Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

We all have our go-to medications stocked in our medicine cabinets for the adult members of the family.  Maybe yours include Motrin, Tylenol, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, and/or allergy medications.  Most of us have a pretty good idea how to use these safely and can follow the directions on the bottle.  However, the game changes when we are talking about babies and toddlers.  They get the same ailments such as pain, fever, and allergies, but the directions on the packaging often don’t cover our littlest family members. Here is everything you need to know about giving medicine to a baby or toddler.

As a pharmacist, I wanted to provide answers to the most common questions parents ask. However, this information should not be taken as medical advice because I don’t know all the details of your child’s illness. 

Each situation is different, so it’s important that you use this information only as a guide and speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about your child’s specific symptoms, and other characteristics.


When Should I Call the Doctor?

As a general rule of thumb, things are more severe the younger your baby is.  If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to contact the nurse helpline or doctor whenever your baby is sick.  However, once your baby is a little older, you can treat low-grade fevers and minor colds at home as long as he’s generally healthy otherwise. 

Doctor’s offices will usually have a nurse helpline that you can contact with questions and they can help you determine if your baby needs to be seen.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call this number.  It’s free and the worse that happens is you sit on hold for a bit waiting for your call to be answered.


Reading Medication Labels

Over-the-counter medications or OTCs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription.  These are medications that the FDA has determined can be used safely based on the directions on the label. 

Drug Facts

The Drug Facts section on the label is where all the information you need to use the medication safely is located.  This is what the FDA has determined is necessary for you to know to use the medication without a doctor or pharmacist being involved.  It includes 7 sections which I will go over below.

Active Ingredient

The section states what ingredients are included in the medication with the intent of providing the intended action.  The drug is listed by its generic name and the amount and purpose of the medication are stated.  This section is how you can tell the difference between products with similar packaging and names. 

If you see ‘HPUS’ included in this section, it means that the medication is a homeopathic remedy.    Homeopathic remedies are beyond the scope of this article.  However, the basic principle is that illness is cured by giving tiny amounts of a substance that would be toxic in larger amounts.  Homeopathic remedy strength is indicated by HPUS and the less of a substance that the product contains the stronger it is.

Uses

This section lists the different symptoms the medication is likely to work for when dosed based on the information on the box.

Warnings

The warnings section is often the longest, but it’s a very important section.  Here you will find warnings about allergies, when to stop using and when to talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to using the medication.

Directions

The directions are often what people jump to first, but the above sections are also important to read.  The directions state how much of the medication to take and how often to take it.  This is often divided into sections based on age.  However, you will find that many medications don’t providing dosing for children under 6 months or under 2 years.  This is because the FDA doesn’t think the medication can be safely used in this population without oversight from a doctor.

Other Information

This is other information that may be helpful such as how to store the medication.

Inactive Ingredients

These are the ingredients that aren’t expected to have beneficial effects.  These products are added to help form the tablet or liquid or to add color or flavor.  Medications all contain inactive ingredients in addition to the active one.  You would want to look at this section if your child has allergies as there may be an inactive ingredient that they are allergic to.  However, if you aren’t concerned about allergies, you can generally ignore this section.

Questions or Comments?

The final section is a phone number to contact the drug company if you have any questions or comments about the medication.


Giving Medications to a Baby

Medications for babies are in liquid form.  You will need a method to measure the dose and a method to administer it.  For measuring, you could use a syringe or measuring container.  Generally, medications will come with a plastic cup or syringe for measuring.  These are marked with milliliter or mL.  The directions on the packaging will tell you how many mL to give.  If the medication doesn’t have a measuring device or it gets lost, you can purchase one at most drug stores.

The measuring devices can also work to administer the medication. However, depending on the age of your child, a small cup may not work for giving the medication, but a syringe often works well for giving medication to a baby.  There are many handy devices available if you prefer.  These include pacifiers and tiny bottles that are designed for you to put the medication into them and then baby gets the medication while sucking.


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Giving medication can get challenging though, so parents have come up with some hacks for making the process easier.  For babies, a pacifier with an open back (like the hospital gives you) is about the right size for fitting a syringe into.  Cut a hole in the tip and while your baby is sucking on the pacifier, slowly squirt the medication out of the syringe.

For toddlers that have mastered drinking from a straw, cut the back out of an empty juice box.  Then put the medication in a small cup into the juice box for the toddler to drink from a straw.

What you don’t want to do is mix the medication into a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or another liquid.  The reason is that often a child won’t drink the entire amount and then you don’t know how much medication was actually consumed.  Also, letting the medication sit in liquid for an extended period waiting for your child to drink it, can make the medication less effective.  If you do mix a medication into a drink, make sure that the entire drink is consumed in one sitting.

Antibiotic-Specific Tips

For antibiotics, you will need to make sure you shake the medication well before measuring out a dose.  Antibiotics come as suspensions which means that when they sit for an extended period, the medication will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  By shaking it, you make sure that the medication is evenly mixed before you measure a dose. 

Many liquid antibiotics need to be refrigerated and they are also only good for 10 to 14 days.  The pharmacist will tell you if it needs to be in the fridge and how long it’s good for.  It’s important that you keep antibiotics in the fridge if they require it.  This can also make it taste better which is a win. 

It’s important that your child take the entire course of antibiotics.  If the doctor prescribes it for 10 days, then you need to give it for 10 days.  Your child should start to feel better well before 10 days is up, but if you stop the medication too early, the infection can come back.  At the end of the prescribed treatment, you want to discard any leftover medication.  Antibiotics aren’t good for very long once they are mixed, so the medication won’t keep for future use.


Over-the-Counter (OTC) Baby Medicines

Baby Medicine for Fever

A fever is the body’s natural defense mechanism and indicates that there is some type of infection the body needs to fight.  Therefore, it isn’t completely bad.  If your baby has a mild fever and doesn’t appear to be too affected by it, then it may not need treated.  However, if a fever gets too high it can lead to seizures.  If your baby or toddler has a fever, it doesn’t hurt to contact the nurse hotline.  They may tell you it’s okay, but it never hurts to check since a fever does mean there is something else going on. 

If you need to treat the fever, the medications that could be used are Infant’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Infant Motrin (ibuprofen).  These medications are both available over the counter.  Make sure to read the directions on the product you are using because there can be slight differences. If you need help figuring out how much to give, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. 

When your baby has a fever, dehydration is more likely.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have Pedialyte on hand to help encourage fluid intake.

Baby Medicine for Colds

There are a variety of readily available medications for adults with a cold.  However, these are not recommended for use in babies or toddlers.  If you see a product advertised as cold medicine for a baby or toddler, it’s likely a homeopathic remedy. 

Having a nose suctioning device like this or this is helpful to decrease congestion.  For a full list of what you can do to help your baby feel better, check out this post.

Baby Medicine for Allergies

This is another condition where the adult medications are usually not appropriate.  If your baby appears to have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor about recommendations.  If you are concerned about food allergies, bring your concern up to your doctor prior to introducing solid foods.  Your doctor can recommend something to have on hand in case an allergic reaction occurs.  Benadryl is a common recommendation, but the dosing on the package only goes down to 2 years old.  Therefore, your doctor needs to tell you what dose to give.  It is worth noting that children can react to Benadryl differently than adults.  Adults will usually get sleepy from the medication, but children can actually become excited.  Therefore, this medication should never be used to help your child sleep.


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Baby Medicine Cabinet Essentials

When preparing for a baby, it’s a good idea to have certain medicine cabinet essentials on hand.  The following are the items I recommend having about home before you actually need them.


There are the tips straight from the pharmacist’s mouth.  As you can see, there are a lot of times when you will need to contact the doctor with regards to your sick baby.  You will eventually get a feel for what requires a call and what doesn’t.  I also strongly recommend asking your pharmacist for advice.  These tips are general information, but your local pharmacist can provide more specific information for your situation.

Giving Medicine to a Baby 101: The Essential Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Lauren’s ABC’s of Baby Travel Essentials

Lauren’s ABC’s of Baby Travel Essentials

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

“Big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Alligator a…a…a. Big B little B…” Oh, wait – that’s Dr. Seuss. But the alphabet concept is catchy, so we’ll stick with that.

Here’s my A to Z list of Baby Travel Essentials to help simplify the confusion. Make sure to bring along everything on this list. Also, enter your email below to grab my complete packing list for flying with a baby!

FREE Packing List for Flying with a Baby

Get my ultimate packing list delivered straight to your inbox. I’ve refined it over many trips, so you can benefit from what I’ve learned.

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    Animal (stuffed)

    Every kid has a collection of stuffed animals, but most have one or two obvious favorites.  These favorite stuffed animals can provide comfort for a tired baby or toddler that is having an overwhelming travel day with a lot of non-routine experiences.  Just make sure that the favorite stuffed animal is always accounted for. The last thing you want is to leave it on an airplane.


