Monday, June 10, 2013

Must Have Baby Travel Tips


Summer has finally arrived, and with it comes summer vacation! Although by now I have taken several trips with our daughter, who is nearing her 18th month of life, traveling and packing for a baby or toddler can be a bit overwhelming. I have also learned quite a bit along the way. Because I like to always have everything that I need, the end result is, an over-packed suitcase. That my friend, gets old quickly.

I have resorted to a plan, to make travel and packing easier and simpler for myself. I thought that I may also share my experience with those of you seeking some help. Now before we go anywhere, I always make a list of the things I use and need on a daily basis, when It comes to the baby. I actually do this as a checklist in the "Colornote" app on my smartphone. That way I have a saved list to reuse and tweak each time we go somewhere. When you travel, and as your baby grows, you will learn that each stage requires unique needs, so keep that in mind.

When making my checklist, I consider the things we have needed in the last few weeks and what we would need, specific to the types of activities we plan to do on vacation. I try to also consider all the things that I can purchase, borrow, or rent, once we arrive to our destination, to lessen the load on the trip.

Now for those of you who are mommy warriors, seasoned by more than one little angel, you probably have figured out a plan long ago. If that applies to you, keep reading anyway because you may be able to offer up some crucial tips for new moms (or dads) about to jetset!

 Oh yeah, let me also just disclose with you that I am a breastfeeding momma....still. Yep. Although at times it can be a pain, literally, it works for us. For me personally, it has been a more convenient way to feed my baby, given our situation. I especially love this convenience when we are traveling! I understand and am judgment free about the fact that all moms do what they feel is best for their little ones. Since I do not have much experience in formula feeding, I ask that those of you who do, feel free to leave a comment below on any suggestions you have based on your experiences.

 Alright, onward! Below you will find ways to reduce what you really need, down to getting the most use from versatile picks and my favorite must have items! There are also a few simple tips to keep baby happy, and more importantly safe while you are away.

                                                                                                                 
1.      Stick to Packing the “Versatile Pick’s" and “Must Haves”
Lessen the amount of baby gear that you really need by using multi-use items. For example: for a flight last summer, we used our Snap and go stroller because of its versatility. It uses the car seat as a stroller seat, instead of packing a separate car seat and a stroller. (just don’t forget the car seat base.) This is a perfect option for younger babies (under 22lbs) 

 *Tip- Car rental companies can also rent car seats, just let them know when making your reservations.

Skip the stroller all together! Consider wearing baby in a sling, wrap, or pack instead. Most hold babies that are over a year old. (We still use our backpack carrier for our 18 month old)

Purchase what you can there. This includes items such as diapers and wipes. Just remember to pack a few for when you are traveling to your destination.

     *More “Versatile Picks” to consider-

Sanitizing hand wipes can be used to clean toys, surfaces, and hands, eliminating the need for multiple sanitizers. It also eliminates the need for a high chair and grocery cart covers.

Naturally water proof, flannel receiving blanket, are good to use to cover up a chilled baby, but also as a barrier for diaper changes, or even for privacy for while nursing in a pinch, just make sure its clean.

Find a nursing cover on the snap! When in a bind, here are some things you can use: Scarfs, even a lightweight one in warm weather works well. Wear it or tie it around your purse. When at the pool, I just counted on my baby's large sun hat to shield me while nursing. You can also use a towel.

Baby Wipes- Clean hands, face, or anywhere else. I use them to get stains out of clothes and goop off the car seat. Sometimes when im really desperate, Ill take a shot of hand sanitizer to one and use it to disinfect a highchair or grocery cart.

     *Must haves-

Blow up baby bath tubs are wonderful! They retail for $12 and up and are worth every penny. They fit easily in luggage, and give you peace of mind about where baby is bathed. This item can easily be used for bigger kids too. Hotel bathtubs are gross, sinks are worse! They may look clean but trust me, they are not! We take ours camping and my little one loves her “outside” baths.

These clips are awesome, making them a must have! They can actually be used to clip a blanket around your neck to make a nursing cover out of a blanket. (Kinda like at the dentist) You can also use these to make a  baby bib. Just clip on a napkin or disposable pad! So, they are versatile too! They can be found all over etsy. The ones pictured of from Eden to Grace.

For the beach or pool, we love reusable swim diapers. Baby sunblock sticks are also a must! They are small, convenient to apply, delicate enough for baby's face, or anywhere else, so the entire family can use it! I like Neutrogena Baby.

 

 2.      Do your best to keep baby content while on the go by:

Packing a few small toys that baby has never played with before, just for the trip, may help you stay sane. Save some items to spread out over the course of your travel time, like a new toy every 30 minutes or an hour. You can even look around the house for some small safe items that are interesting for a bored or cranky baby. Items like stickers, post it notes, mini magna doodles work well in small spaces such as an airplane. Just remember to make sure these items are safe and watch baby carefully while playing with them, use common sense. So, if they are sitting in your lap on an airplane, all of these items should be pretty safe.

Try to plan travel around the baby's nap time as best as possible. In a pinch, I will show home videos on the cell phone to my daughter, she is always entertained by watching herself. Also remember to keep baby fed. Formula to go packets, are nice. They come in small, premeasured, packets, just pour & Shake. For solid feeders, fruit and veggie puree pouches, instead of bowls, spoons, and jars of food are convenient. Remember baby wipes are also great for cleaning spills, wiping faces, hands, and noses. Dont forget to pack a good carry on bag filled with all that you need for about 24 hours. Remember to take breaks as often as you need to and try not to stress.



3.Simple Safety Tips:
 
Once you reach your destination, remember to keep baby safe in their new environment. Consider moving furniture to cover danger areas such as stairways and outlets. Make sure furniture is stable and not top heavy. Pack a few outlet covers if you have some. Call ahead and ask for baby items provided or details about potential hazards where you are staying. Consider potential height (such as stairs or balconys) & water hazards, and how to avoid them.
Smart cell phones now have several apps where you can turn your cell into a baby monitor. Your cell phone can also download games and cartoons to entertain a baby during travel. I would invest in an otter box phone cover to protect the phone if it is dropped. If you have an IPhone or IPad, Fisher Price makes cases to turn your technology, toddler worthy.

 Store local pharmacy, hospital, and urgent care addresses and phone numbers in your cellphone just in case


Breathe, Relax, Have fun!

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