Just the thought of what it takes to leave the house with a baby in tow can be enough to have you second guessing your plans to venture out. But with a bit of forward planning, travelling with a baby doesn’t have to be a stressful production!
Here are some top tips for heading out without a hassle.
As a parent you will soon become, if you aren’t already, a great on-the-spot problem solver but a little forward planning can really help avoid any unwanted surprises.
A little early organisation can really make all the difference when it comes to smooth sailing to your destination whether it is a day trip to great-grandma’s house or an overseas family vacation.
Here are some things to consider:
- Do your homework, especially if you are going somewhere you haven’t been before. Look at the climate for the time of year you are going, check what places are family friendly before booking accommodation (social media and reviews can be great for this) and, if going overseas, be sure to find out about any laws that might apply to you and bub (car seat, carry-on allowances…).
- Write a list of the things you will need and start packing early.
- Timing is everything so, if possible, travel at times you know your little one is likely to sleep or be at their happiest.
Forget lugging around bulky items you could live without – remember, necessities such as strollers are supposed to make life easier when you are on the go. So choose one that is compact, easy to collapse and lightweight.
No matter how young they are, remember babies don’t stay happy for long with an empty belly so make this a part of your plan. If baby has started on solids, be sure to have some favourite foods on hand. And whether baby is formula or breastfed, be sure to have plenty of snacks packed for yourself to keep the energy levels up.
Make it fun
Babies are only babies for so long so there is no reason you can’t make the most of your travel time too. Soak up the sights and sounds around you and take plenty of photos along the way, remember that every day you are making memories.
If you are taking a holiday, despite what you may have been told, babies and young children can actually make great travel companions!
Establishing a routine while away
This may sound impossible but it’s not. Firstly, when you arrive be sure to unpack and get yourself organised. Just ten minutes spent setting up a toy corner, a change area and making up baby’s bed at the start could make a world of difference.
Having toys and bedding that are familiar could help settle bub into the new surroundings and, having this stuff ready to go when you need will also take the pressure off you. While the trip may have you all a little out of whack, in no time you will find your groove.
You can still see the sights while your baby naps
It may alter the routine slightly but there is no reason you can’t use baby’s nap time to take in the sights while on holidays. Go for a walk while baby catches some shut-eye in the pram or wear baby as you stroll busy marketplaces or dip your toes in the ocean. If there are elements or distance to consider, strap baby into the car and go for a drive. And, if you want a bit of baby-free time, why not look up a good babysitter so you can head out – remember it is your holiday too!
Eating out with baby
If you time this right, there is no reason you can’t have a nice dinner out with bub in tow. Try and go when bub is sleeping, if they are content to snooze in the pram or go when they are at their happiest. There is no reason to limit yourself to the fast food court type eateries either – most places have nice restaurants that are still family friendly. Do some research online or call ahead to check they have a change table, or a suitable area for this, and room to accommodate a pram next to the table.
Have a bottle on hand and ready to go or ensure mum is wearing something to allow baby to breastfeed easily. Take along a comfort toy and any other soothers bub likes such as dummies or a favourite snuggly blanket.
And, most importantly, just relax. If bub cries, screams, wriggles and just isn’t feeling it, it’s not the end of the world. Take it in your stride and know that there will be plenty more times ahead where this will probably happen. But it needn’t ruin your holiday – sometimes you just have to take bub’s lead and go with the flow.