plan your drive during a nap if it is a shorter drive and overnight if it is a longer drive. Driving through the night sounds COMPLETELY AWFUL, but it is actually beneficial if you have an infant because they are able to give you one long stretch of sleep at night – so you get to drive as efficiently as possible! That amount of time varies by age – typically babies are developmentally ready for one long stretch in between feedings starting at 4 weeks. You want this stretch to happen at night under normal circumstances so parents can get some sleep too! At 4 weeks, your baby can go 4 hours in between feedings and can stretch that by 1 hour for every additional week in age, up to 12 weeks. Therefore, if you plan your drive through the night, you should be able to get through a good chunk, if not all, of your journey with baby sound asleep! Plus, babies sleep best in a dark environment. We always drive through the night when we go home to San Francisco because it has always made the journey WAY easier. We go through Mason’s whole nighttime routine right before we get in the car, including dressing him in jammies. This gets him mentally prepared for bedtime, even if bedtime is happening in his car seat! Just make sure you plan this in advance and are ready for a drive like this – nap during the day so you are alert and can drive safely!
Keep baby close in a baby carrier if you are flying.We always put Mason in a baby carrier (our favorite is the Tula Explore) and positioned him facing our chest. The Tula specifically has a panel to cover baby’s head. If your carrier doesn’t have an attachment like that, you can always use a blanket or breastfeeding cover when walking through the airport terminal. Not only does this help shield baby a bit from airborne germs, but it also keeps you hands-free and able to get through the airport without any meltdowns (by baby OR mama). Speaking of hands-free, check your bags! Struggling through the airport and onto the plane with a bunch of luggage and a baby will make anyone grumpy…don’t start your travels with your grumpy pants on! A lot of airlines offer free checked bags –consider that perk when choosing which flight to book!
Pack your diaper bag strategically and make sure it’s within arm’s reach. Whether you are driving or flying, this is a MUST. Make sure you have enough diapers and wipes for the amount of hours you may be traveling, an extra outfit for baby in case of spit up or a blowout, an extra shirt for mom and dad for the same reason, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer, extra binkies/lovies/etc., and a dry/wet bag or Ziploc bag for any outfit mishaps.
Bring a portable travel sound machine.White noise helps baby sleep through the car ride for a peaceful journey. My favorite is the Rohm Portable White Noise Machine on Amazon. We always put this right next to his car seat for long drives. Plus, this will help baby sleep more soundly once you get to your destination. Unfamiliar noises may disturb baby during naps or nighttime, and the white noise helps drown all that out. Everyone is happier when they’re well rested, right?!
Bring your own travel crib.There’s something about sleeping in your own bed that helps you sleep better, and the same goes for babies. Plus, if you’re staying at an Airbnb, they may not provide one. But, even if they do, I feel most comfortable letting my baby sleep in his own crib, knowing how clean his sheets are and all that stuff!I hope these tips are helpful for whatever you may be doing over the holidays! I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for YOU. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for following me on Instagram. Thank you for supporting my journey in building this brand. Thank you if you’ve already pre-ordered my first collection! THANK YOU for letting me serve you and walk in my calling!