    Blanket

    A swaddling blanket is perfect for creating a car seat cover to provide some quiet and darkness to help your little one sleep.  A blanket is also great for putting on the airport floor to put your baby on (until he’s old enough to crawl away at least).  Swaddling blankets are also thin, so they can easily be rolled to not take up a lot of space.

    A blanket baby travel essential covering a baby in a car seat on an airplane.

    Car Seat Cart

    Unless you have an infant car seat and stroller travel system, you will want this amazing cart!  You just strap on a convertible car seat and it pulls behind you like a suitcase.  The cart the folds down to a small square that easily fits in a large carry-on.

    A pull along cart is definitely a baby travel essential because it turns the car seat into a roller suitcase.

    Diaper Bag

    You never want to leave the house without a fully stocked diaper bag.  When flying it’s critical that you have more diapers, wipes and baby food/milk than you will need just in case you get stuck with a delay.  For most airlines (except Southwest) a diaper bag doesn’t count towards your carry-on allowance when traveling with a lap child. Make sure you pack all of these items into your diaper bag!

    An open diaper bag and boarding pass.

    Earmuffs

    These noise-canceling baby earmuffs are amazing.  They block out a lot of noise to help calm down an overstimulated baby or to protect baby’s hearing from loud noises.  We got them for taking our son to a wedding reception.  However, they have come in handy in airports and airplanes many times.

    Baby noise-canceling earmuffs on a baby that's sleeping on an airplane.

    Fan

    I have this amazing travel fan that is rechargeable.  I got it for labor and delivery, but now it goes on every trip.  Having a fan is super helpful when you end up on a plane that is way too hot.  The fan can help keep your baby from getting cranky due to the heat.  In my experience, it doesn’t matter what the outside weather is like, airplanes can still get hot.  Therefore, I never fly with my son without this fan.

    A fan is a baby travel essential because it keeps everyone cool and comfortable.

    Want more great travel resources? The Smart Travel Bundle provides everything you need at a huge discount!
    Here's what you get in the bundle! Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

    Gate Check Bags

    You can gate check your car seat and stroller free of charge.  However, they will be spending the flight underneath the plane with all the luggage.  You have no idea what dirt and grease they will come into contact with, so gate check bags are a must to make sure baby’s ride stays in great shape.  They make a variety of stroller and car seat bags that fold down into their own small pouches when not in use. 

    Pro Tip: If you have a large jogging stroller, make sure you get one large enough.

    A stroller gate check bag that functions as a backpack makes flying with a baby easier.

    Headphones

    Movies are a great source of quiet entertainment for toddlers and older babies.  Setting your child in front of a screen may not be ideal at home, but when you are on a plane, it’s a perfectly acceptable option.  These headphones have maximum volume that is lower than adult headphones and they are soft and flexible for little heads.  An additional benefit is that the cord is chew-proof.

    A collection of baby airplane travel essentials

    ID for Baby

    You obviously need you ID to go through security.  However, if your baby is traveling as a lap child, they will need proof of age.  You could use a birth certificate for this purpose.  However, carrying around a piece of paper always scared me.  Therefore, we got Paxton a passport card which lives in my wallet.  That way I can just provide that for his proof of age.


    Jacket

    Above I talked about airplanes being too hot.  However, it can also go the other direction with airports and airplanes being too cold.  It’s always a good idea to bring a light jacket for everyone in case it gets chilly.  This is also regardless of the outside weather.


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    Kitchen Items (for Baby)

    You will want to bring whatever you need to feed baby.  This could include bottles, forks and spoons, bowls, sippy cups, and food pouch attachments like this or this.  We decide pouches are too messy at Paxton’s current age to travel with.  We also can usually make do without bowls.  For forks and spoons, I like the Take -n -Toss ones.


    Laundry Detergent

    If you have a long trip, it can be easier to wash clothes part way through versus taking enough for the entire trip.  Also, babies are messy, so you never know when you will need to do an unexpected load of baby laundry.  Taking a travel-sized bottle or packet of laundry detergent allows you to select one that will work for baby’s sensitive skin.


    Medicine Bag

    Hopefully, you won’t need this, but if you do, you’ll be glad to have it.  I keep one stocked with baby Motrin, baby Benadryl, nasal bulb, thermometer, medication syringe, and baby nail clippers.  The first time Paxton got sick was while we were traveling, and I was glad to have this little pack.

    A collection of baby travel essentials

    Noise Machine

    White noise can be a helpful sleep aid for everyone in the family.  I have a travel one that is small and lightweight and can hang on a stroller, car seat or Pack-n-Play.  This is great for trying to get baby to nap during a layover and to block out the noise from other people in a hotel room. 

    For more tips on staying in a hotel with a baby or toddler, check out this post.


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    Options

    Telling a toddler or older baby no often doesn’t go well.  Providing options works well when you have a child that wants to cruise the plane despite the fasten seat belt sign being on.  Instead of saying ‘no’ offer two options like a movie or toy, or toy A versus toy B, or snack A versus snack B – you get the idea.  Having plenty of options allows your child to feel like they are still getting a say and you have a variety of things to choose from when one thing becomes boring.


    Pack-n-Play Sheet

    I don’t travel with a Pack-n-Play because I just use one hotel provides.  However, I don’t like using the sheets/blankets they provide.  I bring my own sheet and have found that a traditional Pack-n-Play sheet fits most hotel baby sleeping options.


    Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

    Q-Tips

    You should never stick a Q-tip into your baby’s ears. However, they have plenty of other uses for cleaning things like charging ports.  Also, my husband gets really cranky when he can’t clean out his ears, so they help keep him happy to which is a win.


    Reading Material

    Bring a couple of baby’s favorite books.  If they are interactive ones, that’s even better.  Books make a good airplane activity.  You may also want to bring reading material for yourself that you can juggle while holding a sleeping baby.  This may be a little optimistic, but you will be glad to have something to do if your baby passes out from the drone of the airplane.

    A bookshelf with lots of books which are essential when traveling with a baby.

    Snacks

    Everyone is less cranky when snacks are readily available.  You can purchase many items in the airport and on the plane.  However, the cost can add up fast.  Snack packs and bars work well for adults, and many baby-friendly snacks can be packed into snack containers and added to the diaper bag.  The last thing a traveling parent needs is a hangry baby and no snacks.


    Toys

    Entertaining a baby or toddler for a long flight can be challenging.  Before your trip, start considering what toys would work well on an airplane.  I find it’s a good idea to bring a couple of favorites and a couple of new toys or ones that haven’t been pulled out in a while.  Just try to select toys that don’t make noise and don’t have a bunch of pieces.

    Baby sitting in a car seat with baby travel essentials of a bottle and toys.

    Umbrella Stroller

    If you are using the car seat cart I mentioned above, you don’t really need a stroller in the airport.  However, you may want a stroller at your destination.  In that case, I find an umbrella stroller is usually sufficient and it’s lightweight and small which are perks for traveling.  You can put this into a gate check bag, but then check it for free with your other luggage.


    View Window Formula Bottles

    Liquid formula is helpful for traveling because it’s ready to drink.  However, some bottles are completely opaque while others have view windows.  When going through security, you can bring liquid formula, but they are often particular about being able to view the contents.  If the formula bottle has a spot where the bottle is cleared, you are good to go.  However, if it doesn’t (i.e. certain Similac ones), TSA often requires that the cap be removed or they give you a full pat down.


    Wipes

    Wipes are good for everything when you have a baby.  Bring lots.  That is all.


    X-ray Friendly Clothing

    When you go through security, you will either need to go through a metal detector or the scanner machine.  Clothing with embellishments, and thick heals on boots can be problematic.  When trying to go through security with a baby, the last thing you want is the added stress of setting off a detector.  Play it safe and go with plain clothing and shoes.


    Yes Attitude

    You want another snack? – Yes; You want to watch Frozen again? – Yes

    Limits are a good thing at home, but when traveling you will need to say Yes to a lot more.  It’s important to choose your battles because traveling tends to make everyone more on edge and cranky.


    Zinc Oxide

    Diaper rash is painful and it can come on quickly. Babies seem to be extra prone to it when you are traveling because diaper changes are often rushed and baths may be less frequent. Therefore, you want to make sure you are prepared with diaper rash cream when you need it.


    For more baby travel essentials, check out the YouTube video below!

    MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY

    There you have my A to Z list of baby travel essentials. For more travel tips, make sure to check out these posts!

    What travel items do you think are helpful? Let me know in the comments.

    Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

    Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

    5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

    When you are pregnant, comfort is key. However, flying and comfort don’t often belong in the same sentence. If you find yourself flying while pregnant, make sure to avoid these 5 mistakes that I learned about the hard way.

