Saturday, April 23, 2005

Traveling With Baby

Just because you have a baby doesn't mean your traveling has come to an end. You just need to adapt your way of thinking and the way you travel, at least in some areas. You might be surprised to discover that babies love to travel almost as much as adults do, maybe even more! You can make traveling with your baby less stressful for you and him, too.

Of course, babies who are different ages have some different traveling needs. In infant may be easier to take on trips simply because she sleeps quite a bit, especially when there is an abundance of stimuli. Sleeping is how she copes with loud sounds and extra commotion. So, once your pediatrician gives you the go ahead, take your newborn on a trip.

Obviously, you'll need to take plenty of supplies. How many supplies really depend upon where you are going and how long you will be there. If you are going to grandma's house, and she has a crib, then that is one less item you'll have to pack. If you are going to be staying in a hotel or some other type of lodging, though, you'll need to plan on bringing something for your baby to sleep in. There are a variety of portable cribs and playpens that you can easily pack up and take, but if your infant is only one or two months old, you can use one of the small, bassinet baskets. Many of these have handles, making them especially easy to travel with. You can pack extra supplies in the basket, and use it as a carrying case until you reach your destination. Remember, you should never place blankets or toys in a crib with an infant, and you should make sure that the sheets fit snugly to lessen the possibility of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Also, you should always lay your baby on his or her back to sleep.

Along with a porta-crib or basket, you will need several other items. If you are breastfeeding, you won't need to bring formula unless you supplement. You may want to invest in a portable breast milk pump, however, in case you are unable to stop to nurse your baby. If you are traveling by car, you will need to stop every time you want to nurse your child. You should never take your baby out of his car seat to nurse him while the car is still moving. This is why pumping can be a good idea. If your baby nurses as frequently as every couple of hours, and you are going to be on the road for most, if not all, of the day, your trip will take much longer if you have to continually pull over to breastfeed.

If you feed your baby with formula, you have a variety of choices. Some formulas are pre-mixed, so that all you have to do is pour it into a bottle. Once you have opened a can of pre-mixed formula, though, you will need to use it up if you can't refrigerate it. You can also buy the powdered formula. You will have to mix this formula with water. It is a good idea to go ahead and boil some water before you leave on your trip. You could add it to the bottles, and then all you have to do is add the formula when you need it. If you have a cooler, you can premix the formula and water and keep it in the cooler till needed. There are several varieties of bottle warmers available, and many have car adapters or are battery operated. You can warm your baby's bottle using one of these.
Diapers are also essential. You will need to make sure you have plenty of diapers at least while you are traveling to your destination. You can always buy more diapers once you've reached your destination. Don't forget plenty of wipes, also. Other necessities include a digital thermometer, nail clippers, diaper cream, Infant Tylenol, and bulb syringe.

You know how often you have to change your baby's clothing, so be sure you pack plenty of extra clothing that is easily accessible in case of spills, spit-ups, and other accidents. You should also pack socks, jackets or sweaters, hats, blankets, burp clothes, and bibs. There are various sizes of portable, throw-away bibs that you can buy, and you might want to use these instead of cloth bibs. You should also throw in several ziplock baggies to hold extra wipes and other items.

If you are traveling with an older baby, you will still need many of these same supplies, but you will have to expand your supply list somewhat. An older baby may enjoy touring new cities and sights in his stroller, but being cooped up in a car seat for several hours is another story. Be sure you have brought plenty of toys and snacks to keep your toddler satisfied for the long ride. You may even want to buy some inexpensive toys right before your trip. You can pull these toys out one by one as your baby begins to get restless. Books are another great item to bring for your child. Pack a few of his favorites to read to him in the car, and add a few new ones that he can spend time examining. You should also pack your older child some jars of baby food, bottles or cups of juice, spoons, and some finger snacks, such as Cheerios or Goldfish.

It is important to try and keep your baby on some semblance of a schedule. While she can go to sleep in her stroller at some point during the day, it is a good idea to go back to your room in the afternoon so that she can have a much needed rest. If she becomes overly tired, it may be more difficult for her to enjoy the trip, and this will make it harder on you, also.

Traveling with baby doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, the more you travel with your baby, the more accustomed she will become, and you may find that you have created a little traveler. You may need a little extra patience, and you will certainly need to realize that everything may not go exactly according to your plan, but you and your baby can have a wonderful time enjoying a new adventure together.

By Susie McGee

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