Are you a parent who was once a wanderlust? Are you wanting to get back to your passion of sightseeing, but the thought of traveling with a newborn gives you a migraine? You are not alone. Some babies handle traveling like a champ, but the process can be quite a challenge for some. If you are considering any kind of travel, believe me when I say - the newborn stage is the EASIEST. Nursing or formula-fed, a newborn that still sleeps 16-18 hours a day is a win-win for all. All babies are different, but one thing that can be guaranteed is following a routine is KEY. Read on for my top tips on easing anxiety when traveling with a newborn.
Having a plan or routine is ideal, but being a parent, you should know that newborns don’t always stick to the plan. You can buy all the travel accessories, plan out your itinerary months in advance, and quadruple check your packing list, but you better mentally prepare yourself to go “off-plan.” If your baby is formula-fed, I recommend Ready to Feed that you can quickly attach a nipple to, or baby bottles with the bag insert - less to wash, quicker to feed. With newborns, it’s best to have a backup plan, or maybe even two! A packing checklist is also essential!
Items that have been a huge help for me and others are:
When it comes to booking a flight, I have found that traveling overnight best benefits children of all ages because they will typically sleep through it - the desire to sleep at night is much stronger than during the day, which is why all of my clients begin their sleep training methods at night. I remember the first time my husband and I took our firstborn on an airplane; we had the bottle ready, had JUST changed the diaper, and were counting the seconds that she was quiet and content - “30 seconds of peace - we haven’t had to buy our neighbors a cocktail yet!!”
Unless, of course, the flight is short, traveling during the day is fine! If possible, choosing your seats in advance will take off some of the “in-the-moment” stress, and some airlines even allow you to purchase a seat specifically for your baby. While this isn’t the most cost-efficient idea, it does leave more room for comfort. I try to always be in the aisle for easy, soothing walks up and down the aisle and access to the bathroom - for you, not them.
Another pro tip— contrary to popular belief, allow plenty of time between connecting flights. I suggest changing the diaper as often as possible; the more loaded, the more chances for leaks. Having long layovers allows time for the whole family to regroup with bathroom breaks, diaper changes, and time to eat...even just take a deep breath.
Just like you, your baby needs a passport to prove their identity for international travel. It is important to check and double-check that you have this in advance! You can save yourself time and a headache by keeping this documentation on your person when traveling for easy access. Checking in online and taking advantage of pre-boarding perks for families offered by select airlines will also ease the anxiety when it comes to traveling with your newborn. Wear your baby and check the stroller at the gate!
Choosing the right travel accessories can also be a headache, but prioritizing comfort and safety is extremely important for traveling with your newborn. There are many options out there when it comes to travel bassinets, carriers, harnesses, baby-wearing slings, and travel strollers. You know your baby best, but I have found that traveling with a stroller is most convenient. It is more enjoyable to push a sleeping baby around than to wear or carry them through the entire airport - plus you have somewhere to store #allthethings.
While having a plan is ideal, traveling with your newborn is bound to be a challenge. Having a backup plan will save you, but keep in mind, it is an adventure. Accept that your trip will likely go “off-plan,” but these memories will last a lifetime.
Kristin grew up on the tiny island of Jamaica. She has written a children’s book, obtained her Master’s in Teaching, and been a proud educator to lots and lots of little ones. After moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two little girls, she began extensive training to become a certified pediatric sleep consultant. Believing that both a caregiver and a child’s sleep quality is one of the most effective self-care habits, Kristin has helped many families find peace and enjoyment during the early months and years of childhood. When she isn’t watching Disney movies and passing on her love of reading to her girls, she travels and tries new restaurants.
Learn more about Kristin and her services at: www.madeleinesandmathfacts.com
Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees, and/or contractors.