We just recently went on our first vacation with Rhett, so I am basically a professional at traveling with children now. HA – just kidding, but, I wanted to go ahead and share some tips for traveling with a baby that were shared with me and that I learned along the way! I hope this is helpful for any mamas who are traveling with their little one soon!
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What to pack for pumping / feeding / nursing
- Electric pump — I brought my Elvie but was only away from him for one feeding on vacation so I never ended up using it. Just used the hand pump for quick relief.
- Charging cords for your pump!!!
- Medela hand pump – this thing is super handy to have when you don’t want to use your regular pump and just need quick relief. Fewer parts to clean because you can go from one boob to the other and it goes directly into a bottle. Definitely recommend having this!
- I packed a Dr. Brown’s bottle brush for cleaning bottles. I knew there would be dish soap where we were staying but if you won’t have any at your destination, you might pack some.
- Bottles – depending on how many you think you will need. I packed two in case, only used one for his one feeding of pumped milk. We just use Dr. Brown’s bottles.
- Freezer storage bags if you will be storing any milk + a Sharpie for labeling
- Wipes for your pump parts if you’ll be pumping on the go – linked
- Boppy / nursing pillow – used on the plane and for nursing throughout the trip. Even if you aren’t nursing, I would definitely recommend this for the plane! Made it so much easier and comfier to hold him in my lap to sleep on the plane.
What To Pack For Baby: Transportation
THE NAME OF EACH ITEM WILL INCLUDE THE DIRECT LINK!
- Baby carrier – we love this one!! It’s super affordable, very supportive – I had no issues wearing him all over the airport and on hikes for extended periods of time. You can have baby face toward you or away from you.
- Car seat – we brought our normal car seat, which is part of the travel system we have
- Padded car seat carrier (linked below) – I’ve heard that car seats can get pretty banged up if you don’t have a nice carrier for it, so we figured this was worth it! It was also nice that it’s a backpack. Worked well for us! Pro tip: any extra stuff you can’t fit in your suitcases, stuff in this thing!!! It checks for free. They never looked inside or said anything to us about it – I just threw some extra diapers and baby clothes in it.
- Compact travel stroller – we LOVED our Zoe Stroller! Would highly recommend. It is so lightweight and was so nice to have in the airport and hotel. Easy to push with one hand and fold up with one hand while holding baby in the other! Even has a cupholder, and an awesome sun shade.
What To Pack For Baby: Sleep
- Pack and play
- Sleep sacks – love this 3-pack!! I packed two in case he peed through one, lol. I knew we would also have access to washer/dryer at both of the places we stayed.
- Swaddle if your baby is still swaddled (we loved this for transitioning to sleep sack)
- Portable white noise machine — essential
- Baby monitor (linked) – we packed our monitor screen + camera in our checked luggage and when we reached our destination, the screen was all messed up. It has mostly resolved now, but with that said, you might consider packing your monitor in your carry on bag, or making sure it is safely packed in a padded area! Anyway, we love this monitor! And it was really nice to have with us when Rhett was down for bed and we were in another area of the house.
What To Pack For Baby: Clothes
- I packed at least two outfits for each day (and then some….)
- This will of course vary depending on the season you’re traveling in, but for Montana in July I packed mostly short sleeved onesies. I also packed some long sleeved zipper onesies in case it was cold overnight for sleeping.
- Bibs – if your babe is teething, a “happy spitter” (spits up a lot, like Rhett, haha), or drools a ton, bibs are essential!!! Rhett is rarely without one.
- Shoes & socks for older babies – since Rhett isn’t walking yet, he’s always barefoot lol
- Swimsuits with UPF protection for summer vacation – we loved this one! So nice to have long sleeves and legs so you don’t have to worry as much about sunscreen.
- Hats with UPF to protect their face and ears if outside – both hats Rhett wore on our trip linked below!
What To Pack For Baby: Health/Hygiene Items
- Baby Tylenol – just in case!
- Pacifiers / Wubbanub – our fav.
- Pacifier clips – SO clutch on this trip! It was also nice to have pacifier clips on toys for the airport/while traveling around so they didn’t fall on the floor!
- Normal diapers – I packed enough to get us through the first few days, but we made a stop for a big pack of diapers and wipes once we were there.
- Overnight diapers – I brought one for each night. We just use Huggies overnight diapers in his normal size.
- I also brought 3-4 swim diapers knowing we would be going to the pool just a few times
- Aquaphor Baby / diaper cream – I have this 3 pack of Aquaphor and keep one in multiple spots like diaper bag, nursery, etc.
- Baby bum brush (for applying diaper cream or Aquaphor – we use Aquaphor unless he has really bad rash)
- Wipes – I just brought one pack of Water Wipes with us (that’s what we use 90% of the time) and when we stopped for diapers I got one extra pack. We used about 1.25 packs of wipes. He was 5.5 months at the time and only poops a few times a week lol. If he was in the first 12 weeks when he was pooping a million times a day, we def would’ve needed more wipes!
- Dr. Brown’s wipes for pacifiers / toys, etc. if they fall on the ground
- Baby sunscreen. We used both Blue Lizard and Think Baby sunscreen. Rhett seems to have sensitive skin like his parents unfortunately, and I feel like the Blue Lizard was better for him. He was a little blotchy after using the Think Baby (but he gets blotchy a lot). It could have been coincidence or related to something else, but who knows. We also used the Blue Lizard face stick for him which was really nice to have.
