Having a baby is both a joyous and stressful time. The ability to get away and enjoy a vacation is one that every new parent should have.
And you don’t need to stop traveling just because you have new little addition to your family. Vacation time is important for hard-working adults, and science has even proven that traveling while young has many beneficial effects on a child’s brain development.
Yes, it’s true, traveling with an infant can provide a number of obstacles and challenges. But by no means is it impossible. With the proper planning and care taken, traveling with an infant can be a breeze. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your vacation infant-friendly and enjoyable for all.
What To Do With Your Car Seat
The second you walk out the front door, the first thing you’ll need to be figured out is how you’re transporting your infant.
If you’re driving yourself to your destination then you’ll obviously use your everyday car seat. But what if you’re headed to the airport?
You could always rent a new baby car seat upon arriving at your new destination, but you never know what shape these will be in, or what’s happened in them prior to your rental. Instead, consider bringing your own car seat to the airport with you.
Many people don’t realize, but car baby seats are gate check items, meaning you can take it with you right up to the gate and leave it to the side of the entrance. This makes bringing your car seat with you on your trip easy and affordable.
At the gate, you may even ask if you can bring the seat on board with you– if the flight isn’t full, some airlines may let you use an empty seat for your infant and their car seat. If you’re worried about the airline damaging your car seat, you can always purchase a protective bag that fits over it, that’s sold online and in many stores. Alternatively, you could also purchase a cheaper “back up” car seat that you’ll be less upset about if it is damaged in transit.
Creating A Home Away From Home
As soon as you arrive at your location, it’s advisable to set up your room or space to be as much like home as possible. Settle in, get set up, and the familiar territory will give both you and your infant more peace of mind.
Find where is best to set up your travel crib and then place your infant in it right away and let them get accustomed to the new surroundings.
Designate different parts of the room for various tasks. One area should be a changing station, with wipes, clean diapers, and a changing pad set up. You should have a little area with toys where your child can play.
And even if where you’re staying doesn’t actually have one, you should designate some part of the room as the “kitchen” — somewhere where bottles, food, and other such goods can live.
Staying organized in this way can make taking care of your infant during your trip easier and stress-free. You should keep your schedule and routine as close as possible to that of your home life too.
If you have a bedtime ritual at home, such as lullabies, feedings, baths, or anything else, it’s important that you keep these routines up while away from home.
If you’ve traveled to a different time zone, it may be worth sticking to your old schedule as well instead of confusing the baby. Just wake up a little earlier or later than you normally might and keep the infant’s internal clock consistent. And the value of a proper bedtime routine can’t go understated.
If you’re really worried about your infant settling into their new environment, consider putting them in their travel crib at home a few nights before you leave. This gives them a chance to adjust to a new setting while still having all the familiar comforts of home around them. It can ease their transition into their new vacation home.
Feeding Your Infant On The Go
Sampling the local cuisine and being on the go is why you go on a vacation in the first place. Dining and touring with your infant isn’t impossible, as long as you plan ahead.
If your child is still breastfeeding, packing is easy. Simply bring a cloth nursing cover and you’re good to go. If your child’s moved on to solid foods, pack a fair share of baby wipes as well as a bib that can be wiped off instead of requiring a wash.
With both of these items in hand, you can feed and clean on the go with relative ease.
Most restaurants and eateries you’ll go to on your trip will likely have high chairs available for your child. All you’ll need to do is request them. If you’re wary of leaving the availability of said chairs up to fate, you can always invest in and pack a travel high chair. Travel high hairs are collapse and portable and can be found in most stores.
It also may be worth slightly adjusting your dining schedule to account for your infant. A sunset dinner around 7 or 8 PM sounds nice but can force you to squeeze into a crowded and busy restaurant. Being first in around 5:30 or 6 can leave enough room to comfortably park a stroller, get comfy, and be out before the night crowd really comes in.
Traveling With An Infant Can Be Easy
If you follow the above advice, traveling with an infant doesn’t have to be impossible. Every family deserves some vacation time, and having a new child in the house should be a reason FOR one– not against one. With the proper steps taken, an infant-friendly vacation is easily within your grasp.
Check out our blog for more essential travel tips, tricks, and advice.