Just the mere thought of traveling with an infant sends most of us into a panic. Fortunately, with a little bit of preparation, it doesn't have to be that way.
Whether traveling by plane or going on a road trip, if you have a baby the trip will not be easy. From packing for the trip to arriving, each step must be carefully planned out in order to avoid a meltdown. Babies are unpredictable, so it's important to always be prepared for the worst. Here we provide you with some tips on traveling with your little one to make your life a little bit easier, and your trip a little more fun!
Tips for traveling by car
With the cost of airline tickets only increasing, many families choose to travel by car. When going on a road trip with an infant, utilize these tips to guarantee a more peaceful drive:
- Drive at night. Driving at night is the best option since your baby will sleep the majority of the time, that is, if they're already sleeping through the night. Babies also sleep better in the car due to the constant movement.
- Hang toys from the ceiling. Use yarn and safety pins to hang toys from the ceiling of the car, about six inches from the baby's face. Surprisingly, this should help keep the baby entertained for a while.
- Take breaks. If the baby is sleeping, let him or her sleep. When the baby wakes, plan on stopping every 1-2 hours to feed, change or just get the baby (and yourself) some fresh air. Stopping often can help prevent future meltdowns.
- Make time for emergencies. Give yourself a few extra hours to allow for unnecessary stops or emergencies. If you're driving to visit family, tell them you'll arrive 1-2 hours later than you plan on. This will cut down on stress during the trip.
Tips for traveling by plane
Though the baby's ticket is free, the stress that can come with flying with an infant is huge. The following tips will be extremely helpful in making your flight an enjoyable experience for both you and the other passengers:
- Arrive early. First and foremost, arrive at the airport early. The baby may suddenly need a diaper change or want to eat, and you'll want to allow yourself extra time if that happens (and believe us — it will).
- Feed the baby during take-off and landing. Due to the sudden change in elevation, the baby's ears can pop and hurt. To help relieve some of the pain, feed your baby during take-off and landing (either breastfeed or bottle).
- Book a flight when baby normally sleeps. Consider taking a red eye flight. At the very least, try to schedule the flight when baby normally naps. Though this won't guarantee the baby will sleep, it will increase your chances of a restful flight.
- Bring extras of everything. Sometimes flights are delayed or you end up sitting on the runway for an extra hour. Assume that this will happen and always be prepared for the worst. Bring plenty of diapers, wipes, bottles and clothes. Bring an extra shirt for yourself as well in case the baby spits up.
- Don't expect your baby to be perfect. Parents can get easily flustered if their baby starts crying on the plane. Do your best to console the baby by offering food or a pacifier. If nothing helps, apologize to those around you and relax. Most likely, they understand what you're going through and have been there before!
Whatever means of travel you choose, just remember to expect the unexpected. Be prepared and allow yourself plenty of extra time to get to where you're going. Babies are babies — and we can't control them no matter how much we try. Soon enough, it will all be over, and you'll be at your destination.
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