Don’t let travel times with a baby or a toddler take the fun out of your vacation with these six necessary-for-survival tips.
I thought of myself as a seasoned traveler. Then I had my first baby that started the onslaught of travel dilemmas. Nothing’s more exhausting as going somewhere else with a baby or a toddler in tow. But now, nine years after I’ve given birth to my firstborn and three kids later, I can say that I’ve nailed it down, somehow.
Trying to entertain a small child for hours in a cramped space isn’t likely to be fun for them or you. Long flights are a lot easier if your child is asleep for most of the flight. — Alice Boyes Ph.D.
So for those who are traveling-with-babies greenhorns as I once was, here are my six tips necessary for you to survive travel time with your baby.
Bonus Tip: Travel As Much As You Can When Your Baby’s Still Small
There are no standard rules as to how soon you can travel with your baby. Most airline companies allow babies as young as two weeks old aboard. You have to trust your instinct when it comes to taking a trip with young babies in tow. My bonus tip is, don’t wait for your baby to reach the “terrible” age of one to do it. Unless your baby is colicky, babies under the age of one tend to be agreeable traveling companions who mostly would sleep their way to your destination. Plus, if you’re breastfeeding, no feeding bottles to heat up. That’s total convenience all the way.
Tip #1: Choose Baby Clothes That Allow Easy Diaper Changes When Dressing Up Your Little One For Traveling.
My to-go baby outfit for travel is the cotton shirt and pants combo along with soft jelly shoes or sandals that are easy to slip off and put on. They’re soft and comfy, and when the baby poops, I only have to remove the bottom part to change diapers. OOTDs that make babies, especially girls, travel chic look cute – on paper. I’ll choose practicality over aesthetic reasons at any time of the day.
Tip #2: Baby Carriers Versus Strollers – Baby Carriers Win!
Practicality-wise, the baby carrier is the better option between it and the stroller. Carrying your baby with you makes it easier to go between connecting flights especially if you’re in a rush. Besides, with your baby in the carrier, you don’t have to worry about waking him up if you need to move.
Just a reminder though – don on the carrier first before wearing a jacket as airport personnel may ask you to take the piece of clothing off, and doing so would mean taking off the carrier and the baby, too.
The creative bursts that flow so organically from our kids can’t really be fostered in small blocks of time, neatly organized to occur in the brief after-school space that is left after eight hours of tiring academic rigor. — Erin Clabough Ph.D.
Tip #3: Bring “New” Handy Toys And Plush Books With You For Your Baby To Play With.
Apparently, this is so you could keep your little one entertained as you travel. New doesn’t mean you have to buy brand-new ones – just toys or books he hadn’t seen before. You can consider swapping with friends who have babies the same age as yours. Touch-and-feel plush books and toys are the ideal traveling companions. Their entertainment value lies in keeping the little dude occupied tinkering and fulfilling his sensory curiosity.
Tip #4: Snack Rules When Traveling – Low To No Mess.
Stock up on finger foods when traveling with a baby. Small fruits like grapes are one good example for toddlers who already have enough teeth to bite into them (just keep an eye on your little one in case they choke). For smaller babies, you can bring homemade soft biscuits and cookies if you don’t want to feed your little one with commercially packed ones. And don’t forget to keep a sippy cup of water close at hand.
Tip #5: Technology Spells F-U-N.
If all your entertainment ideas fail, there’s nothing wrong with whipping out the smartphone and letting your baby tinker and play with it. Just make sure it’s in a kid-safe mode. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, setting it up to airplane mode also does the trick.
You can load up with kid-friendly videos like nursery rhymes. Small kids love songs accompanied by action and funny animations. There are tons of materials onYouTube. Search and download beforehand.
Tip #6: And If All Else Fails, Stretch Out Your Patience And Enjoy Spontaneity.
No matter how you prepare, spontaneity is something you have to expect when traveling with babies and kids in general. You have to arm yourself with lots of patience, learn to go with the flow, and enjoy free play with your little one. It could be playing with your plane seat’s rotating armrest, passing your board pass back and forth, or even singing along to some of the nurseries rhymes your toddler might already know.
Traveling with children presents anxieties for many parents. But for gay parents, anxieties may be heightened by the reality that many people—often those in positions of power (airport officials, law enforcement officials)—may not readily understand or accept their family relationships. — Abbie Goldberg Ph.D.
Most importantly, there’s nothing more precious than going somewhere with your loved ones or the whole family. So don’t forget to have fun!
Article Contributor: Maggie, mom of three