Traveling with babies can be challenging...but we are firm believers in doing it! In the photos to your left and right, you see some of our family members taking their babies on their first mini-road trips.
In the photo to your left, we were visiting "Alley Oop Park," in the tiny town of Iraan, Texas. An Alley Oop comic strip-lover built this park...just for visitors to come along and enjoy it!
And in the photo to your right? That's another family member, baby Jet, visiting the Denver Aquarium in Colorado.
Why do we love family outings and travel? We feel that regular outings help to strengthen a family's emotional bonds to one another...as well as stimulating the children's intellectual curiosity. There are surely situations in which travel isn't in a child's best interest...but in our experience, we've had extremely positive results. Children's worlds can be expanded in so many ways by exploring new places and ideas, and travel can supplement classroom studies in a way that makes book-learning come alive.
To build this "baby travel checklist" page, we enlisted the help of a friend who runs a specialty website related to infant care. Her name is Christine Albury, and she publishes the very interesting and informative website, Homemade-baby-food-recipes.com. As you can tell from the words and the spellings in her article below, she's British! (Isn't the web a wonderful place...you can meet new friends from all over the world!)
Below, is her article about traveling with a baby, which includes a check list of things you won't want to forget to bring on vacation. At the end of her article, you'll find a link to her delightful website...so that you can learn still more interesting baby info, if you'd like.
Vacation Packing Checklist for Babies: "Travelling with Your Baby"
Article by Christine Albury
Travelling With Your Baby
It may take a little extra planning and organisation, but travelling with a baby does not have to be the nightmare some parents imagine!
The Items You'll Need When Travelling With Baby
Baby first aid kit
Enough food and formula powder for your trip (always bring more than you think you'll need!)
Water and juice (if appropriate)
Diapers/nappies and wipes
Scented diaper bags
Disposable bibs or a wipe clean bib
Feeding bowl and utensils
Food warming equipment, if desired
Your baby's blanket - its familiar scent and feel will be reassuring
Spare clothes for baby AND you
Spare pacifiers/dummies (if needed)
Breast pump (if needed)
Nightlight (great for night feeds in hotel rooms, which can be very dark)
Baby sling or carrier
Useful but optional extras include a portable high chair and a travel crib/cot, which allow a great deal of freedom when travelling.
If possible, breastfeed your baby - by far the easiest option when travelling! If you need to express, you can safely keep breastmilk in a cooler with ice for up to 24 hours.
If baby is formula fed, you can pre-fill enough bottles with the correct amount of water to last through a day's worth of driving, so that you can simply add the powder & be ready for a feeding.
If you ask for bottles to be warmed for you, always check the temperature of the milk VERY carefully before giving it to your baby.
Do not save unused portions of formula or canned baby foods unless they're immediately placed into a cooler with generous amounts of ice. Formula and opened jars of food start to spoil rapidly in a hot car. Don't trust your cooler to preserve food as long as a refrigerator. The cost of a new jar of baby food or bottle of formula is trivial compared to maintaining your infant's health.
For toddlers, you can bring along foods that can be easily mashed "en route" and served at room temperature - avocado or banana, for example.
If your baby is old enough, bring plenty of finger foods - they will help keep him occupied during the journey!
If you need to sterilise feeding equipment, consider bringing a microwave steriliser bag, disposable sterilising bags or pre-sterilised bottle liners.
Top Travel tips
If you're travelling by road ...
Think about driving at night, or coincide part of the journey with baby's daytime nap.
Always place your baby's car seat in the rear of the car and make sure you operate the doors' child safety locking system.
Infants require a rear-facing car seat, not a forward-facing car seat like their older siblings use
Many parents prefer buying an "infant travel system." When you use an infant travel system, the baby's car seat unlatches from a base which stays attatched to the back seat of your car...and then it pops into a stroller mounting when you reach your destination. Baby stays napping, without having to be lifted out of a car seat and re-strapped into a stroller. (see photos to right)
Use removable window shades to shield your baby from the sun.
If driving during the day, stop every 2-3 hours - the break is good for your baby AND for you!
If you plan to fly with your baby ...
If you can afford it, consider buying an extra seat - infants under 2 fly free, but are expected to sit on your lap throughout the flight. Alternatively, call the airline in advance and request an infant sky cot/bassinet
Bring a stroller or car seat carrier to use at the airport - you can usually keep it with you until you reach the departure gate.
Ask if there are any empty seats on your flight when you check in. If so, ask if you can be seated next to one - you'll be glad of the extra room!
Breast or bottle feed your baby on take-off and landing, to help avoid ear pain for your child.
Offer your baby plenty of drinks throughout the flight - flying can be very dehydrating.
Always ask for baby food/milk to be warmed BEFORE your baby is screaming with hunger - there is no microwave in the aeroplane galley, so warming the food may take some time.
Vacation Packing Checklist for Babies: Link to Christine's Baby Recipes Website
Wasn't that an enjoyable article Christine wrote! If you'd like to discover more of what she has to say about "Traveling with Baby," then here's the direct link to her website's
"Travelling with Baby" page.