    1. Taking the Window Seat

    The window seat may be prime airplane real estate for some people.  However, when you are pregnant, you will want to rethink your seating choices.  I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that pregnancy makes you pee a lot.  If you have a window seat and need to ask multiple people to move every time you go to the bathroom, you are likely to be tempted to hold it which can lead to a UTI.  If you are sitting on the edge it’s easy to get up whenever you need to.

    2. Staying in Your Seat

    When you are pregnant, you are more prone to DVTs which are blood clots in your legs.  Anyone can get DVTs, but pregnant women have a higher risk, and the risk increases when you are on an airplane and sitting for an extended period.  Therefore, you want to get up periodically and walk around – a bathroom trip counts. This is another situation where having an aisle seat comes in handy.  It’s generally a good idea to try and get up once every hour to 1.5 hours.  Other things you can do to decrease your risk are to wear compression socks that reach your knees and flex your ankles while sitting.


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    3. Skipping the Snacks and Water

    Pregnancy requires more calories than normal, and you want to make sure you eat plenty while traveling.  If you have short flights, this isn’t as big of a problem, but if you have a long flight, you want to make sure you plan to snack.  These can be snacks you brought from home (I really like these protein bars) or snacks you buy on the plane.  Try to find snacks that incorporate some protein and aren’t just carbs. 

    You also don’t want to turn down an offer of water.  It may seem like a good way to not have to go to the bathroom so often, but you are more prone to dehydration while flying because there is less water in the air.  If you get dehydrated while pregnant, that can increase the risk of Braxton Hicks contractions and general discomfort.  I recommend purchasing a large bottle of water prior to boarding and then accept all offers for water while on the plane.  If you cringe at the price of airport water, you can bring an empty bottle and fill it at a water fountain.


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    4. Flying During Late Pregnancy

    Flying during the first and second trimesters isn’t too much of a problem.  However, things get a little more difficult during the third trimester.  Check with your doctor, but in general it’s okay to fly up until you reach 36 weeks.  However, the closer you get to that point, the more uncomfortable flying will become.  There are the obvious issues with feeling huge and being cramped in a tiny seat.  However, there is also the problem of catching your breath.  When flying you are at a high altitude which has less oxygen.  Therefore, it’s a little harder to breath for everyone.  Most people won’t notice, but when you are pregnant, it can be hard to catch your breath even at sea level.  When flying it becomes much more noticeable.  I continued to fly until 32 weeks, and the last couple of trips I took were really uncomfortable because I couldn’t catch my breath.

    5. Wearing Stylish Clothes

    It seems like travelers are either in the ‘leggings’ camp or the ‘must look good because everyone will see me’ camp.  When you are pregnant and flying, stick to leggings.  You don’t need uncomfortable pants pushing on your already uncomfortable belly and you don’t need nice shoes making your already sore feet worse.  The chances of seeing someone you know are quite slim, so travel in comfort.  If you have to go straight to a work function or other event where you need to look nice, bring a change of clothes in your carry-on to change into when you get off the plane.

    Get all my tips for what you should do while flying during pregnancy here.

    What mistakes have you made flying while pregnant?  Let me know in the comments.

    5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

    Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

    Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

    Once you book a flight, now what? When traveling with a baby you want to be as prepared as possible, so that everything goes smoothly. However, it’s easy to forget little (or major) details in the stress of it all. Use this list to make sure you don’t forget anything. Enter your email below to instantly get a printable version of the checklist for traveling with a baby.


    Trip Planning


    Rental Car/Airport Ride Big Enough to Hold All Luggage

    Babies require a lot of gear. Between the car seat, stroller and luggage you can easily fill a car.  Make sure you consider how much room you will need when booking a rental car or deciding who is picking you up from the airport.  I’ve found that the smallest rental cars often don’t have enough room for everything.  I’ve also learned to be careful about what size Uber/Lyft I request.  Sometimes the small cars, aren’t big enough if we are going on a long trip. 

    I’ve recently found that Supershuttle works well.  They have a lot more room for things like strollers than small cars do, and they are more affordable than getting a large Uber.  We used this when we went to visit family for 2.5 weeks over the holidays.  We knew that airport parking would cost a fortune for that long, but an Uber big enough for our luggage was extremely pricey.  The Supershuttle ended up being a very affordable option.  The only downside is that they want to make sure to get you to the airport on time, which can result in being really early if the airport is small.  For our trip, the latest our Supershuttle would pick us up got us to the airport an entire hour before the ticket counter even opened.

    jeep wrangler in a parking garage.

    Hotel Reservation

    When booking a hotel, consider things like, is there a free breakfast, are suites available, and how close is it to where you will be spending most of your time.  For other tips on staying in a hotel with a baby, check out this article.

    Sleeping arrangements confirmed

    Once you have your hotel reservation made, call and ask them to add a crib or pack-n-play to the reservation.  There usually isn’t a charge for this, but they can verify that they have one available and add a note to your reservation.  I had an issue on the one trip where I forgot to call ahead.  I saw online that the hotel had pack-n-plays available, so assumed that was sufficient.  However, we got in late and when I asked for the pack-n-play, the only person working didn’t have access to the room where they were stored.  I ended up putting my 4-month-old to sleep on the floor on a play mat.  I learned my lesson and have called ahead ever since.

    Fridge availability confirmed

    You also want to confirm if the room has a fridge.  This is essential if you will be pumping milk or your child is drinking whole milk.  However, it is really handy in general for keeping snacks cold.  If you need a fridge for milk storage, call the hotel ahead of time (ideally before you book a nonrefundable room) and make sure that the rooms either have a fridge or one can be put in there for you.  I’ve never found a hotel that wasn’t willing to work with me once I explain my situation.


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    Pet Care Organized

    When planning a family trip with a baby, your first babies (a.k.a. pets) can often get lost in the shuffle.  Good pet care can be hard to come by, so don’t leave this until the last minute.

    Maine Coon and domestic shorthair sitting on a cat tree.

    Trip Planned to Allow for Nap Times

    I have a really bad habit of filling our trips up with as many activities as possible.  However, I’ve learned that it makes for a miserable day for everyone if you don’t plan to allow for your little one to nap.  If you have a very young baby, a nap in the stroller or car seat is probably reasonable to expect.  However, older babies and toddlers often need more ideal napping conditions.  We have figured out how to make a tent for my son in the car, which helps him sleep.  Especially if we stop for lunch where he can fill up and then get milk to drink once we get on the road.  This mimics our nap time and bedtime routines, so it encourages a nap while we are driving.


    Airline Baggage Allowances Verified

    Most United States flights allow one large carry on and one small personal item for each ticketed passenger.  Most don’t count a diaper bag as a carry on (Southwest is the exception).  For Southwest, you can have 2 free checked bags per ticketed passenger, but other airlines charge for checked baggage.  In general, checked baggage must weigh less than 50 pounds, or the fees increase.  You can usually check a car seat and stroller free of charge.  Be cautious with budget airlines because many charge extra fees for large carry-on bags.  It’s important to check the baggage allowance for the specific airline you will be flying because there is so much variability.  You don’t want to arrive at the airport and find out you have too many bags or your bags weigh too much.  Here is the baggage allowance information for several major airlines:

    Delta

    United

    American

    Southwest

    Frontier

    Spirit

    Baby sitting on floor surrounded by luggage.

    Location and Hours for Nearest Superstore Determined

    When booking your hotel and getting everything organized for your trip, figure out what the nearest superstore is and what their hours are.  You will likely need to pick up milk or snacks and possibly other items that you decided to buy at your destination or forget in the hassle of packing.  Knowing exactly where to go pick up these items can make things a little less stressful.


    Want more great travel resources? The Smart Travel Bundle provides everything you need at a huge discount!
    Here's what you get in the bundle! Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

    Nurse Helpline Phone Number Stored in Phone

    Save this in your phone or write it down and bring it along.  Hopefully you won’t need it, but if your baby starts acting sick or has a fever you will want it.  Calling the nurse helpline can provide information about whether you need to find a doctor to take your baby to or if a little Motrin, hydration and some extra snuggles will do the trick.


    Airport Arrival Plan in Place

    When you head to the airport, is someone that isn’t going on the trip dropping you off?  Is the entire family taking the bus from long term parking to the terminal with all the baggage?  These are important things to consider, so that you can make the best plan for your situation.  When my husband, son and I travel, my husband drops Paxton and me off at the terminal with all the luggage I can manage.  He goes and parks while I check the baggage.  I then wait for him before going through security.  With the amount of stuff that we pack, this is much easier than trying to navigate the shuttle bus with everything.



    Before You Leave the House


    Packing List Completely Checked Off

    Lists are a mom’s best friend!  You can see my travel essentials here and grab my ultimate packing list here.  Make sure to check everything off before you leave.  I have had instances where I forgot to grab the sippy cup of milk from the fridge or other last-minute items.  They were on the list, but I didn’t want to pack them until right before leaving and I didn’t check the list.

    Packing list image.

