Traveling with a baby does not have to be stressful. Babies are very flexible and usually transition well. With preparation, patience and a little bit of advice, you and your baby can have a low-stress vacation. When traveling with a baby, keep safety in mind first. Always use an infant restraint whether you travel by car, bus, train or plane. Infant restraints will keep your baby safe and secure throughout the trip.
Traveling by car can often be the longest way to travel, but the cheapest. If you plan to keep your baby in the car on a long trip, it is essential that you plan ahead of time for any type of situation that may arise. If at all possible, try to travel during a time that your baby will be sleeping. Depending on your baby’s age and the length of your trip, you might need to plan stops along the way to nurse or feed your baby. Take advantage of this time to get your baby out of his carseat and give them some stretching time. Remember that babies do not like sun in their face and make an effort to keep it off of them. You can use a wide brimmed hat or a specially made cling for your window. Tape colorful pictures of objects where your baby can see them and play music that your baby likes. Talk to your baby as much as possible when she is awake to keep her entertained. Pack your baby interesting toys that she likes to play with along the way. Pack snacks for you and your child that are easy to eat while driving. Leave diapers, wipes and a set of clothes within reach for any necessary changes.
Airplane travel is often the fastest way, but the most expensive. Even though your child should be in a restraint even when flying, it is not a requirement. An infant carrier is not considered a carry-on as long as it is not stored in overhead. Most airlines require that a baby be atleast 7 days old in order to fly. A baby can sit on your lap during travel. As long as he does not use a seat, he will fly for free. When flying, keep a carry on bag with a change of clothes, wipes and diapers. Make sure that you have formula and bottles for feedings and keep some snacks on hand. If your baby needs to have formula or baby food warmed, ask the flight attendant-they are usually more than willing to help out. Give yourself extra time to check in at the airport and arrive at your gate at the correct time. Remember that traveling with a baby does take a bit longer. A portable stroller is usually a lifesaver, especially if you are traveling along with the baby. During takeoff and landings, nurse or bottle feed your baby to help with sore ears. Because of the extra baggage that babies require, it is best to let the other passengers off of the plane first.
Traveling by train is one of the safest forms of transportation, but also the longest. Infant restraint seats are allowed on the trains if you reserve a seat for it, but there are no safety belts to restrain the seat. Children under two years old travel free on Amtrak. Plan ahead and arrive early for your train. If possible, get seats that face each other so that your baby can see you while you travel. Amtrak does offer children’s meals and they are also more than happy to heat formula or baby foods. You can also ask them to refrigerate any necessary baby items. Even though the train will probably have a dining car, it is safer and easier to bring your own snacks and eat them in your seat. Train temperatures can vary greatly from car to car. Dress your baby in layers so that you can add or remove if you need to.
If you need to stop at a restaraunt along the way, have some toys that are reserved for table time only. It is perfectly okay for your baby to play with ice in an unbreakable, sealed cup. If you need to nurse your baby while you are in the restaraunt, ask for a boothe in the back of the restaraunt. Nursing babies need to eat too! If your baby gets bored easily in the highchair, leave her out of it until it is time to eat. Ask your server for crackers or have some snacks available that she can munch on before the meal.
Many times, you need to stop at a hotel before you arrive at your destination. Sometimes, when you arrive at your destination you will be in a hotel also. It is important to think safety when staying somewhere other than your home. Pack electric outlet covers to use in the hotel room and make sure that you take them home when you leave. Check around the room and remove and dangerous items and cover sharp corners. Pack some familiar items from home that will make sleeping easier for your baby. Many hotels offer portable cribs that you can attach mobiles or mirrors to. If you prefer your baby to sleep in a pack and play, bring it with you. Ask for a room on the lower level-this will make it easier to bring in luggage and baby supplies. If you need a refrigerator for formula or baby food, ask for one. Some hotels will put a temporary fridge in your room for your stay. Ask if the hotel has a restaraunt that serves baby friendly foods. If not, find out where the closest store and restaraunt is. If you have been traveling all day, take some time to play with your baby or take him swimming before going to bed. As hard as it can be while traveling, it is best to follow as normal routine as possible. This will make the trip more enjoyable for the both of you!
Lastly, enjoy your trip and take lots of pictures. You and your baby will enjoy looking back on the memories for years to come!