Tips for Holiday Travel with A New Baby

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Traveling during the holiday season is common for many families.  For some, this year may be the first time you are traveling with a new baby. We went on several trips (both road and air) with our daughter during her first year and learned many tips and tricks along the way!  Here are some ideas that may help you navigate traveling with a little one, especially during the busy holiday season:

Set your expectations low.

Going on your first trip with a baby can be nerve wracking!  I remember feeling incredibly stressed and overwhelmed when preparing for my daughters first flight, but things ended up completely fine.  I’ve learned to set my expectations low- what matters at the end of the day is that we make it to our destination even if we aren’t wearing the same clothes we started the day in.  Many people before you have traveled with a baby and made it through, and so can you!  Once you let go of your expectations of having a perfect traveling experience, things can go much smoother than anticipated!  

Overprepare.

Whether in the car or on a plane I have a special tote bag I use to hold an abundance of extra items.  You never know if you’ll have a blowout diaper or plane delays and I’d rather be prepared with too many extras than scrambling without things!  I put items such as extra onesies, an extra shirt for mom, diapers, wipes, toys, snacks, a thin blanket, and extra chargers in here.  I’ve rarely needed to use all the items in the bag, but it gives me peace of mind knowing we are prepared for the unexpected.

Introduce a new toy or activity.

I’ve found that introducing something new helps with travel entertainment.  On a recent road trip we gave my daughter this book and it kept her occupied for hours.  Sometimes it can be little things such as a new book or an empty water bottle that provide entertainment for your child.

Tips for Flying with A New Baby:  

  • We love our big stroller, but it became a pain to schlep through the airport. Instead, we purchased a small travel stroller.  There are many options available, and Buy Buy Baby has a great selection of strollers set up so you can test them out before purchasing.  I also use my baby carrier to wear my daughter through the airport.  This is helpful for security and boarding, and we can throw our carry-on bags in the stroller. 
  • By the time we started flying with our daughter we were using formula. We use Similac formula and I especially love that they have individual instant formula sticks for travel.  Once we get through security, we visit a water fountain and fill our baby bottles with water.  These sticks combined with the bottles already filled with water make it so much easier to quickly make a bottle in the air! 
  • Before boarding, we always take a trip to the restroom and change our daughter’s diaper. Many airports have family bathrooms available, which makes it so much easier to tag-team changing the baby, filling bottles, and freshening up.  We flew United and Delta during our daughters first year, and both airlines offer preboarding to families with infants and strollers.  This was very helpful to board the plane early and have plenty of time to get settled.  By gate checking our stroller, we were able to drop it at the bottom of the jet bridge and get it back as soon as we got off the plane at our destination. 

Tips for Driving with a New Baby:

  • I put a small basket on the floor under our daughter’s car seat full of toys, books and activities for road trips. It’s nice to have easy access to different activities to keep her occupied.  On long road trips, one of us sits in the back with her to change out toys and provide extra entertainment. 
  • I have a small soft-sided cooler bag I also keep in the back seat with us. When she was younger, we kept her bottles (already filled with water) and formula in here.  As she’s gotten older and started eating solids, we keep this filled with easy, safe snacks for the road.
  • Every time we stop, we get my daughter out of her car seat and let her move around. This helps get the wiggles out and she enjoys having a break to stretch. 
  • Even if we are staying at a hotel that provides cribs, we bring our pack and play when we drive for trips. Our daughter is familiar with her pack and play and sheets and we feel it helps her sleep better.  If you have the room in your vehicle for this, I can’t recommend it enough!   

However you travel this holiday season, don’t forget to enjoy the adventure along the way!

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