Traveling with a baby can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced parents. Whether it’s a brief road trip or a transatlantic flight, so many unknowns [and so much anxiety!] are involved in the process. Our first “big” trip with Colton was to Disney World, and I learned so much from just that one trip. Since we got that first trip out of the way, things have gone so much smoother. [Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself by saying that!] If you’re planning travel with your little one, read on for my best tips on how to make travel with Baby easier…
Make Travel with Baby Easier
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as a mom, it’s this: be prepared. Be prepared for the craziest scenario you can imagine, then prepare even more. Let’s face it, this is true no matter what your daily adventures bring [seriously, who knew running to the grocery store could somehow take 3 hours?], but even more so when you’re on the road with little ones.
The easiest way to be prepared for travel with baby is to have the right products in your arsenal. One item I’ve found quite helpful for travel with Baby is the Covered Goods 4-in-1 cover. This multi-use cover is a breastfeeding cover, car seat cover, shopping cart cover, and infinity scarf – all in one.
Nursing in Public
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’re certainly familiar with nursing in public. Baby has to eat, and you have to leave the house. So, eventually, you’re bound to encounter breastfeeding baby in public. This is even more true while traveling, as you’ll be out and about much more often and typically have much less privacy than at home. Having a breastfeeding cover in your travel bag can help navigate tricky nursing-in-public situations.
If you’re traveling by airplane, one of the best ways to make travel with baby easier is to nurse baby during take-off and landing. It helps soothe their little ears, plus breastfeeding is comforting to them in an unfamiliar environment. It also keeps them quiet, which the other passengers will surely appreciate!
Weather is always unpredictable, but even more so when you’re in an unfamiliar area. Having a car seat cover on hand allows you to protect baby from the elements while out and about.
Bonus: the cover can also protect baby from unsolicited attention from strangers. Especially during the newborn stage, I’m very cautious that everyone who holds/touches baby has washed their hands. Sometimes, it’s just plain easier to keep them under wraps while out in public to avoid awkwardly having to tell strangers not to touch your baby.
Shopping with Baby
No matter how prepared you think [or know!] you are before you leave, you’ll inevitably need to shop with baby while traveling. Whether it’s to pick up fresh produce for meals or medicine for an unexpected ailment, you’ll end up navigating a local store at least once. Probably per day! And based on the popularity of my Grocery Shopping with a Newborn and Toddler post, I know I’m not the only mom who gets anxiety thinking about taking baby into a store.
I have the worst luck while traveling. Seriously. The last time I was far from home, I ended up with an infected area on my leg from a waxing incident. On a Sunday, of course, when no doctors or urgent cares were open. I ended up navigating a local pharmacy and lucked out that a pharmacist happened to be on duty to take a look at me. But really, who has that happen on vacation? [Spoiler alert: me, the same person who ended up with a random incision infection after my c-section.]
Hopefully you won’t encounter any infections during your travel. But when you inevitably end up shopping with baby, it’s nice to have a cover available to protect him from gross shopping cart germs. The last thing you want to deal with during vacation is a sick baby. [Side note: can you believe this cheese face? Whenever, I pull out my camera, Colton goes “cheese!” and makes this exact face. It’s adorable and hilarious at the same time.]
Entertaining Baby while Traveling
One of the things I was most worried about when taking Colton on an airplane was keeping him entertained. Little ones have an attention span of like, 2 seconds. How on earth was I going to keep him occupied for multiple hours?
Of course, your needs will change as Baby grows. But the things I’ve found most helpful are breastfeeding, snacks [like toddler snack mix], small inexpensive toys [think dollar store or kids meal type – nothing that will be missed if lost], and games or shows on a tablet [a mix of reliable favorites and new ones to hold their interest]. Depending on your airline, the flight attendants may provide some activities for little ones as well. Once, Colton got a little kit to assemble his own cardboard airplane. He loved that thing and kept pretending to fly it at home for weeks after we returned.
Ignore Any Judgmental Strangers
Confession: I used to judge screaming babies on airplanes. I know, I know. My first job out of law school required a lot of flying, as in multiple destinations per week. Being on an airplane that often will make anyone grumpy. Add in a crying baby while I’m trying to finish a legal brief when I’m powered by a couple hours’ sleep and an ungodly amount of caffeine and, yeah, I was that person giving you the judgmental looks. I’m sorry. Really, truly, sorry.
Obviously, as a mom, my perspective has changed tremendously. Having been on both sides, I do my best to ignore the judgmental strangers. One day they’ll be in your shoes and feel horrible for judging you, and probably issue a public apology on their blog [or maybe that’s just me].
Give Everyone a Break
The absolute most important thing to make travel with baby easier is remembering to give everyone a break. You and your baby are doing your best. Don’t expect perfection from either of you. If there’s a meltdown [and trust me, there will be!], take a deep breath and try to move on. Remember, the point of travel is to have fun and make memories, not to get stressed out.
When Baby’s Grown
I always, always try to take a ton of photos because one day, my babies will be grown and I’ll only have photos to remember these stages. It pains me to even type that. But seriously, it’s especially important to document your travel adventures. Some of my favorite photos of Colton are from our travels!
As you can see, I still use my Covered Goods cover with both of my little ones: Blair can use it for breastfeeding or in her car seat, and Colton can use it while we are shopping. But even when both my babies are grown, I can still use it as an infinity scarf. Or, maybe I can use it to wipe my tears over my babies growing up. Okay, I’ll stop. They’ll probably read this one day and I don’t want them to be too embarrassed.
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