Any parent can tell you that taking care of children is a full-time job and your job description changes as your children age and their needs change. While the debate is out on what's more challenging, newborn or teenager, there's no denying that babies need a lot more stuff than big kids or teens do to keep them safe and comfortable – they're not self-sufficient.
If you're like most families, you plan kid-friendly trips including road trips to take at least once a year, and taking your baby can seem daunting. If you're looking for help deciding which items are essential to traveling with a baby, keep reading for the only things you'll need.
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Fed is Best
If you're lucky enough to be able to breastfeed your newborn, worrying about what to bring for their nutrition may not be a concern for you. However, fed is best, so if you've chosen to formula feed your child, a must-have is their formula and a way to serve it.
Make sure you pack extra supplies of baby formula and several bottles. You'll also want a bottle cleanser and a bottle brush.
Babies spend an average of fourteen to seventeen hours a day asleep, so making sure they're comfortable is a priority. While it takes extra care to ensure these items aren't lost or left behind, bringing their baby blankets, pacifier and lovey is critical.
If your baby uses a pacifier to soothe themselves, bring several along as these are easily lost or fall on dirty surfaces.
White Noise Machine
Speaking of sleep, you'll want to make sure your baby is able to catch some z's in peace while traveling. Like adults, adjusting to a new environment can pose challenges when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep.
Hotels can be noisy environments, and if your vacation takes you to a bigger city, there's no accounting for traffic, construction, and other noise. Ensure your baby falls asleep easily and sleeps soundly with a portable white noise machine.
While adults and older children have more control over spills, stains, and accidents on their clothing, babies don't. Make sure you have three outfits a day for your baby to wear in case of any wardrobe woes.
If you're looking to save space in your luggage, small and easy-to-fold onesies are great for traveling with babies – pack a couple of dressier outfits if your trip will include a few nicer outings, but generally, a onesie is all they'll need.
Include their diapering in this category too. While minimalist packing techniques are great, more is more when keeping your baby dry and comfortable while on vacation.
One of the best things about traveling is experiencing the culture and environment of your destination. You want your hands free to enjoy eating food fresh from a local vendor or to peruse items in a souvenir shop. The easiest way to do this with a baby in tow is by utilizing a safe way to keep them close to you.
Strollers are bulky and not practical to travel with unless you're taking a road trip. So, whether you opt for a baby wrap or a carrier, bring along a way to travel safely around your destination with your baby.
First Aid Kit
While chances are slim that anything will happen, luck does favor the prepared. Make sure you pack a small first aid/medicine kit in case of an emergency. Baby thermometers, children's Tylenol or Motrin, diaper rash cream, and band-aids are a great start.
You can adjust the items in your kit based on your baby's needs. It's always a great idea to have important information stored on a notecard when you travel, whether you have kids or not, but with a baby, make sure you've got your pediatrician's number on hand. That way, you can call and chat if anything arises.
Traveling with children, while stressful, is a blessing for both parents and kids alike. Older children will remember the memories made on vacation and the value of experiencing new cultures. While your baby won't remember, you will remember and cherish this time with them.
So, your last essential is a camera to capture these treasured moments, not for the baby but for you. Happy trails!
How about you? Have more tips for traveling with a baby? Do share!
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