Taking your baby on a trip for the first time is a big deal. It’s a mix of excitement, fear, nervousness, and, of course, the looming anxiety that you’re not prepared enough. The entire process from planning the trip and booking the flight, to packing up and getting to your destination would feel like navigating through uncharted territory. Luckily, you have these tips to guide you.
1. Check with the pediatrician before the trip
If you are traveling abroad, it’s a great idea to check with your pediatrician at least two weeks before the flight to see if your child needs extra immunizations. Depending on your destination, your child may require vaccinations earlier or taking certain medications. The Traveler’s Health section in the Centers for Disease Control is a great resource for yours and your baby’s health.
Ask your pediatrician for suggestions on which medicine to bring, as well. Common health conditions you might deal with are stomach bugs, fevers, and colds, so bring baby Tylenol, baby Benadryl, a baby thermometer, and adult ibuprofen.
2. Choose a rear-facing car seat
It might be a bit of a hassle, but a rear-facing car seat is still the safest place for your baby. It’s a must if you’re traveling by car. You might need to book a separate ticket, but you should still check with the airline to learn about specific policies.
During the flight, make sure to take your baby out of the seat every couple of hours to let them stretch out and move their legs.
3. Deal with air pressure changes
Children are usually okay with the changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing, but since infants can’t yawn, pop their ears or swallow, the only alternative for them is sucking. Give them a bottle of a pacifier or breastfeed them, especially during the initial descent, when the biggest air pressure change happens. Ask a flight attendant to tell you when the descent is about to start.
4. Ask for baby amenities at the hotel
No need to pack a bottle warmer or car seat, you can get them at the hotel. Some even offer baby-proofing supplies, such as baby monitors, outlet covers, baby baths, and strollers. For some of these supplies, however, you need to call ahead. If you’re traveling domestically, there are also companies that allow you to rent baby supplies. For instance, if you’re traveling to Florida, you can rent a rollaway bed in Miami.
Remember to thoroughly check strollers and cribs for safety, especially if you’re staying abroad. To learn what you should check for, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
5. Ship ahead
If you’ll be away for longer than 5 days, ship ahead items, such as formula, wipes, and diapers with Amazon or Diapers.com. You can also ship ahead luggage with shipment sites that specialize in travel, like Luggage Free.
Your destination might not have your brand of diapers or the food your baby loves, but you shouldn’t take up precious luggage space with these goods, either.
Traveling with a baby is not as scary as it sounds, but it requires a lot of extra planning. Once you have checked off these tips, you can be at ease, knowing that your child is safe, and ready to have fun in their first adventure.