One of our biggest goals when we found out we were pregnant, was to still be able to travel as much as we did prior to a baby. From road trips, flights, camping, you name it, we were always traveling. So raising a child who also shares that love, is so important to us.
While you can easily travel with your child without these tips, they certainly make it easier if traveling is something you plan to do often. A little planning and preparation go a long way!
- Start with baby-led-weaning instead of purees. For the first 6 months of life, all you need to worry about is milk, whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula. But as soon as baby starts eating solids, I highly suggest starting baby-led-weaning as soon as possible. When it comes to traveling, it is so much easier to not have to stress over baby’s food. With baby-led-weaning you don’t have to worry about packing a ton of purees or buying them when you get to your destination. With baby-led-weaning, baby eats what you eat, just in different portions and textures. Of course there are some adjustments that have to be made for certain foods (like raw vegetables) but for the most part, being able to feed your baby the food you are eating saves you a lot of time and money when you’re on the road!
- Try out gear before you go. If you are planning for baby to wear a hat, sunglasses, ear muffs, etc, do your best to test these out at home first. Get baby used to them first so that when the time comes that you need them, it’s not a new foreign object and your baby is already used to it. When we went canoeing with our babe for the first time, we made sure to practice with the life jacket multiple times at home first so that he was as comfortable as possible. The same goes for a pack and play, if your baby is used to only sleeping in their crib, try the pack and play for a few nights so that they can get used to it first.
- Be flexible with sleep. Try not to stress out too much on where and when your baby sleep ALL THE TIME. Yes, it’s important to have a good sleep routine for healthy development, but don’t stress when you have to break the routine sometimes. We found that since we traveled a lot early on, our baby got used to not needing the exact same things in order to sleep. Sometimes he slept in the car seat on our way somewhere. Sometimes he slept in the pack and play instead of his crib. Sometimes his naps were on a hike in the child carrier. This way, our baby learned to be able to sleep in all of these situations. While we keep a routine and schedule when we are home, our baby is able to easily adapt when we are away from home.
- Plan your travels around sleep when you can. For the first almost 4 months, baby is pretty much just sleeping all the time so there’s a lot more freedom. But as your baby gets older, it is so much easier (for you and baby) to try and plan your travels around when your baby will be sleeping. Going to be in the car? Try and drive during naps. Flying? Babies are typically happiest in the morning hours but we’ve always found flying red eyes was actually easiest because they were asleep the entire time. Do your best to mimic a good sleeping environment. Bring a portable sound machine, keep them in cozy clothes, use a light blanket to block light in a stroller or car seat. When you can’t travel during sleep times make sure to bring lots of snacks or new toys to keep baby engaged. Take breaks when you need them.
There are tons of great resources out there for great tips on traveling with a baby so don’t be afraid to do a little research and plan for your trips. But I hope this list helps you to feel confident in traveling with your little one and being able to continue creating those precious memories!