    Carry-On Bags Packed to Facilitate TSA

    My packing list breaks down the items that go in the carry-on versus in a checked bag.  However, you still want to make sure that your carry-on organization works for TSA.  The biggest thing is with regards to liquids.  You can view all the details about liquids here, but in short, if it’s more than 3oz bottles in a quart-sized Ziploc, it needs to come out.  Therefore, I suggest putting all things that meet that criteria into a gallon Ziploc at the top of a bag.  That way it’s quick to pull everything out.


    Related Content

    Suitcases Weigh Less than Airline Maximum (usually 50 pounds)

    If you completed everything on the trip planning part of the checklist, you know what the maximum weight for checked bags is on your airline.  Once you have your bags completely packed, pull out the bathroom scale and get an idea of the weight.  Weigh yourself and then pick up the suitcase and weigh yourself while holding it.  The difference is the weight of the suitcase.  Make sure you have a couple pounds to spare because your scale may not align exactly with the airport’s scale.


    Flight Still On Time

    You don’t need to wait until you get to the airport to check your flight status.  I suggest double checking it prior to leaving the house using this app.  If there is a major delay, you can stay home a bit longer.  I also suggest signing up for your airline’s alerts.  You can usually set these up using the app for your airline.  This way you get text, email or phone call notifications of changes to your flight.  Get all my app recommendations here and here.

    Screenshot from the in flight app.

    Boarding Passes Printed

    Printing your boarding passes at home can take away a bit of stress once you get to the airport.  Many airlines also have the option to have your boarding pass on your phone.  The pro of this is that you don’t have to worry about losing a piece of paper.  However, if your phone battery is constantly on the verge of running out, then a paper copy may be a better option.  If you are traveling with a lap child, you will need to complete your check-in and get a boarding pass at the airport.  They will verify the child’s age and connect their boarding pass to yours.

    Hand holding a boarding pass by a diaper bag.

    Thermostat Adjusted

    If you are going on a long trip, adjust your thermostat so that you aren’t constantly running the heat or air.  This is a quick way to save a little bit of money on your electric bill.

    Thermostat with purple background.

    Use this quick checklist as you plan your trip and before walking out the door to make sure you don’t forget anything!  Enter your email address below to get instant access to my printable list!


    Despite this list, are you…

    • Still overwhelmed at the thought of all the details of planning a trip with a baby or toddler?
    • Afraid that you will forget a detail that makes your trip much more difficult?
    • nsure about what extra considerations are needed when traveling with kids?

    If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need my family travel planner!

    Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    When you are at home, you have everything organized just so to make caring for the baby as easy as possible.  However, when you hit the road, all bets are off.  Especially if you are flying, you end up at your destination with the bare minimum (which is still a lot), you may be in a different time zone and you are confined to one or two rooms with very thin walls.  All of these things add up to make staying in hotels with a baby a challenge. It often leaves parenting wondering how in the world do you manage staying in a hotel with a baby?

    Despite these challenges, I took my son and husband on 8 work trips during my son’s first year, and for all of these trips, we stayed in hotels.  Here’s what we’ve learned.


    Tips for Staying in a Hotel with a Baby for All Trips

    Get a Suite If at All Possible

    I know it’s often not in your budget to upgrade your room to a suite.  However, if you can swing it, a suite makes life a lot easier. If nothing else, it provides much needed space.  It never seems to matter how we pack or set up the room, it always looks like a bomb went off within 15 minutes of arriving, and never gets better.  A suite at least gives you the extra space to spread out. 

    Another benefit of a suite is providing your baby with a sleeping location further away from others in the room.  Especially if your baby is used to sleeping in his own room, sharing a small hotel room can make it difficult for anyone to get a good night’s sleep as you keep waking each other up.  Having a suite with a door dividing the two parts is the gold standard.  However, just having the room broken up into two areas helps a lot.  When you are traveling, you likely have full days planned, so it’s important for everyone to sleep well when you have the chance.

    Depending on where you are traveling to, it may be difficult to get a larger room. If you are heading to Disney, check out these options for large families which can also be used to give you more space with a baby.


    Request a Pack-n-Play Ahead of Time

    Hotels have cribs or pack n plays that you can request for your room.  This is what we always do because it’s one less thing we need to bring with us.  We do still bring out own sheet though.  However, we learned the hard way during our first trip that you have to call ahead and have them add a note to your reservation that you need a pack-n-play. 

    The first time we traveled with our son, we got to the hotel really late because of flight delays.  I knew that the hotel had pack-n-plays, so we didn’t bring one with us.  However, I hadn’t actually requested it prior to check-in.  Because we checked in so late, the only people there didn’t have access to the room where the pack-n-plays were stored.  Therefore, our son ended up sleeping on a blanket on the floor.  This was horribly stressful for me and I didn’t sleep a whole lot. 

    I have called ahead of time since, and never had a problem.  Sometimes the pack-n-play is already in the room when we arrive, and other times I have to remind them at check-in, but they always have someone that can bring it right up.


    Rearrange the Furniture

    The first thing you should do when you get to your hotel room is rearrange the furniture.  Hotel rooms are definitely not set up to be compatible to kids.  The furniture is also arranged in a way to take up about as much floor space as possible.  Start by condensing as much of the furniture as possible.  Push tables together, put chairs under tables, and squish the furniture in whatever way gives you the most space.

    Plan out your “stations” of the room.  You will want a play area, food station, changing station, sleeping station and storage area.  By thinking about these as you are organizing the room, you can maximize the flow of the space to make things a little easier.  Something to consider is where to put the pack-n-play.  Ideally you want the area that is the darkest and furthest from the rest of the family’s stuff.  If you can find a nice corner to tuck the pack n play into, that usually works best.  Ideally you want to be able to move around a little without waking up the baby.


    Bring a Sound Machine

    Whatever you can do to block out the noise of other people in your room and in the hallway is a plus.  I love this travel noise machine which we take with us on every trip.  We hang it on the side of the pack-n-play which helps keep our son in his own little world.  We also bring an extension cord in case we want to put the pack-n-play someplace that isn’t right by an outlet.  For everything else that I pack, check out my packing list.


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    Consider What Needs Childproofed

    If you have a young baby that isn’t mobile, this isn’t a big deal.  However, for an older baby, a hotel room is full of lots of new things to get into a play with.  Consider hiding cords, pushing things to the back of end tables, and put trashcans on top of tables so they are out of reach.  If your child happens to be into playing with outlets, it may not be a bad idea to travel with a bag of outlet covers to use in the hotel room.


    Verify There is a Fridge in your Room

    With a baby, there is almost always a reason why a fridge is useful.  Maybe you are pumping and need to store breast milk, maybe you have an older baby that’s drinking milk, or you just need to keep some snacks cold.  Most nice hotel rooms are going to have a fridge.  However, this isn’t an absolute.  If you are breastfeeding and need a place to store pumped milk, definitely call ahead and request that they put a fridge into the room if there isn’t already one.  Most hotels have at least a couple they can put in if a guest specifically needs it for health (or breastfeeding) reasons.

    Baby drinking a bottle on a pillow.

    Make Sure There is a Continental Breakfast

    A continental breakfast is helpful when you are trying to save money.  It’s a meal you can go eat in your PJs if you want, and it’s free.  If the hotel has a good breakfast, you can use it as a source of milk (if your baby is over a year) and even collect enough food to feed a toddler for most of the day.  Items like bananas, dry cereal, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs are all common items included in hotel breakfasts.

    Baby eating off a spoon at public location.

    Request a First-Floor Room

    We don’t always do this, but it can be helpful.  Having a first-floor room means you don’t have to drag baby and all the stuff that comes with said baby up and down the stairs or elevator.  This little detail can be helpful when you are tired after a long day.


    Consider a King-Sized Bed

    If you don’t have a reason you specifically need two beds, opt for a King room.  The single king bed gives you a little more floor space, and when traveling with a baby, every little bit counts.

    Baby sleeping on pillow.

    Bring Swimming Stuff

    When traveling, it’s really easy to go an entire day with very little time where your baby actually gets to work out some energy.  This can make for a cranky child that doesn’t want to sleep.  If the hotel has a pool, this can be a great way to tire out your baby.  Bring a swimsuit and a swim diaper or two as well as swimming stuff for you.  If baby seems like he needs to work out some energy, you can hit the pool for a little bit at some point during the day.  This isn’t something most babies get to do on a regular basis, so it doesn’t take much to tire them out.

    baby swimming outside

    Be Strict with the Bedtime Routine for Everyone

    You may want to put baby to bed before you go to bed, and I bet you have a perfect bedtime routine that you plan to use in the hotel as well.  However, don’t forget to adapt your bedtime routine to suit baby’s.  This means getting yourself organized so that you know where everything you need is and don’t need to turn on lights outside the bathroom after you put your baby to bed.  The last thing you want is to just get your baby to sleep and then realize you can’t find something and end up waking baby up looking for it.


