Holiday travel season is now upon us! By now your plans are pretty much finalized and you have a good idea of where you’ll be spending baby’s first (or second) holiday. Whether you live in a temperate climate, or you’re headed there to spend time with the fam, traveling with a baby means some extra prep to ensure everyone stays happy, comfortable, and safe. Here are some tips to make your trip as smooth as possible.
1. Check your car the week before you travel
An ounce of prevention will get you on your way on time without the need to waste valuable travel time stranded on the road with a screaming baby. Check tire pressure, fill the tank with gas, make sure your oil is changed, top off windshield washer reservoir, check antifreeze/coolant, and steering fluid levels, and test those brakes.
2. Stroller footmuff/rain shield
Your baby is subject to a continuous breeze when being pushed in a stroller. It might be refreshing in warmer months, but it’s downright uncomfortable in chilly or freezing weather! We recommend a stroller footmuff that will fit your stroller well, maximizing warmth for your child. A rain or weather shield goes beyond warmth and protects baby from elements like rain or snow and wind, and has holes for ventilation built in.
3. Car seat cover
When shopping for a car seat, you might inspect the make and model for the latest safety features built into the seat. But car seat safety also applies to how the seat is used. Bulky snowsuits and coats (however cute they are) prevent the five-point harnesses from laying properly on your baby, which can cause serious harm in the case of an accident. Instead, we recommend a car seat cover which covers the top half of the seat while allowing baby to have direct contact with the car seat itself. Some models have a bottom layer that unzips to allow for proper use.
4. Warm hat
If you’re spending some time outside in cold weather, you’ll want to make sure baby is warm enough. A good percentage of the body’s warmth is lost through the head, so a warm hat is essential. You’ll want a hat that covers the ears as well, so they stay nice and cozy.
5. Long sleeve onesie
It’s all about layering in winter, especially in colder parts of the country. When getting baby dressed, the first layer should be a long sleeve onesie. A soft, cotton undershirt will help insulate baby while letting air circulate under their other clothes.
Make sure those tiny baby toes are as warm as the rest of them! Layer up on socks, or tuck baby’s feet into a warm pair of booties, which are less likely to fall off.
7. Extra warm changes of clothing
You never know when you’ll be stuck or stranded (poopsplosions do not consider the airport or heavy traffic) – and that’s why we recommend carrying a few extra changes of weather-appropriate clothing. The upside – baby’s clothing is super tiny and you can fit 3 outfits in the space of one of your own!
8. Fully stocked Diaper bag
It’s your baby’s go bag, so make sure it’s ready to roll at all times. Restock diapers, feeding items, extra pacifiers, cloth diapers, and all the things you need to make the trip as uneventful as possible.
9. Travel crib
If you’ll be somewhere that’s not guaranteed to have a crib for baby, bring your own. There are lots of options for all budgets, and most set up and take down in seconds.
10. Baby sleeping sack
This is the safest way for baby to stay warm in his crib. A sleep sack helps regulate proper body temperature, won’t slide off in the middle of the night and doesn’t get tangled around little arms or legs.
11. Baby wipes
(Aka, the Swiss army knife of parenting.) You already use it to wipe everything around you anyway, so be sure to take an extra package of baby wipes wherever you go. You won’t be sorry.
12. Food & Drink
You will definitely want to have some essential nibbles packed for weary travelers, big and small. We recommend food that isn’t messy, doesn’t smell strongly, and won’t spoil easily. And packing individually wrapped snacks cuts down on messes.
13. Portable changing pad
Yep, it’s bound to happen, so you’d best be prepared for it. There are loads of portable changing pads available that fit neatly into your diaper bag, your stroller basket, or the pocket of a plane seat, and wipe clean easily after each use.
14. Baby’s favorite toy
Your careful planning, intricate packing, and genius trip hacks will mean nothing, NOTHING, I tell you, if you don’t pack baby’s favorite toy. Or soother. Or blankie. Make sure to have a replacement in case it gets left on the plane or lost in the airport terminal or rest area.