It's super easy to become overwhelmed by the minutiae that packing for babies requires if you're heading to the beach or even just for a weekend away. The number of items you need in your diaper bag just for a brief day outing is bad enough. But you have a baby now so taking your little one with you is a rite of passage to embrace. You can tackle the packing, unpacking and carrying on with our tips and keys.
KEY NUMBER ONE: ATTITUDE!
You've seen them: the families loaded with luggage piled high at the airport, the travel-weary parents, the wild-eyed toddlers rolling around on their personalized Trunkis. But you're not there yet — you're just out of the gate with your first baby and dipping your toe into the travel waters.
So first things first: Know that like anything else that requires a learning curve, a first vacation with our baby will require a herculean effort on your part. You WILL be traveling with a lot of paraphernalia and you DO want to have a good time. With that awareness, the first thing to tackle is your attitude.
According to Travels With Baby (Travel with Baby Books; 2014 by Shelly Rivoli), your attitude is your most powerful secret weapon when you travel with a newborn or baby. Being organized and anticipating needs will go a long way towards making or breaking your vacation. It DOES take extra effort, so adopting a can-do attitude is the key.
KEY TWO: PACKING
Whether you're flying or driving to your destination will change your packing needs a bit. Obviously, if you're heading to the beach it's a lot different than traveling to Grandma's for a visit (she can stock items for you to cut down on your load).
If you will be flying, your diaper bag will be screened, so be mindful. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) allows for formula, breastmilk and juice for children in "reasonable" quantities, but be sure to pack all liquids separately in a plastic bag so they can be easily removed.
Exactly what you will need to pack depends on how you are traveling, where you will be staying, how long you will be gone and the weather while you're away.
No matter how you are traveling, these are the items you'll need at the ready for your baby:
√ Bottles & Nipples
√ Clothes including hats
√ Comfort items
√ Diaper Changing pad
√ Gallon-sized storage bags
√ Hand sanitizer
√ Toiletries (sunscreen!!!)
The equipment you'll need most include:
√ Baby Carrier – Pack your sling to keep Baby close.
√ Baby Monitor & receivers – Especially if your baby will be sleeping in a different room.
√ Breast Pump – If you're breastfeeding, having a pump will be helpful. Many airports provide nursing pods.
√ Pack 'n Play – Take your own for your baby's comfort, or, if staying at a hotel, call ahead to see if they can provide one. If you're beaching it, a pack 'n play words wonders. Plunk some shade overhead and Baby's set.
√ Stroller – a light and solid, travel stroller will be your best friend. If you are flying, plan on checking it at the gate of the plane.
RENT YOUR GEAR & LIGHTEN THE LOAD!
Not psyched to have to haul all of your baby equipment on vacation? Rent your stuff. These two companies provide rentals throughout the U.S.:
Rent full-size cribs, car seats, high chairs and more from more than 500 locations.
TRAVELING BABY COMPANY
Baby equipment rentals to your rental home, condo, hotel, airport, etc.
KEY THREE: UNPACKING
Once you're checked in at your destination, you may be tempted to drop everything and get going. Only, how you packed for your baby is just as important as how you unpack! Take a little time to settle in and get your items in order. And if there's anything you forgot to bring, go get it now so you don't come up short later when you're in need.
• Set up your sleep area to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby bed near your own and make it, so it's ready when Baby needs it.
• Designate a changing area by setting out the diapers and wipes, etc. in one space.
• Establish a spot for bottles, dishes, formula, etc. If you're in a hotel, the bathroom may be a good spot since there's a sink there.
• Reorganize the diaper bag for lighter travels now that