    Want more great travel resources? The Smart Travel Bundle provides everything you need at a huge discount!
    Here's what you get in the bundle! How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    Set the Air Conditioner Fan to Run Constantly

    This can provide some background noise to cancel out the noise from other hotel guests (and you).  You just need to make sure the temperature is set appropriately.  Most hotels have an option where you can set the temperature, but also set the fan to run consistently to cycle room temperature air.


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    Plan for Nighttime Crying

    No one likes to be the room that’s so loud it’s waking up everyone on the floor, and a crying baby can certainly do that.  However, there’s a big difference between being loud because your baby is crying and being loud because you are up partying and just generally be obnoxious. 

    If your baby wakes up crying during the night, handle it similarly to how you would at home.  The only exception may be if you usually let your baby cry it out for an extended period at home, consider putting a shorter limit on it after a certain time at night.  Just remember that the majority of the people in the hotel are going to have kids, so they know what it’s like when your baby won’t sleep.  Do your best and know that rough nights may be part of traveling, especially if there are major time changes involved.   This is why you set up your room to make it as easy as possible to find a bottle and necessary supplies quickly in the dark.


    Tips for Staying in a Hotel with a Baby for Long Trips

    Consider Renting Baby Equipment

    You don’t appreciate things like a jumperoo or baby swing until you are stuck in a hotel room without them.  Renting baby equipment can be just the solution to have these items while traveling.  I’ve never personally renting baby equipment, but I’ve heard many positive reviews from moms that have.  You can check out a couple of different companies here and here.


    Splurge for a Kitchenette

    When you travel with a baby, you will find yourself washing bottles and sippy cups.  If the only place you have to wash these is in the bathroom sink, it gets old real fast.  Having a kitchenette gives you an extra sink and a place to spread out things you’ve wash while they dry. 

    Food when you travel can get expensive quickly, especially when you are feeding the whole family. You can also save a lot enough money by preparing some meals in the room, that it balances out the cost of getting the room in the first place.  Also, meals out with a cranky and tired baby/toddler are draining.  After a long day, it can be nice to just eat in your room.  I do like ordering a pizza once in a while, but I don’t want to rely on that every night I’m too exhausted to go out.


    Pack Everything

    When you are only gone for a couple of days, you can survive the stress of not having something.  However, for longer trips, it can get rough if you find you didn’t bring something because you weren’t sure if you really needed it.  Grab my Ultimate Packing List and my list of travel essentials.

    Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.

    Final Thoughts

    Staying in hotels is definitely not as easy as staying home.  However, travel may be necessary for work and the rewards of traveling as a family can be great.  If you follow these tips and take everything in stride, you will soon become a pro at staying in a hotel with your baby. You will get better at it the more you do it.

    To make sure you don’t forget everything when leaving home, make sure to download my checklist here.

    Are you going to be flying to your destination?  If so, you will definitely want to check out these articles.

    Is the sheer amount of information overwhelming as you are planning a trip with kids? My family travel planner is designed to help you plan every detail no matter how major or minor. This step by step planner takes into account the unique aspects of traveling with kids, to address all your needs.

    How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    Have you stayed in a hotel with your baby?  If so, what did you do to make it easier?  Let me know in the comments.

    How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    20 Mom Tweets We Can All Relate To

    20 Mom Tweets We Can All Relate To
    20 Mom Tweets We Can All Relate To

    Mom life is tough, so we take to Twitter to remind each other that there is no such thing as a perfect mom, and we are just trying to get through the comical stages of motherhood as best we can. If we don’t laugh, we just might cry, so for your reading entertainment, I bring you the top 20 tweets about mom life.


    When you can’t stop asking yourself ‘why?’

    https://twitter.com/MelissaBeagley/status/1103777772655144960


    When you realize the line between children and pets is pretty thin


    Technology you have betrayed me!


    Sorry, you have to work for at least 10 years before you accumulate personnal time.


    Going to the bathroom alone is definitely a luxury!


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    It all starts with a late period and you are never on time for anything ever again.


    All moms are superheros


    Did we forget to mention this job is 24/7 with no holidays?


    These are important questions!


    Who has the time or energy to style her hair?


    Having kids makes a messy house slightly more acceptable than a messy house with no children.


    You will never feel fully rested again!


    If you think you are done with laundry, you are just forgetting a pile.


    No one ever said the tiny dictators were rationale.


    I will never take silence for granted again!


    On the bright side, you don’t have to splurge on razor blades so often.


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    Someone in the house needs to eat all the healthy food I bought.


    Who knew someone so tiny could transport so many germs.


    Once you get pregnant once, the leaking never stops.


    But despite all that, you wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything!

    Were those tweets entertaining? Follow me on Twitter where I try to be funny once in a while but also retweet others that are much funnier than me for your daily entertainment!

    As much as we enjoy hearing stories about the crazy things toddlers do, you eventually need to tame the tantrums. Once you finish telling everyone on Twitter about it, grab these awesome tips for taming the tantrums.

    20 Mom Tweets We Can All Relate To

    How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

    How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

    Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

    When flying with a baby there is a lot to juggle from what to pack to what to wear and how to keep everyone safe and happy from origin to destination.  When traveling by car you have some flexibility in rest stops and breaks.  However, air travel leaves you at the mercy of your flight schedule and the flying tin can you are trapped in for a set amount of time. 

    I flew with my son on 10 round-trip flights during his first year starting as early as 4 months old.  I was a total novice when I started, but after that many trips, we’ve gotten pretty good at it if I do say so myself.  The following sections cover everything you could ever want to know.  So, read on to learn all the tips and tricks for flying with a baby.

    FREE Packing List for Flying with a Baby

    Get my ultimate packing list delivered straight to your inbox. I’ve refined it over many trips, so you can benefit from what I’ve learned.

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      Planning Your Trip

      The following tips cover all your planning considerations regarding air travel. However, to simplify your planning for the entire trip from start to finish, make sure to grab my family travel planner!

      Gear and Must-Haves for Flying with a Baby

      Babies have a lot of stuff at home.  Trying to decide what to bring, what to live without and what to purchase at your destination can leave any new parent paralyzed.  I like flying and the concept of doing so with a 4-month old didn’t bother me.  However, when I started thinking about everything that had to get packed, that’s when the stress became real. 

      If you have a travel partner, you can bring twice as much stuff because there are two of you to carry it.  However, if you are traveling alone, then you need to minimize the amount you bring as much as possible because you also have to transport your tiny human in addition to all the luggage.  I highly recommend taking your partner with you because there are so many benefits to traveling together in addition to extra hands for carrying things. If you need some perks to convince your partner, check out this post.

      Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.

      I find it’s generally more cost-effective to bring everything with you from home.  I also tend to have my trips so booked that dragging myself and the baby to a store when I arrive is not high on my priority list.  However, if you are traveling alone, you might be better off purchasing things like diapers, wipes and formula/baby food once you get to your destination.  If you do this, you can donate anything you don’t use to a local church before returning home. 


      Renting Baby Items

      Most major cities also have options for renting baby items.  These things can include cribs, high chairs, strollers, car seats, baby swings, and other large items.  You can check out a couple of these companies here and here. I’ve never used these services myself; however, I’ve heard positive reviews from moms that have done this.  Renting items can be a great option if you are staying somewhere for an extended period and want the comforts of home or if you are staying at an Airbnb that doesn’t provide a crib. 


      Sleeping Items for Traveling with a Baby

      If you are staying a hotel, they will generally have a pack-n-play or crib available that can be placed in your room.  To utilize this option, call the hotel prior to your trip to verify they have one available and ask them to add it to your reservation.  On our first trip with my son, I assumed the hotel would have a pack-n-play but forgot to call ahead and have it added to the reservation. Our flight arrived late at night and the hotel was being staffed by overnight staff with limited knowledge.  The only people there didn’t have access to the locked room where the cribs were stored.  My son ended up sleeping on a blanket on the floor and I was terrified all night.  Hotels will provide sheets, but I recommend carrying your own regular sized pack-n-play sheet with you.  Even if the hotel has an actual crib it’s usually about the size of a pack-n-play.  For other travel essentials, check out this A to Z list.

      If you have your own pack-n-play, you could bring it with you and check it.  Some airlines may let you check it for free because it’s a baby item.  We have a pack-n-play, but I’ve never traveled with it because reserving a crib at hotels works well (when I remember to call in advance). Here are some other great tips for staying in a hotel with a baby.

      Another sleeping item I always bring is a travel noise machine.  My son is used to sleeping with a noise machine at home, but he isn’t used to sleeping in the same room as other people.  At home, he sleeps in his own room with the door closed.  Therefore, the noise machine while traveling not only helps him feel more at home, it blocks out some of the noise of us moving around and just being in the same room.  We usually hang it on the corner of the crib/pack-n-play and plug it in.  To that end, I also always bring an extension cord in case an outlet isn’t conveniently located.


