Traveling With Babies

If you start baby travel slowly and plan wisely, both you and baby will enjoy first-class comfort. Begin with baby steps and you'll find that soon you and your little one will be able to walk, ride, or fly in the fast lane.

Day Trips

Introduce baby to travel starting with a few day-trips to a local relative or friend. Basic equipment will be a packed diaper bag, a stroller or pram (if you'll spend some time outdoors), and a car seat. Most modern car seats easily detach and convert into a baby carrier.

Be sure to pack your diaper bag with a diaper for each two hours you intend to be away from home. Pack 2 nipples for each bottle you pack, two to three receiving blankets, and an extra change of clothing for baby and an extra shirt for you. Cut down on diaper bag weight and keep things easy to find by using Ziploc bags to pack extras like nipples, wipes, and pacifiers. Pack one large, empty Ziploc for soiled items.

Overnights

For baby's first overnight trip, you'll need to extend your day-trip plan with a couple of extra receiving blankets and extra sets of clothing for baby. Even if your overnight trip is to Grandma's house, remember that nighttime sounds and perceptions may be different from those during daytime hours. A good pram with wheel locks can double as a bassinet, helping baby feel right at home and enabling everyone to sleep more comfortably through the night.

If overnight travel is a frequent part of your regular routine, consider investing in a Graco Pack 'n Play Classic Care Center. This excellent piece of baby travel equipment is a bassinet, changing table, and playpen in one portable unit that folds into a handy tote bag. There are 22 models of the Classic Care Center. With prices starting at under $50.00, you're sure to find one that's right for your little one and your budget.

Extended Hotel Stays

Many hotels stock products and equipment especially for travelers with babies, but they may not stock the brands you and baby prefer. When you make your reservation, ask for specific information on product brands and the equipment you'll need to make baby's stay comfortable. If you opt to use a hotel crib or bassinet, be sure to pack a couple of baby's own blankets, a familiar mobile, and/or other "security items".

Although your inclination may be to pack up your complete nursery, in some cases, an extended stay may allow you to pack even less than you would for an overnight trip. For instance, it would be impractical to pack a week's worth of bottles and nipples. Pack only enough for a day and leave time in your itinerary for clean-ups. When packing baby clothes, include two or three one-piece outfits that can be quickly hand washed when soiled.

You'll also want to be sure to bring along a stroller. Most contemporary strollers are lightweight and easily collapse for transport or storage. Some models are equipped with multi-position reclining seats so baby can sight-see or nap as he or she chooses. In addition, many have features like tray attachments, sun canopies, attached toy bars, and "parent" trays for your little extras.

If part of your vacation will put you in a crowd, consider a baby backpack or sling. The Baby Bjorn Carrier holds baby safely to your chest, increasing baby's sense of security as he maintains eye contact with your familiar face.

From day trips to cruise ships, how you travel with babies depends chiefly on your destination and length of stay. However developing a basic plan and adding to it as the situation warrants will quickly make seasoned travel companions out of you and your little one.

Linda is mother and grandmother of two, she is author of the Baby Strollers Guide and the Baby Products Guide

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