Vacationing with your baby or toddler in tow doesn’t have to be a nightmare. While children can be unpredictable and will always need extra special attention, it shouldn’t hold you back from bringing your baby along to experience the excitement and joy of traveling.
Skip the Stroller
Schlepping a bulky stroller wherever you go can make maneuvering through crowds a challenge, and depending on where you’re traveling to, you might not have ready access to ramps, elevators or well paved sidewalks. A baby carrier is not only easier to pack but is a much less cumbersome way to travel with your baby, especially since you’ll already be hauling an extra bag with all your important baby products. The Honest Co. offers a selection of lightweight carriers that can be converted to different positions making it even easier to grab your baby and head out the door.
Keep Water and Snacks Handy
Babies live by their own schedule and will get hungry and thirsty far more frequently than older children. Prepare small containers or plastic baggies full of your baby’s favorite snacks and be ready to whip them out at the first signs of hunger. Infants are at higher risk for dehydration and the dry air of an airplane or the heat of a warm weather vacation can compound the problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making sure your baby is drinking plenty of water and have an electrolyte replacement drink on hand if you suspect dehydration.
Double Check your List
Every parent knows that sinking feeling of realizing they forgot to pack an item the moment their baby starts to cry for it. Keep a list of must have items stored in your phone and make note when you’re running low on supplies or if an item needs to be cleaned before you can give it back to your baby. Checkout PC Mag’s recommendations of the best apps for lists and organization.
Baby’s immune systems are still developing and they are at a higher risk of infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Keep in mind that while on the road you won’t always have access to a bathroom to properly wash hands and clean any toys your baby dropped on the ground. Use a gentle baby friendly hand sanitizer on your baby’s hands as well as yours. To avoid the meltdown that will inevitably follow taking away your child’s favorite toy, keep sanitizing wipes handy so you can properly clean your baby’s things or any questionable surfaces. To effectively clean items that will be going in your baby’s mouth such as pacifiers, bottle nipples or teething rings, pick up a box of sterilizing tablets that will allow you to sterilize these items in cold water, recommends Parent Guide.
Scarf to the Rescue
One of the most convenient items to have when traveling is a scarf, and your baby will thank you for it. In a pinch, a large cotton scarf can become a beach blanket, a towel, an extra layer to protect against the elements, it can be tied up to become shade from the sun or for privacy while nursing, bunch it up for a pillow or cover questionably clean surfaces with it and easily wash it out in the sink later on. The possibilities are endless!
Don’t be Afraid to Break the Schedule
While it may have taken a lot of work to get your baby on a specific sleeping and feeding schedule, it’s ok to be lenient while traveling. Mixing up the schedule for a few days won’t have a long term impact. If you’re in close quarters, such as on an airplane, give into your baby’s desires to eat, sleep and play whenever it wants to avoid any temper tantrums that would disturb other travelers.
Give your Child Extra Screen Time
You may have a rule about limiting your baby’s screen time, but having a phone or iPad stocked with their favorite shows, movies and music will be a lifesaver on flights and car rides. Sitting still in an airplane seat for long stretches of times can make even the most stoic adult a little restless so don’t fault a child for needing the distraction of TV to keep them calm.
Baby Proof your Hotel Room
Ask your hotel about babyproofing the room before you arrive. Keep in mind that not all hotels will offer this service so you may need to bring your own items. For lighter packing, a roll of masking tape will often do the trick to cover outlets, secure cords out of reach and latch toilet lids. You can also ask the hotel to provide extra blankets or pillows you can then use to wrap around sharp edges.
With the right prep, traveling with your baby will involve fewer meltdowns and more happy memories.
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