Are you a new parent getting ready for your first family vacation? Or a seasoned traveler looking for some fresh tips to make your journey with your little one less stressful? Either way, you've come to the right place! Traveling with a baby can be both exciting and overwhelming, but with the right essentials, it can also be a breeze (or less stressful anyway). From packing the perfect diaper bag to finding the most comfortable stroller, we've got you covered. So grab your baby, your partner, and your sense of adventure, because we're about to embark on a journey filled with practical tips that will make traveling with your little one a joy. Let's go!
Diapers and Wipes
Pack enough for the duration of your trip, plus a few extras just in case. Stashing some in multiple locations like the diaper bag, glove box, stroller, or purse can be really helpful too.
Formula or Breast Milk
If you're bottle-feeding, bring enough formula or expressed breast milk for the trip. There are specific laws for what's allowed when flying, but you can check those out at the TSA website if applicable.
If you're breastfeeding, you may want to bring a nursing cover or a light breathable blanket for privacy if that's what makes you most comfortable. (Remember that breastfeeding uncovered in public is a federally protected law in all 50 US states, but if you're traveling abroad, you will have to check their laws ahead of time.)
There are a variety of pumps that are easier to travel with too, so you may not have to worry about refrigeration or ice packs. (Less to pack/carry/plan around!)
If your baby is already eating some baby food, make sure to bring enough for the trip, or plan ahead on how/where you'll restock as needed.
What type of stroller is best really depends on a few variables like how you'll be traveling, your destination (or stops along the way), and your infants' age.
If you're going to be taking a road trip with plenty of walking along the way consider something super comfortable for both you and your baby, like a jogging stroller. These are lightweight, easy to handle even in tight or packed spaces, and a smooth ride over almost any terrain.
If you will be doing a moderate amount of walking on nice smooth surfaces (like a zoo or amusement park), consider a convertible stroller that allows you to put your baby's car seat on it safely. This will be the most convenient because you don't have to wake your child when going from vehicle to stroller or vice versa. They're also nice because they keep the baby closer to your face for monitoring, often have great features like cup holders for parents, and have additional storage space so you don't have to carry that 15 lb diaper bag on your sweaty back all day.
When you're traveling by airplane, consider purchasing an umbrella stroller. These are usually the lightest and most compact strollers on the market. Not all of them have sun shades/canopies or any storage space though, so you'll want to consider your top priorities when shopping for one. They can usually be checked at the gate to make life simpler for you too.
A carrier will make it easier to get around with your baby, whether you're at the airport or out exploring. There are ring slings, hip carriers, front and back convertible carries, shirts with built-in baby pockets for the youngest of babies, etc. Overall there are just a ton of options for baby carriers. You don't have to resign yourself to something hot and bulky and can choose a style that fits your personal needs best. You may want to buy a specific style for the trip you're taking too even if you have an everyday carrier you like already. (We have owned 5 carriers to cover different ages/travel needs.)
Portable Crib or Playard
A travel crib or playard will provide a safe and familiar place for your baby to sleep. There are a range of options from full-size "play pens", to mini ones that rest directly on the floor, and a surprising variety in between. Covering the options is a whole discussion in itself, but we'll just say that you want to think this through ahead of time.
Change of Clothes for Baby
Accidents happen, so it's a good idea to pack extra clothes for your baby. (Why is it that they seem to save up diaper blowouts and put them all in one day!?!) Remember that layers are the easiest to find that comfortable temperature with changing weather throughout the day. It's not a bad idea to pack an extra shirt for yourself either, because projectile spit-up happens when you're least prepared (or so it feels anyway).
Bring any medicine that your baby may need. Prescriptions like antibiotics or antacids might be obvious, but don't forget to pack less common medications like gas drops, an infant stool softener, or an infant pain reliever. You never know when an upset stomach will hit, but it's rarely a convenient time.
Bring small toys, books, or a tablet with age-appropriate content to keep your baby entertained during the trip. Colorful, lightweight, and either small or compactable is the way to go here.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
It's important to protect your baby's delicate skin from the sun and bugs (depending on location and season of course), but you need to make sure you're using age-appropriate options. Specially made baby products are gentle and non-toxic.
First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit with a few band-aids, Neosporin or another antibacterial cream, and alcohol wipes can be helpful in case of an accident.
Alright Folks, Let's Wrap This Up, shall we?
So, when it comes to baby essentials, it's pretty simple - you need the stuff to feed them, clothe them, keep them clean, and give them a good place to snooze off all the excitement. Bottles and breast pump (if used) or formula for feeding, all the adorable little clothes so you're prepared to change 5 times a day, a bazillion diapers and twice as many wipes as you should reasonably need, and a compact play yard or bassinet for sweet dreams. Everything else is just for added convenience (but we definitely recommend ALL added conveniences from our personal experience).
Now, you might be tempted to go all out and buy every baby gadget out there or feel overwhelmed with choices while stressing out about what to buy, but we'll do our best to get you those recommendations too. In the meantime,