      Other Travel Items to Have When Flying With a Baby

      I have an entire drawer in my son’s closet designated for storing items that we only include when traveling.  These items include:

      The noise-canceling earmuffs are perfect if you are going to be somewhere noisy during your trip.  We got them specifically for a wedding reception we were traveling to because we knew it would be loud.  However, they were great when my son was really little while we were in busy airports.  I often found that until he was around 6-months-old he would get overstimulated by everything going on in the airport.  The earmuffs were perfect to help him block out the chaos and get some sleep or at least decompress.

      Mom and baby on a plane with baby sleeping while wearing noise-canceling headphones.

      Baby headphones are handy as a last resort for when we need to utilize movies for entertainment.  We have these from Amazon which have a max volume and are designed for kids.  We generally don’t use them, but it’s a comfort knowing that we have them.

      Our medicine bag includes baby Motrin, baby Benadryl, a syringe for dosing the medications, a thermometer, and baby nail clippers.  This is a little pack that I keep packed so I just have to toss it in the suitcase when we travel.  If I’m lucky, we won’t need any of these items, but if you need it you will be glad you have it.  The first time my son got sick was while we were on a trip to Denver.  Having a sick baby is always stressful, especially when you are first-time parents and your baby has never had a fever before.  I was glad we had a thermometer and Motrin with us.

      The portable, rechargeable fan is actually one we got for my hospital bag (you can see everything I packed for the hospital here.)  Now it goes on every trip.  This is another item that doesn’t always get used, but when I need it, I’m sure glad I have it.  Some airplanes are freezing cold and others are sweltering hot, and the outside temperature doesn’t necessarily give a clue as to which way the plane temperature will fall.  If you have ever been stuck in a hot plane with a baby on your lap, you will understand why I always carry a fan.  This fan keeps me from ending up with a baby that’s super cranky from being too hot.

      Baby and mom on an airplane with a portable fan.

      Travel wipes, travel baby shampoo, and travel baby laundry detergent are all pretty self-explanatory.  You can buy these items already in travel sizes or to save money, you could buy reusable travel containers for each and fill them from your stock at home.  For the travel wipes, I usually pack some in my diaper bag as well as an extra pack in the suitcase for the return trip.

      The travel dish soap and the bottle brush are helpful for the bottle situation you will need to manage if your baby receives any milk from a bottle.  We always wash bottles at home in the dishwasher.  However, at hotels, we soak them in the bathroom sink and use the bottle brush to make sure they get scrubbed well.  Before my son traveled for the first time, I traveled alone for work.  I was breastfeeding at the time, so I had pump parts to wash frequently.  It never occurred to me to take dish soap which meant I was washing pump parts using hotel hand soap which was somewhat difficult.  I made sure to always have dish soap and a brush with me after that!


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      You will definitely want to get gate check bags for your car seat and stroller.  Think about it, these items end up under the plane where there are dirt and grease and who knows what else.  Then your baby sits in them and possibly licks/chews on them.  Gate check bags have carrying handles and protect these items.  When not in use they fold down into their own little pouches.  We have this car seat one and this stroller one which fits our big jogging stroller.

      A travel highchair is something that we didn’t get until around the time my son was 10-months-old. In hindsight, I can’t believe it took us so long to realize we needed such a thing.  We have this chair which makes life so much easier because it attaches to the desk or table that is available in hotel rooms.  Prior to having this we were propping Paxton up in the big hotel chairs and trying to feed him.  Baby food is messy when the baby is strapped in.  A baby that’s loose results in a huge mess that you are desperately trying to clean up so that the cleaning service doesn’t think there was a pea and plum puree explosion. If your baby sits in a high chair at home, just save your sanity and get a travel one.

      In the video below, I go through my drawer of travel items and discuss each one.

      MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY

      If you are struggling to figure out how to fit everything, this post has some great tips about packing organization!


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      Checklists for Flying with a Baby

      I just covered a ton of info about travel-specific items you need, but what about all the everyday items you use at home that also need to come?  You are also a parent, so I will wager that you are running on some level of sleep deprivation.  I’m sure you’ve figured it out, but just in case here it is again – Don’t rely on your memory to serve you well.  If you want to remember something you need to write it down (and remember where you wrote it).  I have mom-memory so bad some days that I open an internet tab and promptly forget why I opened it, so no judgment here!

      Sticking with the theme, here’s a list of all the lists I suggest making. You can also grab my trip planning checklist here. That’s one less list you have to make!

      • Items to pack in Baby’s checked suitcase
      • Items to pack in your checked suitcase
      • Items to pack in the diaper bag
      • Items to pack in a roller bag carry on
      • Items to pack in your purse/tote bag/backpack
      • Things to do prior to your trip (adjust the thermostat, arrange pet care, house sitting, etc.)
      How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

      Technology for Creating Lists

      I use a combination of OneNote and Wunderlist for my checklists.  I like both of these because I can access my lists on both my laptop and my cell phone.  OneNote is nice because you can make a notebook and save pages to it.  I have a notebook for Paxton’s packing lists and one for my packing lists.  Within each of these notebooks, I have sections for carry-on items and checked bag items.  Within the sections, I have a page for each trip, and I label it by the trip.  Therefore, when I’m getting ready for a trip, I can copy the list from a similar trip as a starting point for my packing list.  It makes the process way faster.  I make my lists with checkboxes; however, the process of opening the various lists and checking off items is a little cumbersome on my phone. 

      I use Wunderlist for more to-do list type things.  This is where I would put the list of things I need to do before leaving.  The benefit of Wunderlist is that you can choose to share each individual list with other people.  My husband and I have a variety of shared lists. 

      Recently we were taking a trip where I was going a few days ahead of my husband and son.  I made my OneNote packing lists and packed everything for Paxton that I could pack a few days ahead of time.  I then made Wunderlists for the remaining items and shared those with my husband.  He can edit and check things off and I can edit and see what has been checked off.


      What to Pack for Flying with a Baby

      As you stand at home and look around at all the baby’s things spread throughout the house, you start to wonder, ‘what needs to go with me for the trip and what can I live without? When trying to decide what to take, think through everything you will be doing during your trip.  You can even go so far as to writing out the schedule for each day you will be gone.  On this schedule write down the expected weather for each day.  Once you know what you will be doing and what type of weather you will have, it gets easier to see what you really need. With regards to how to pack it, here are my tips.

      Packing Tip #1

      Have a suitcase dedicated to your baby.  If you aren’t going to fill it completely, you can pack someone else’s things into a duffle bag and put that into the suitcase as well.  The reason why you want a dedicated baby suitcase is that you will have a lot of small items that are really easy to lose amongst your things.  Having a dedicated suitcase for them helps with finding things

      Packing Tip #2

      Pack outfits or types of clothes into gallon Ziplock bags.  Gallon bags are perfect for containing baby clothes.  One option is to put together complete outfits and put each outfit along with a diaper into a separate bag.  That way when you dress your baby you just need to grab a bag and you’ll have everything you need.  However, an alternative is to have a bag for each type of clothing.  For example, a bag of pants, a bag of short sleeves, etc.  Once you unpack these bags, they can be repurposed for clothing options on future trips or for dirty diapers that you can’t easily throw away.

      Packing Tip #3

      Weigh your suitcase before leaving home.  The maximum suitcase weight for most airlines before you have to pay extra is 50 pounds.  For larger suitcases, it’s easy to pack them to the point where they weigh more than 50 pounds.  Also, when you are packing things that are heavy like liquid formula, you can quickly go over the weight.  Trying to juggle everything and repack at the airport is stressful!  By weighing your suitcase at home, you can do your adjustments there.  I use a scale and weigh myself then weigh myself holding the suitcase.  It’s not 100% exact, but it gives a pretty good idea where I’m at.

      Packing Tip #4

      For a full list of everything I suggest packing, grab my packing list here.  This is the list that I put together and have continued to modify with each trip we took.


      Carry-On or Checked Bag

      I suggest planning to carry on a lot more items than you will likely need.  For example, diapers, wipes, and formula are things you really don’t want to run out of.  You can plan for the expected duration of travel; however, flight delays can leave you stuck in airports way longer than anticipated.  On the converse, I also try to pack everything I’m sure I won’t need during travel into a checked bag.  I have plenty of items to lug through an airport that I actually may need, so if I’m sure I won’t need it, it gets checked.

      open diaper bag and boarding pass

      What to Wear When Flying with a Baby

      Deciding what to wear while traveling can be tricky especially when you are starting out in one type of climate and traveling to a very different one.  My suggestion is to dress everyone in layers.  I travel in leggings or workout capris and a tunic shirt.  I also put a sweatshirt or light jacket in my carry on.  This is generally regardless of the outside weather.  I dress my son in pants or shorts depending on the temperature, socks, and a short-sleeved shirt and bring a sweatshirt for him.  I tried putting him in footed one-piece PJs for a trip, but I found that he got too hot and the only option was to completely undress him. 

