Practical advice for new parents

Traveling with a Baby

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Tips for traveling with a baby

All new parents know how the arrival of their precious bundle of joy makes even the most mundane tasks, like shopping for example, something of a mission. Suddenly the logistics of performing that task and keeping your baby close by means learning a whole new set of rules and techniques. This is particularly the case when traveling long distances.

The good news is that, increasingly, gas stations, train stations, airports, ferry terminals and any other number of mass transit locations are providing good, clean facilities for parents traveling with babies. The bad news is that you'll still have to bring with you half the contents of your home bathroom in order to keep your baby content along the journey.

The key to a successful journey with your baby is in the planning. You don't want to be running out of diapers, or forget the pacifiers or something just as catastrophic, so take the time to think about, and pack, everything that you need, and plan for as many contingencies as you can think of. It's much better to pack light for yourselves and heavy for your baby, rather than the other way around.

General Tips:

In order to carry everything that you need you may want to consider investing in a purpose-built travel bag for your baby if you don't already have something that will do. As well as being able to hold everything that you need for the journey in one convenient location, it also means you won't need to carry more than one baby bag around and makes finding things much faster when you need them in a hurry. You might consider the following for/when packing:
  • Plastic bags for dirty diapers and wet clothing
  • Changing mat
  • A good supply of diapers - better to have too many than not enough
  • Travel pack size of wipes
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Pacifiers
  • Medium sized towel for major disasters
  • Two or three face cloths
  • Change of clothes (two, if going long-distance)
  • Some new toys or books
  • Something familiar like a blanket or toy
  • Food and drink (check with your travel agent or airline if special meals are available for babies)
  • First aid treatments that are especially for infants (baby aspirin, creams etc.)
  • Allow extra time! You will have to change diapers, you will have to spend time playing with or comforting your baby, you will have to give your baby food. All of this takes time, so make sure you allow for it. When you are rushed then it is more likely that you will become frustrated with the demands of your baby.
  • Bring with you the telephone number of your health professional just in case, and remember to have any travel insurance papers that you need for you and your baby. Make sure that you do have medical insurance for your baby when going abroad, and that you know what the emergency numbers are in the country that you'll be going to.
  • Try to time the journey to coincide with your baby's sleeping routine where possible.
  • Buy some new books/toys that your child hasn't seen before so that you can introduce them to your child during the journey. This will help to keep them focused and occupied for a while at least.
  • Bring along spill proof drinking containers. Self explanatory.
  • Above all, keep your sense of humor

Next: Tips for traveling by car with your baby
  Tips for traveling by air with your baby