Travelling with an infant may seem daunting. The notion may present itself with a few challenges but travelling can still be enjoyable and more importantly, it is very much possible. Travelling with an infant can be an experience of its kind, not only for you but for your baby as well. Your baby may even enjoy the whole experience of getting out of the house and travelling about with people. It may prove useful to keep in mind certain things before embarking on a journey with an infant as a companion.
Video: Travelling With an Infant: Important Guidelines for Parents
Make Sure Your Baby is Old Enough to Travel
Ideally, the first 40 days after childbirth are best avoided for any kind of travel. This period of confinement may extend to few more weeks in order to safeguard your baby from infections and to give yourself time to recuperate from the delivery.
If travel is unavoidable during this period, then you may plan a journey by train, car or bus. Air travel may not be feasible at this time, as some airlines have strict age restriction policies for infants and do not allow a baby on board till he is at least a month old.
It is considered safe to travel when the baby is about 3 months old. His delicate immune system would have developed some more resistance by then. Once the baby is 6 months old or beyond and has a fixed routine of feeding and sleeping, you may be required to plan the travel around his needs. Interestingly, infants have known to enjoy travelling, if they are well fed and feel secure enough! The motions and commotion can often assist them in sleeping.
How You Can Keep Your Baby Safe
It makes sense to follow the golden rule: keep it simple. You may like to plan your itinerary in a way that it is not exhausting for the baby. Avoid long spells of travel for your baby. Try and restrict to fewer activities in a day. Also, keep your schedule flexible to accommodate your baby’s moods, sleeping and feeding timings. It may be a good idea to select an infant-friendly destination and hotel so that you are not required to spell out all your requirements.
The overall safety guidelines that you adopt at home to ensure your baby’s safety, can be applied while travelling as well. In addition, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- When travelling by road, keep in mind to correctly install the car seat of the baby on the rear seat of the car rather than the front seat and properly secure the seat belts.
- It may be a good idea to place window shades or even a small towel or piece of cloth, on the windows of your car to protect the child from the harsh sun. Alternatively, pack some sunscreen and a hat for the baby.
- It may be wise to carry along a basic baby’s first aid kit with all the essential medicines to manage any probable medical issues like for colic, fever, nausea, cold and cough or upset tummy. Also, it is advisable to consult your doctor in this regard, especially if your child has motion sickness. You may be required to carry the prescription of these medicines, in case you are travelling by air.
- It may be wise to make your child wear a bright coloured dress so that it is easy to locate him in crowded places. You may also like to stick/clip on an identity card on his clothes with his basic information, in case you lose sight of him in a crowd.
How You Can You Feed a Baby When Travelling
Carrying adequate water and sufficient food, while travelling with an infant, may be very helpful as infants may demand it anytime and generally don’t have the patience to wait. If you are travelling by road, taking regular short breaks may be suitable for the baby. If you are breastfeeding, it is most convenient, especially if you are not required to carry any gear for it.
If your infant is on baby food or infant formula, then you may want to plan carefully. Here is what you need to feed your baby:
- It may be convenient to carry easy to pack, mini formula food packets.
- An insulated flask filled with boiled water, and pre-sterilised travel bottles and nipples will come handy.
- If your baby is on solids, pack some travel sized baby cereals packs, which can be easily prepared by mixing milk or water. It is always a good idea to buy the baby food in your baby’s favoured flavours so that it may relax him during travelling.
- Carrying sufficient wet wipes and enough baby bibs may also be necessary.
- Bear in mind to always boil drinking water rather than using packaged drinking water, to prevent any likely upset tummies.
- When travelling by air, it may be better to feed the baby during landing or taking off to prevent any an earache. Most airlines impose no restrictions on carrying adequate baby food for the trip.
What You Need to Pack for Your Baby
It is recommended to pack keeping in mind the destination and the number of days of travelling involved.
- Make a list of things to carry while travelling with a baby, before you start packing. This can come in handy lest you forget to pack something vital at the last minute.
- If you are travelling with a baby, it may be beneficial to carry a foldable pram or stroller which is lightweight and doesn’t occupy much space. Otherwise, you can also opt for a baby sling or a baby carrier, which is practical as you can freely move about while sightseeing.
- If your baby is used to sleeping in his own cot, you may want to take it along, for strange hotel room beds can become an issue. In case, it is bulky and you do not wish to carry it, you may consider taking along your baby’s favourite sheet or blanket instead. The familiar feel and smell may help in soothing and calming the baby.
- Remember to carry the regular baby essentials like diapers, diaper rash cream, breast pads, wipes, tissues, bibs, baby’s bowl and spoons, baby soap and lotion and so on.
- Also, carrying along a favourite toy may help in engaging the infant usefully. Packing a goody bag full of child’s favourite items like toys, colours, books, puzzles may be a great idea. Try and finish the travel early so that you may get suitable rest along with your baby.
Other Useful Tips
Here are a few travels tips with a baby as a travelling companion to ensure smooth travelling:
- Keep in mind to take adequate rest before starting on a journey. This will help you to remain calm and cope better with any situation.
- Ensure that your baby is taking in plenty of fluids during the trip. It is important to keep the child suitably hydrated.
- It may be wise to book a lower berth when travelling by train. You may find it convenient as it can provide the baby with sufficient room to move around.
- It may be worthwhile to choose a lightweight stroller which has an additional sunshade and mosquito net. It may be useful if it has an adjustable back, which can come in handy in case the baby wants to snooze.
- You may find it helpful if you keep changing the view or scenery of the baby. Let him sit by the window or move about the train or plane in order to keep things new and interesting for him.
- You may like to carry a night light or a baby monitor which can be plugged in when staying in unfamiliar hotel rooms. You may need to pack a plug adapter as well.
- Packing a universal bath plug may prove helpful as it can convert a shower into a bath. Otherwise, you can use the sink for bathing the baby or carry an inflatable bathtub.
- It is always a great idea to carry along some new and interesting toys which can be used to surprise the infant if he starts to get bored or cranky during the journey.
- You may find it useful to pack in an extra blanket or mat which can be spread while waiting for your train or flight. This can allow the child to play freely and tire himself out so that he may later nap peacefully on the train or plane. You may also use it for changing diapers if changing tables are not available.
- While travelling there is just no way you can avoid the germs. So, remember to carry lots of disinfecting wipes or liquid hand sanitizers to clean the baby’s hands time and again.
- Always carry extra clothing not only for the baby but also for yourself. With infants, things can turn messy while feeding them or they may throw up.
- You may prefer to coordinate your sightseeing or long walks with baby’s nap timings. This way you can move around at peace while the baby sleeps in the stroller or baby sling and later you can stop at a park to take rest when the baby is up and needs to play about.
- It is always sensible to bear in mind the time zones when travelling abroad as this can interfere with your child’s routine. Keep your schedule flexible to accommodate the child’s eating and sleeping requirements.
- While travelling, it may be difficult to follow your child’s usual routine. So, try and quickly set a new routine for him during the trip and follow it. This may help him to feel comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings.
- Try and start early for any trip. This is because infants are in a better mood during the day. Afternoons can be reserved for outdoor activities while evenings can be spent relaxing at the hotel.
You may also consider taking a trial trip before planning a long journey with your infant like a day’s outing or picnic or a weekend trip to gauge his reaction and to get an idea about how travelling with him will be.
Travelling with an infant may not be as convenient as travelling alone but it can still be a wonderful experience. As your child will get used to the nuances of travelling, you can take frequent trips together and make beautiful, everlasting memories in the bargain.