      You also want to make sure that you bring an extra set of clothes for you and two for your baby. Spit-up happens, especially if a plan gets bumpy. It’s definitely a good idea to have backup clothing for everyone so that you don’t spend the rest of the trip smelling faintly of sour milk.


      At the Airport

      Baby Identification Needed for Flying

      You know that you need an ID, but your baby doesn’t technically need one.  However, if traveling as a lap child, then proof of age is likely going to be required by the airline.  Also, if someone other than the parents or legal guardians are traveling with your baby, then you will also want to send a notarized letter with them indicating that both parents approve the travel.  If your baby will be traveling to another country, then you will need to get a passport.  We got Paxton a passport so that he could go on a trip to Canada with us.  However, we also opted for the passport card in addition to the book.  The passport card doesn’t work for air travel to a foreign country, but it’s the size of a credit card, so it makes a perfect form of age proof to keep in my wallet.  The alternative would be bringing his birth certificate along on trips to prove that he’s under two.  Proof of age is generally required even if your baby is obviously a newborn.

      Getting a passport for your baby doesn’t have to be difficult.  You will need a photo, but some of the requirements are relaxed.  For example, the mouth can be slightly open whereas for adults it has to be closed.  You will still need to meet the requirements regarding a white background and no shadows on the face.  I found this hard to do at home, but they were able to quickly get a picture at Costco for us to submit with his passport application.  No other people are allowed to be in the photo, but Paxton was too little to sit on his own.  Therefore, I sat off to the side with him on my knees.  That way they could take the photo from his shoulders and up without me in the picture.


      Flying with a Stroller

      Strollers can be checked as bagged for free or they can be gate checked right before you board the plane.  We have always traveled with a large jogging stroller that our infant car seat snapped into.  This served as transport for kid, stuff and car seat.  However, now that my son has a convertible car seat and a cart that it straps to, we will be leaving the stroller at home or checking it at the ticket counter depending on our trip plans.  If you have a convertible car seat, this cart is a must-have to turn your car seat into a stroller.

      Here are some of the best travel stollers.

      Baby in car seat sitting on a wheeled cart

      Navigating TSA With a Baby

      When you go through security, everything that can fit through the scanner must go through the scanner.  Car seat goes on the belt upside down.  Therefore, make sure to remove toys and pacifiers that may be attached.  Your carry-on bags will all go through the scanner as well.  However, you will need to remove any baby-related liquids and put on the belt separately.  I recommend having all formula, water, breast milk, etc. contained in a Ziplock bag so it’s easy to pull out of your carry-on.  If your stroller is an umbrella stroller, it will easily fit through the scanner.  However, jogging strollers are less likely to fit.  In almost all cases I just tell the TSA agent that it doesn’t fit on the belt and they will swipe it with wipes designed to test for bomb residue and then give it back.  However, in the Denver airport, they insisted that our stroller would fit and that we had to remove the wheels so it could go through the scanner.  We told them it doesn’t fit, but the TSA agent insisted.  Long story short, it got stuck, and the line was held up for a bit while they figured out how to get it unstuck.

      Your baby needs to be removed from the car seat or stroller for security.  However, you can usually wear your baby in a soft carrier or wrap.  I say usually because there always seems to be an exception to the TSA norm, so I don’t want to say that this is always allowed.


      Flying with Formula and Breast Milk

      The limits to liquids that can be carried through security do not apply to baby liquids.  These things include formula, breast milk, water, milk, juice, and baby food.  However, you will need to remove these liquids from your bag for separate screening.  If the packaging has a clear spot, they can put it into a machine which will quickly scan the bottle and you will be on your way.  If the bottle doesn’t have a clear spot (i.e. Similac 8oz liquid formula bottles), things get a little more difficult.  Sometimes they look at the bottle and send me on my way with no questions asked.  However, other times agents will insist that they either have to open the bottle (which means the formula must be finished within 2 hours) or do a full body patdown.  Which one of these things happens is anyone’s guess, and different days at the same airport can have different responses.  After many trips and much confusion about the varying responses, I finally heard a supervisor say that because we have TSA Precheck, they can let us through. 

      Having TSA Precheck is definitely worth it regardless of whether you will be traveling with the questionable formula bottles.  When you have Precheck, you don’t have to remove liquids that are under the limit (i.e. your bathroom items), laptops, tablets, shoes or light jackets.  By not having to remove any of these items you are drastically simplifying the security process, and anyway you can simplify it with a baby is a must.

      When trying to decide how long to allow for security when planning your trip, expect having a baby to add 5 minutes.  Otherwise, the time you are there is spent waiting in line.  This app is great for telling you how busy TSA is expected to be at your airport and travel time.  For more great travel apps, check out my recommendations here and here.


      Breastfeeding when Flying with a Baby

      Breastfeeding may be helpful when traveling.  It means you don’t have to carry formula (or at least not as much), and you always have food handy.  However, there are difficulties such as finding a place to nurse.  Also, my son was happy to drink a bottle on the plane but didn’t like nursing on the plane which made it challenging.  If you are breastfeeding, you need to download the Mamava app.  This app tells you where Mamava nursing/pumping pods are located in airports, and many airports have them.  However, it also tells you about other nursing locations.  Nursing pods and rooms are often tucked into corners, so it’s great that it says exactly which gates you will find them by.


      Boarding an Airplane with a Baby

      Airlines have family boarding which is usually somewhere near the start of the boarding process.  This is where you can get on early to get everything stowed and get situated in your seats.  However, being one of the first people on the plane with a baby may not be the best option.  Sometimes it’s nice to get a seat early, but then you are sitting there for 30 or more minutes without moving while everyone else boards.  A better option may be to have someone you are traveling with board during the family boarding with all the stuff while you and baby stay out until the last minute. 

      Make sure you plan your boarding strategy ahead of time.  Once your boarding pass is scanned, you must continue boarding at that time before they will board any other passengers.  If you are flying with a lap child, that child is attached to someone’s boarding pass.  That person is not allowed to board without the child.  Therefore, make sure the person staying behind with the child is the one whose boarding pass the baby is connected to.  In my experience they default to connecting the lap child with mom. If you want a specific person, it’s best to request that when getting your boarding passes.


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      Here's what you get in the bundle! How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

      Gate Checking Baby Items

      Gate checking refers to getting a bag tag once you are already at the gate.  This is often done by airlines when they are expecting there to be more large carry-ons than they have overhead bin space for.  In these cases, you get your carry-on bag at baggage claim at your final destination.  However, when talking about baby items, you can claim them at the gate.  You will always need to gate check your stroller if you didn’t check it at the ticket counter.  If your child has a seat on the plane, you can take your car seat on as long as it’s FAA approved.  If your child doesn’t have a seat, you will need to gate check it.  To do this, just stop by the counter at your gate and indicate that you need tags for your stroller and car seat.  The agent needs to actually be the person to attach the bag tags.  If you have gate check bags, you can just bring up the bags for tagging.  However, if you don’t you will need to bring the actual items up.  You will carry the gate checked items until right before the plane door or you reach an area designated for gate check items.  You will pick up the items as soon as you enter the jet bridge when getting off the plane.

      Man with purple stroller bag on his back
      My husband with our stroller gate check bag which turns the jogging stroller into a back pack.

      Flying with a Baby on Southwest

      Southwest is probably best known for their free bags and unconventional seating assignment process that’s first come, first serve.  However, there are also some differences as they pertain to lap children.  On most airlines, diaper bags are considered as ‘other medical equipment’ which means that they don’t count as one of your allowed carry-on bags. However, on Southwest, they do count it as a carry-on.  When we traveled for Christmas, we had so much luggage that we needed to maximize our carry-on allowance.  My first flight allowed the diaper bag in addition to the other carry-on luggage, but the second flight wouldn’t let me down the aisle until I checked one of the bags.  That was definitely way more stress than this mama needed.

      While the diaper bag being a carry-on may be a downside if you are trying to maximize your carry-on allowance, there are perks to flying Southwest with a lap child.  On Southwest, they have an open seating policy.  This means that if there is an open seat you can take it.  If the flight is not completely full, they will let you take on the car seat and claim a seat for your baby.  I’d say about 50% of the time we get lucky and there is an extra seat we can use.  To find out, stop by the gate as soon as there is an agent at the counter.  Ask if your flight is 100% full or if you can take a car seat on for your lap child.   If you are taking a car seat on, then you need to put it in a window seat.

      Southwest wing view from an airplane window

      On the Plane

      Rules for Flying with a Baby

      When flying with a child that is less than two years old at the time of the flight, you can forgo purchasing a seat and in exchange have the child travel as a lap child.  This means that you are committing to holding the child on your lap throughout the flight.  This provides a more affordable option for traveling with a child that may want to spend a majority of the time on your lap anyway. 

