Traveling with a baby and afraid you’re not prepared? You’re not alone. Many parents find their first trip with a new baby stressful, but with some planning, it doesn't have to be. Adventure travel blogger Lesley Carter shares her tips and insights below.
Required documentation may include:
Copies of birth certificate
Notes from the child’s non-present parents
When traveling with children, always check the countries you are traveling to for additional paperwork you need to cross borders with kids. Often, passports are all you need to travel with children; however, some countries require you to carry each child’s original birth certificate to prove that you are the child’s parents and have the right to leave or enter the country with them.
Families have a tendency to pack everything kids use at home. This is a terrible idea. There’s a good chance you will end up carrying your child throughout your travel days—you certainly don’t want to be carrying huge pieces of luggage too. The less you have to carry, the less likely you are to leave important things behind.
You should always bring far more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need. Consider delays when packing. If you are stuck in the airport for an additional 6 hours, do you have enough diapers and wipes to last? It doesn’t hurt to have a few extra diapers at the end of the flight, but it is awful to have too few. Also, when traveling with babies, make sure you have an extra outfit packed and accessible, not just for your baby, but for yourself. Spit-ups, accidents, and spills happen.
There are some things that are essential—extra diapers, wipes, food, and clothes. However, think through these items and don’t bring nonessential items like extra toys.
From security agents forcing moms to dump out milk to milk going bad, there are thousands of horror stories about flying with breast milk. After taking countless trips while breastfeeding, these are my tips for successful traveling with breast milk.
Be sure to check out the official TSA guidelines for traveling with breast milk.
Your breast pump does not count as a carry-on item because it is a medical device. So, bring your regular carry-on luggage, but be prepared to explain several times that your pump is a medical device.
Bring a travel cooler, ice packs, and your bottles or breast milk bags. Since breast milk is considered liquid medication, you can carry on more than 3 ounces. Frozen ice packs for your cooler bag are also allowed under this exemption. Remember to declare them at security, even when they are empty. Ask the TSA agent to change into clean gloves before he/she inspects them. After security, consider sealing your cooler with duct tape. Per TSA rules, you are permitted to fly with an unlimited quantity of breast milk.
If you need to pump in an airport, ask if there is a breastfeeding lounge or baby care area. For the trip itself, make sure that you have enough sets of clean pump parts and bottles to get you through one day of driving. Pack each set in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag so you can pull it out when you’re ready to pump.
I like to pack at least three Nanobébé bottles because their design improves the entire process of bottle-feeding breastmilk. They make it super simple to pump, store, warm, and feed from one bottle, less to carry, and gives baby an experience second only to direct breastfeeding. The bottles are also stackable so you can save storage space and track pumping order, and they are easy to clean. Also, I don’t always feel comfortable breastfeeding during the flight so their Travel Cooler allows me to pump between flights and bring along enough food for several hours.
Remember to bring some extra stored breastmilk and formula (for bottle-fed babies) and/or baby food for your journey. You never know when the time between meals will get extended. It could be a delayed flight, unexpected traffic getting to your hotel, or a tour that takes a bit longer than you thought it would.
Additionally, ear pain due to elevation change is one of the main reasons babies cry on planes. Feeding your baby during these times can help relieve the pressure. The sucking motion will help their ears equalize naturally. Feeding will also distract them from mild discomfort if their ears take a little extra time to equalize.
This is arguably the most important thing to consider when traveling with a baby. If everyone is sleeping in one room, you’ll likely have to go to sleep when your baby goes to sleep. If you want to watch a movie or have a conversation while your baby sleeps, it’s best to find accommodations that have separate sleeping areas.
I look for accommodations that offer one or two-bedroom suites, instead of the standard hotel room with one or two beds. You will pay a little more for this convenience, but a good night’s sleep is worth it. And staying up past 7:30, not sitting in the dark makes a world of difference for your travel enjoyment.
Don’t try to replicate the way you used to travel before being a parent. Infants and \ toddlers probably need daily naps. Older kids may be able to power through a long day, but likely won’t be able to do that for several days in a row. Scheduling downtime every day of your trip helps keep your family refreshed and ready to explore.
Additionally, give yourself more time on travel days. It will take longer to get ready in the mornings, clear airport security, board the plane, and get from place to place. Be sure to get to the airport early and leave plenty of time for things to go wrong.
Keep your schedule loose and leave plenty of room for adjustment. A flexible schedule will create less stress for you and your family.
Just remember to keep your cool no matter what situation or scenario happens. Travel can be stressful with or without a baby but losing your cool isn’t going to benefit anyone. You will get there and it will be great. Asking for help is a great way to meet people and avoid pushing your limits too far.
Even if you’ve had the worse travel day possible, keep going and learn from your mistakes. It gets better and it’s worth the adventure.
*Nanobébé is thrilled to welcome guest bloggers. The views and opinions represented in these blog posts belong solely to the guest blogger and are not the legal responsibility of the company. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by the guest blogger and will not be held liable for any errors or omissions of information nor for the availability of this information.
My name is Lesley Carter and I'm the owner of Bucket List Publications. I traveled to more than 60 countries with my 7-year-old at my side. We both look forward to visiting many more with a new addition to our family in April. We love adventures and believe that the more unrealistic you are with your dreams and goals the more you are able to achieve.
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