Practical Baby-Travel Items
Now that the holidays are officially over, it’s time to start preparing for the next chapter… summer vacation!! Is it too early? …Nah!
Here are some of my favorite baby-travel items to make for smooth sailing! I've used these items from when Wes was 3 months to current (14 months). Wes turned one last November and has flown 29 times. My suggestions aren’t fool proof and I hope they're helpful to be prepared with the basics. Remember that the journey is almost always worth it. You’ll look back and laugh about any meltdowns eventually and reflect on all the wonderful memories from your trip.
- Baby Zen Yoyo – if you’re of average height like me, most strollers will be a pain to drag along on vacations. This one requires a bit of learning the first time around, but when you’ve collapsed it once, it’s a synch the next time. (Head's up: be sure to practice collapsing and opening it before you hop on the plane!) It folds easily and fits in carryon storage! No need for gate check in and waiting by the plane after you’re ready to get the heck out of there! It’s lightweight and while it’s an investment, it’s worth every penny in convenience. (Suitable for six months to 40 lbs.)
- Cosco car seat – this thing is amazing because it’s super lightweight (8 lbs.) and easy to lug around while traveling. It’s convertible, meaning you can use it while your child grows from 5-50 lbs. both rear and forward facing. I tend to be on the paranoid side, so while reviews say it is very safe and people love it, if you’re planning on driving a lot once at your destination, I’d bring your main car seat. This one is best for short rides to/from the aiport and around town.
- Folding Pack n Play Topper – If you’re going on an extended stay, I’d highly recommend this topper. Our son sleeps through the night at home, but when we travel without this, he has multiple night-wakings. While still somewhat firm by our standards, it probably feels like a temperpedic to baby. Putting a sheet from home on top of it (or buying one specifically sized for it – I love this one) also helps Wes sleep better.
- Ergo Baby Carrier – I dread the day I travel without this. Mark is 6’3” and we can’t seem to get the fit right where Wes’ chin doesn’t rub while facing out, but it’s perfect for me at 5'6". If I can’t get Wes to sleep on the plane, I strap this thing on and rock him up and down the aisles. Works like a charm. Note: Wes tosses and turns so once he falls asleep (he transfers well) I return to my seat and unlatch the Ergo Baby. I keep it velcro’d around my waist and loosen or remove the straps, allowing space for him to move if he wakes between sleep cycles and wants to adjust. A plus that you can wear this through security!
- Boppy Pillow – this one is great for little babies, especially if they’re used to nursing on it. We took Wes on a flight to the Caribbean when he was five months and he slept most of the flight cuddled on my lap on the Boppy. I nursed him to sleep, gave him the paci and he was a happily sleeping little jetsetter.
- Inflatable Bath Tub – Some hotels aren’t equipped with tubs for babies and it’s not really convenient to pack a hard plastic tub, nor worth it to buy one for a short trip. There are a bunch on Amazon, and while this one is not highly rated (because it doesn’t have a drain) Wes LOVES getting into it because of the adorable Disney characters. Just push down one side of the tub to let some water out when refreshing water or rinsing.
- Baby friendly food (like a variety of Plum organic pouches), cups or bottles, and pacifiers are great for the flight to keep them eating/occupied (nurse or bottle feed at takeoff and landing or anytime your ears are plugged).
- Books - with fun stories and interactive parts (Where’s Baby’s Belly Button and other books from that collection are great!). A wallet with fake cards always works to engage Wes!
Lastly, while you can prepare for endless hours and have “everything you need” to travel with a baby, the number one most important thing is to be prepared mentally. There may be a breakdown or two, keep your cool and breathe. If you need to break the rules and watch a movie, do it. I read a story that George Clooney and his wife brought noise canceling headphones for patrons sitting near them on a long airplane ride. We don’t have to go that far, but being kind/empathetic to those around you and balancing doing what you need to keep yourself sane and baby occupied for the duration of the flight will help you get through it.
I'm here for more tips and tricks, so please leave any questions or share anything that has worked great for you, in the comments section. Happy Traveling!