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I’ll never ever forget the first time we traveled with Quinn (our oldest). She was 6 months old and we drove 6 hours to visit my grandma. The plan was to have Quinn sleep in a play yard in our room and it was an utter disaster. Any time we’d lay her down she would scream. Howl. Wail. We thought it was the unfamiliar environment, maybe our stress rubbing off on her? Wrong. Turns out, she had her first ear infection – no other symptoms. Whoops.
Since that (terrible) first trip, we’ve taken a dozen more with our kids and each time, I get a little more confident about traveling with a baby. Here are some of the best tips for traveling with a baby I’ve learned throughout the years:
Bring a Birth Certificate
When we traveled this summer, we flew. I totally thought that since Emmy was clearly under 2, we wouldn’t need a birth certificate to prove her age. And we didn’t need it… to prove her age. But we did need one for their official head count and they almost didn’t let us on the return flight. Lesson learned.
Baby Is Your Best Accessory
Wearing baby while going through the airport is the way to go. I personally hate lugging a stroller around, even though we had one when we traveled this summer for the older kids and all of our stuff. Babywearing is just so much simpler so you have both hands available at al times.
Sleep is the part of traveling with an infant I get MOST nervous about. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than a baby who can’t sleep. We took the Ingenuity Baby FoldAway Bassinet with us to Michigan this summer and Emmy slept like a dream! It’s only $80 at Target and folds up almost completely flat, which is perfect for travel. Also, it’s not as bulky as a traditional play yard so it was easier to fit in the car.
Here are a couple ‘traveling with a baby’ sleep tips I’ve discovered over the years:
- Put her in the bassinet she’ll be sleeping in on vacation at home a night or two before you leave, so she’s used to the sleeping space.
- Keep baby’s sleep environment as normal as possible. If you use a sound machine, mobile, sleep sack, etc, bring it all!
- Consider bringing blackout curtains if you use them at home.
- If you can’t stop what you’re doing to put baby down for his normal naptimes, try to sneak one in on-the-go.
- If you’re traveling more than 2 time zones, you’ll want to adjust to the new time zone’s schedule. As a general rule of thumb, it takes your body one day to adjust for every hour of time difference. This can be tricky but I just try to get the kids on our destination’s time zone ASAP.
- We always try to travel around nap or sleep times. For instance, we’ll try to schedule a flight during baby’s naptime in the hopes that she’ll sleep on the plane. This can go really well or really terrible – you know your baby best so definitely adjust this strategy accordingly 😉
Bring along any child-proofing stuff you’d normally use at home. Obviously you aren’t going to be able to bolt everything to the wall, but having some outlet covers, doorknob locks or even a baby gate will help keep baby safe and give you peace of mind in an unfamiliar environment.
This may be counterintuitive but if you’re going somewhere within the US that isn’t super rural or isolated, it’s easier to grab diapers or wipes at your destination versus lugging them through an airport or taking up space in the car.