Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Traveling with an Infant

By Christina VanGinkel

Whether traveling by car, bus, train, or plane, what you pack in your carry-on or diaper bag can be the difference between traveling with an infant and keeping your sanity and wishing you had just stayed home.

Assemble everything you are going to need before placing the contents into the carry-on or diaper bag, to assess whether or not the bag you have is large enough, and if it has adequate storage compartments. A bag can be of an adequate, even substantial size, but if everything ends up dumped together, and you have to go digging for whatever your current need is, while holding a squirming, even possibly screaming infant, the bag might as well be empty. Either shop for a bag that has different compartments to keep everything organized, or invest in an internal organizer that you can use to keep everything neat and easily accessible.

Keep all of your travel or other pertinent documents in a waterproof bag, separate from the rest of the bag's contents, as a passport or an airline, train, or bus ticket that is soaked in formula or leaked on by wet wipes can be a travel nightmare. An outside pocket that has a separate zipper is ideal, as long as it is large enough that nothing important will end up folded or bent.

Pack any medicines that you or baby will need separate also, and quickly accessible, from the rest of the bag's contents, especially if they are items such as inhalers, or allergy medications that might be needed unexpectedly but quickly.

Next, pack the essentials, including:

Toss bags, to dispose of diapers in an efficient and friendly manner. If you end up having to store a used diaper bag in the bag, these will help to contain the odor and mess.
Bottles, even for a breastfed infant, filled with juices, water, and a backup formula. The types that do not need refrigeration, and that can be fed as is are the most convenient. I would recommend feeding the same brand as you would normally, and if breastfeeding, try to acquaint baby with formula before travel, to be sure they any fed will not cause an allergic reaction or tummy trouble. If none of the pre-packaged formula is available where you normally shop, check with the service department to see if it is possible to order a one-time supply. They come in a bottle with an attached nipple that you just assemble when ready to use. This way you will not have to deal with refrigeration issues. If this is not possible, pre-fill bottles with water from home, and bring along powdered formula. Alternatively, use bottled water. Do not use water from a tap to feed an infant while traveling, as it is the quickest way to cause tummy troubles.
Several changes of clothes for baby, and a spare shirt for yourself
Blankets, a receiving blanket or two, and a regular infant blanket
Small toy or diversion for baby, preferably nothing to noisy that may disturb the driver or other occupants that are traveling nearby
A book or other diversion for yourself, as you never know, baby may sleep most of the way!

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