- Portable changing station – I love having this so I’m not setting him directly on a surface that is maybe not the cleanest. Also packed a few disposable ones that were nice to have in random bathrooms with changing tables so I could just toss them after. This looks like a nice small one that you can stuff in your diaper bag.
- LOTS of burp rags + bibs if your baby spits up a lot and/or drools a lot like Rhett! Also recommend packing several backups of each in your diaper bag/carry-on. These burp rags are the bestttttt ever.
What To Pack For Baby: Toys
- Crinkle toys
- Teething toys
- Some people also suggested a “new” fun toy to give them on the trip to keep them entertained.
- We had a little light up Tucan one that played music that we used a bunch throughout the trip.
- Pack back up outfits for mom, dad and baby in the diaper bag / carry-on in case of a big spit up or blowout during travel
- Wear baby in baby carrier to go through airport security. Quick and easy and in our experience they didn’t make us take him out.
- We also went through security once with him in the Zoe stroller and popped him in and out pretty quickly, but wearing him was still easier.
- We were told we would need his birth certificate, but no one ever asked for it at the airports. I guess it doesn’t hurt to have just in case!
- Several moms recommended having a big Ziploc bag at the top of the diaper bag with a few diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer & a spare outfit so you could quickly pull it out for changes and have everything in one spot, especially if you have to change baby on the plane. I agree this was super convenient throughout the trip!
- I just put my ID, credit cards and some cash in a tiny little zipper pouch and kept that in the diaper bag for the week so I wasn’t hauling around a purse also.
- Nurse baby (or give bottle/pacifier) at takeoff and landing to help their ears adjust and not pop – the act of sucking/swallowing helps with this! I always nursed him at takeoff, but usually didn’t at the landing and he did fine. Also, if your baby falls asleep nursing/eating during takeoff, LET THEM SLEEP! Haha, I made this mistake on the first flight. I tried to have him switch sides to keep eating just to even out my boobs, but then he wouldn’t go back to sleep and I regretted it! It was worth it just to wait and feed on the other side later for our other flights!
- Also, if you are nursing, try to get the window seat. There was one occasion where Ethan and I were going to be separated and people were super nice and willing to move seats so we could be together, and I was always by the window. I didn’t even cover up – don’t stress about feeding on the plane. If you’re by the window, really no one can see you! And if they can, you’ll probably never see them again so who cares, LOL.
- Try to drop expectations / routine on vacation. I know it can be so hard, especially for those of us who are very type A and like our routine / structure with naps, feedings, etc., but just know that things are going to be a little all over the place on vacation, and it WILL be okay – promise! You and your baby will adjust and do great!
- If you can’t find any nursing rooms in the airport, ask someone! At the airport in Salt Lake City, we discovered that all of the women’s bathrooms had a private lactation room! This was so so nice! There is also the Mamava app where you can search for nursing rooms wherever you are!
- A lot of people also recommended @babyquip where you can rent baby equipment in different cities you’re traveling to!
- Use your baby carrier to wear baby when you are boarding and getting off the plane
What did you check vs. carry-on?
Ethan and I both just brought backpacks as carry-ons and checked everything else! We checked two large rolling suitcases, as well as the car seat and pack & play. We got a tag for the stroller at the gate before boarding the flight, and then you just drop it at the door as you board, and they put it underneath for you! When we got off the plane, it was waiting for us right by the door again. Super easy.
In my carry on, I had the big Ziploc with the diaper supplies (a few diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, a few disposable changing pads, and someone suggested also putting a spare outfit in that). I also had 1-2 extra outfits for Rhett, some backup leggings + a top for myself. A thin swaddle blanket, teething toy, back up pacifiers, pacifier wipes, a few snacks + gum + chapstick, my little zipper pouch with my ID/cards, and his birth certificate. Ethan also had some extra diapers + burp rags in his backpack.
Naps and Night Time Sleep for Baby?
Naps were pretty sporadic on our trip and a lot of times he would nap in his car seat when we were going from one destination to another. His bedtime would depend on what we had going on that night, but sometimes we were still able to get him down for bed close to his usual time. For all sleep (when we weren’t in the car) he’d sleep in his pack and play in a sleep sack like he normally does.
Most days he had shorter, more frequent naps than he does at home, but it all worked out! He actually slept pretty well overnight, except the first few nights because he was super congested and sadly had a little cough too. Thankfully it got better and overall he slept well on the trip.
How To Fly With Breast Milk
I actually did not fly with any breast milk since I nursed him for the whole trip. I am linking to a blog post here all about traveling with breast milk (including by plane) that you might find helpful!
Does baby have their own seat or sit in your lap?
Babies under age two fly for free. You do not need to purchase a ticket for them if they will be sitting in your lap. I kept Rhett on my lap for all flights using my Boppy and that worked well. However, I will say, planes are SO SMALL AND CRAMMED. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it would’ve been way worse without the Boppy IMO.
Tips for room sharing in hotel with baby
We just had Rhett’s pack and play set up in our room with the Boppy, had his noise machine going, and had the monitor set up as well if we were ever in another room while he was sleeping. Super easy! Like the old days of having him in his bassinet in our room. 🙂
I hope these tips for traveling with a baby were helpful for you! Please let me know if there was anything I missed or that you had additional questions on! If you’re traveling with your baby soon, don’t stress! Have so much fun and go with the flow! It’s SO worth it to start seeing the world through their eyes and going on adventures with them. 🙂