Now, I know I am not the first person to travel with a newborn, but before my daughter was born I had a hard time finding much information about traveling with a newborn that helped me feel prepared for the two trips we had planned with her. We managed to fly and do a multi-state drive (SO long) while I was still living in the newborn bubble and while I did feel like we were pretty prepared, I did jot down a few things I wanted to share with all of you so you could have a great travel experience, too! And before I get into my tips and learned lessons I will just let you know that traveling with your newborn, while exhausting and not necessarily relaxing, is totally worth it.
So, let’s dive right in!
Tip number 1: Buy baby headphones. They don’t cost a whole lot, and while your baby might appreciate some white noise as they drift off to sleep they will NOT appreciate the sound of the engine from the prop plane. If you anticipate being in ANY sort of loud situation, these are a must. Hana slept through incredibly loud dance music with ease and I was able to enjoy myself knowing her little ears were protected. Plus, they look like little DJs.
Tip number 2: When driving, plan out breaks! Even if you’re baby isn’t on a predictable schedule yet (our’s wasn’t) still have some stops in mind and be flexible with your driving. We woke up before hitting the road, fed her and let her have some active time before putting her in the carseat for what felt like an eternity. We’d stop every 2.5 hours or so to feed, change and stretch our legs before traveling on. Scheduling stops saves your sanity!
Tip number 3: When you fly, use a car seat protector bag. I was still in a bit of a fog and wasn’t able to order one and have it arrive on time before we left. The airlines USUALLY can provide you with a plastic bag, but it isn’t reliable and they really beat up their luggage. On one of the flights we were handed our car seat and the bag had a giant tear in it so the seat just fell out - not how I want to treat the one thing protecting my child in a car!
Tip number 4: When flying, take as much milk needed to get you to your destination. I didn’t know this, but breast milk isn’t limited by the three ounce rule. Just be aware that some airports will scan your milk and also be aware that they may ask you to open your bottle. Don’t be afraid to ask TSA to step aside so you don’t spill it or have it around any of those germy travelers.
Tip number 5: Security is annoying. Yes, you do just have to go through the metal detector but they do make you pick up your sleeping baby out of their carrier to walk through it. Not a tip so much as a friendly warning.
Tip number 6: If you’re a pumping mama, stock up on batteries and take that baby on the road with you. I took that thing as a carry on and yes, I pumped in airports and in the back seat (ok, the front passenger's seat) of our car on the highway. It’s nice to be able to pump anywhere so you aren’t like me and relying on an outlet being available at an airport and instead have to go pump in the hallway of a dirty service entrance under construction as all the workers walk by. We all know how coveted those things are and you’re kidding yourself if you think someone will unplug their laptop to let give you a spot.
Tip number 7: If you plan on buying diapers and wipes once you reach your destination, take a few extra to account for travel surprises. When we flew, I wasn’t going to give up all that space in my luggage to diapers so I planned to buy some once we arrived in California. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed and we got their nearly a day later than we were supposed to. Thankfully, I had packed extra diapers in the diaper bag and we squeaked by with one diaper to spare before getting to the store!
Tip number 8: For all of you nursing/pumping mamas, wear nursing friendly gear. It makes it SO much easier and helps you avoid any awkward situations. Quick access makes the world go ‘round when you have a baby!
Tip number 9: Diaper trash bags. This is a minor thing, but when you have a small bathroom and some big smells, the diapers help seal off the smell even if the trash is there for a few days. Your relatives, friends, or plane mates will also really appreciate this one.
Tip number 10: Change of clothes. This probably goes without saying when you have a little baby, but they do tend to make a mess pretty easily. For their comfort, I recommend always having a spare change of clothes.
Tip number 11: A stroller seems like it might be a bit excessive with a newborn, but when you fly it’s nice to have a little stroller. You can check them plane side (along with the car seat) and it’s a lot easier to just get around with (especially if you’re juggling a million things which, lets face it, you will be). Another issue is safety. I did have our daughter in a carrier or over my shoulder, and a lot of people were so caught up in their travels that they kept almost bumping into me or wouldn’t give me any space.
Tip number 12: I think carriers are so nice with newborns, so I highly recommend having this with you wherever you go with your newborn. Sometimes, they just want to be held and to save your arms or actually be able to get somewhere or do something you just need to strap them to you. Plus, this sometimes allows them the security and comfort to sleep in a busy airport or bus/train station and also gives you the cuddle time we all know you want.
Tip number 13: Prepare to hold your baby when you’re flying. You can NOT have your baby strapped to you for takeoff and landing for safety reasons, so I recommend having a blanket, sweatshirt or something that you can put behind baby’s head or prop your arm up.
Tip number 14: Do not shy away from taking extra burp clothes. They always come in handy for any sort of mess and don’t take up too much room.
Tip number 15: Disposable breast pads will be your friend if they aren’t already! I typically use washable ones, but I travel I don’t typically have access to or have time for laundry. Disposable pads make life so much cleaner and easier without having to worry about the dreaded leak spots.
Tip number 16: Have a breastmilk cooler! The last thing you want when you are working tirelessly to produce milk is to have to dump it because you couldn’t use it/store it in time. And in the same breath…
Tip number 17: If you’re driving, I highly recommend having a hot water thermos or bottle and a mug or bowl to heat your milk in. I would boil water before we left in the morning, pour it into the thermos and when needed pour the water into the mug and warm up the milk for 30 seconds or so. This can be done anywhere - the side of the road, a gas station, a restaurant.
Tip number 18: Bring a bottle brush and dish soap with you. It’s really hard to clean any pumping or feeding supplies when you’re traveling so be prepared!
Tip number 19: A travel bassinet is one of the most important things we traveled with. Whether it’s a hotel or friend’s house, they rarely have a safe or comfortable place for your newborn to sleep. A travel bassinet makes sure that there is a safe place for your baby to sleep ANYwhere. Our daughter has slept on beds in between us and on the floor next to our bed. It also serves as a safe place to set them down while you shower, cook, or just try to get anything done with TWO hands.
Tip number 20: Take snacks and a water bottle with you at all times. Healthy and fueled mom means healthy and fueled baby. We all know traveling takes it out of you, so be sure to stay hydrated and drink LOTS of water. The snacks will come in handy when you get hungry but something good to eat is nowhere to be found. Travel days are tough on everyone but we know you’ll want to do all you can to make sure baby is well fed!
Travel is definitely different for every person, but I hope these tips were helpful! The trips we’ve taken with our little girl so far have been wonderful and full of memories and learning experiences. I hope you all get to go out and explore the world with your little ones without and stress or hassle!
Love, explore, live for more. She currently exists in the newborn bubble.