      If your family has multiple young children, you will need to either sit in different rows or have a seat purchased for one of them.  The reason is that they can’t have more people in a row than what there are oxygen masks.  Each row has one more oxygen mask than there are seats which allows for one lap child. However, additional lap children would leave someone without a mask.  I’ve seen it work well for families with two under two and two adults to purchase a seat for the older child and then have the younger as a lap child which allows them to occupy an entire 3-seat row. 

      Baby wearing can be a great way to go through security and the airport and board the plane because it keeps your hands free.  However, you must unstrap the baby prior to takeoff and landing.  You are welcome to use the carrier during the flight when tray tables are allowed to be down.  I’m not exactly sure why this is a rule because it seems like having a baby strapped to you would be better than just holding them.  I think it has to do with the regulations and the fact that baby-wearing devices aren’t labeled as flight-safe.

      For airline-specific policies, check out these links.


      Lap Child Safety

      The safest option for your child is their own seat with the car seat.  Major car seat brands are approved for use on airplanes by the FAA.  When placed in the seat closest to the window and strapped in similarly to how you would in a car, a car seat provides a safe place for your child.  However, if you don’t have a seat for your child, you want to be holding your child securely during takeoff, landing and any turbulence. 

      To make it more affordable to purchase a seat, airlines often have discounted fares for children under 2.  These fares are usually a fraction of the regular ticket price, but you will need to call the airline to find out the exact fare and book it in most cases.


      Flying with a Car Seat

      To install a car seat in an airplane, you will follow the directions for your car seat as if installing it in a car by using the lap belt.  If you have an infant car seat, the base is not necessary.  You will use the airplane seat belt to secure the seat.  If the seat belt is not long enough, airlines can provide a seat belt extender.  Just ask a flight attendant to get you one.  You may be required to show that the car seat is FAA approved.  This can be verified by looking for a label on the side of the seat.


      Flying with a Baby During Flu Season

      One of the risks for anyone flying regardless of age is getting sick.  When you fly, you’re contained in a small area with a lot of people and recirculated air.  Therefore, respiratory viruses can spread quickly.  When your baby is too little to vaccinate, your best bet is to stay home.  However, if that is not an option, then utilize the following precautions.

      Tip #1

      Utilize a car seat cover or canopy to keep baby protected from nearby people that may be coughing or sneezing

      Tip #2

      Don’t allow other people (besides those you are traveling with) to touch or hold your baby or get their face close to the baby’s.

      Tip #3

      Keep sanitizer handy and use it often for your hands.

      Tip #4

      Keep baby off of airport and airplane floors as much as possible. If your baby isn’t mobile yet, put a blanket down prior to setting the baby down.


      Preventing Ear Pain when Flying with a Baby

      Popping ears can be uncomfortable for adults and kids alike. However, as adults, we know that it’s temporary, but a baby doesn’t understand that.  For babies and children, the following tips can be helpful to lessen the discomfort.

      Tip #1

      Engage in a motion that moves the jaw.  This includes chewing and nursing.  You want to start this prior to takeoff and again about 30 minutes prior to landing.  When landing ears popping can sneak up on people because it’s usually the worst when the plane first starts it’s decent.

      Tip #2

      Utilize a pacifier as the sucking motion helps prevent ears from popping.

      Tip #3

      If your child is at least a year old, try these which are designed to help your child’s ears.  My son is good as long as he has a pacifier, so I haven’t tried this product myself, but it’s an option if you are desperate for a solution.


      Getting Your Baby to Sleep On a Plane

      Getting your child to sleep on a plane is usually the best-case scenario.  However, this is sometimes easier said than done.  One idea is to book your flight based on the time that your child is likely to be sleeping.  However, I’ve found that this usually doesn’t work as well as you might think because children, even great sleepers, can get so interested in what’s going on around them that nap time goes out the window. You are better off picking the best flight based on cost, travel time, etc. 

      Once on the plane, you can try to maximize the potential for sleeping.  I always carry a thin blanket in my diaper bag.  When we travel, I do our nap time routine by providing milk and a pacifier.  Then I put my son in his car seat (if he has his own seat), close the window shade and use the blanket to make a tent.  This darkens his area and helps keep distractions at bay.  Once the plane gets moving there is also a good amount of white noise that lulls my son right to sleep.

      How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

      If your child is a lap child, a young baby is likely to sleep in your arms.  However, once my son got older, we started bringing an adult pillow with us.  This pillow gets placed on my lap and then my son can stretch out in his preferred position to sleep.  This saved us when our flight home after the holidays was full and my son was super sleep-deprived and cranky from a busy couple of weeks with relatives.

      The Infant Airport Sling is what I considered getting the first time we flew with my son.  However, the size limitations made it seem like he would grow out of it quickly and I just wasn’t convinced of its safety. There are also a lot of options for toddlers, but I wouldn’t use them for a baby. 

      If you have a long flight, you can contact the airline and see if you can get a bassinet for baby’s seat.  I haven’t done this, but if I was flying internationally, I would have looked into it.  I’ve heard they only have them available sometimes, so you have to specifically call and request it.


      Toys for Flying with a Baby

      Once your baby is older enough to start getting bored, entertainment becomes an issue.  The ideal airplane entertainment is quiet, clean, new to your child, not messy, doesn’t involve little pieces that will be rolling around everywhere.  A few things that I always keep on hand include a stuffed animal, favorite book, headphones for movies, a couple of favorite toys, and tiny stickers.  The tiny stickers are great because we don’t use them at home.  When I need to entertain my son, I stick a couple of little stickers to his nails or hands and then he is entertained for quite a while trying to figure out how to remove them. Once he figures out how to take them off and stick them to other things, this may not work as well.  My son is still at the stage where everything ends up in his mouth.  Therefore, activities like coloring aren’t great options.  Once he does start to enjoy coloring, paper and crayons that aren’t round will be part of my entertainment arsenal. 

      For a bunch of other ideas to keep your baby or toddler entertained on the plane, check out these airplane activities for toddlers.


      Food Options when Flying with a Baby

      Babies can get hangry fast!  If you are breastfeeding, then that is a convenient source of food.  However, if you aren’t you will need to plan your strategy.  Breastfeeding didn’t work out all that well for us, so we were in the formula camp.  My son could also go from fine to hangry in about 2 seconds, so we had to have food ready for a quick draw. 


      How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

      Flying with Formula

      For babies that are drinking formula, here are my tips to make that as easy as possible.

      Tip #1

      Utilize ready to drink liquid formula and travel bottles designed to have nipple screwed directly onto the bottle.  You just have to shake, attach the nipple and hand to your baby.  These bottles come in 2oz and 8oz options.  The 2oz ones were perfect up through about 6 months.  However, after that, he chugged them too quickly and it wasn’t practical from a cost or packing perspective to have him going through 3 to 4 per meal.  At that point, we switched to the 8oz ones.  However, he didn’t like the slow flow of the nipples that fit onto the bottles.  Therefore, we ended up pouring the liquid into his bottle.

      Tip #2

      Get formula powder packets.  You can buy packets of formula powder, and each packet contains enough formula powder to make a 4oz bottle.  These are much more convenient when traveling compared to taking an entire container of formula and having to measure out a certain amount.  They aren’t quite as easy as the liquid, but they are less expensive, small and lightweight.

      Tip #3

      Utilize a mix of the above.  When we fly, we take a few of the packets for when we need formula but aren’t in a huge hurry.  We also take a couple of bottles of liquid for quick access to food.  We pack a can of formula in the suitcase to use while we are at our destination as it is the most cost-effective option.


      Flying with Baby Food

      Once your baby is able to start eating finger foods, travel snacks become way easier.  We travel with animal crackers, cheerios, graham crackers (see my hack for storing these here), and applesauce cups (we bring a tack-n-toss baby spoon).  I love using these and these snack containers! Baby food pouches have potential, but for us, they just ended up being more mess than they were worth.  You can also buy food at the airport.  There are lots of places that will have bananas for sale which is a lot easier than trying to keep a banana good while traveling. 


      Flying with Milk

      You can also buy milk.  The best way to find milk is to find a place that has breakfast cereal.  The alternative to this is to keep milk from home cold or bring boxed milk that doesn’t need to be in the fridge.  We have decided it’s just easiest to purchase it as needed at airports.  Most flights won’t have milk on board, so don’t count on being able to get some in the air.


      Other Helpful Tips for Flying with a Baby

      For ideas on how to handle long layovers or flight delays when traveling with a baby, check out this article.

      You can also find more information for flying with a baby here.


      Final Thoughts

      Wow – that was a lot of information!  It’s really amazing everything you learn when flying with a baby. Almost everything above is information that I’ve learned through experience or by asking questions. When you travel with a little one, try not to get flustered, ask questions, and leave yourself plenty of time.  You’ve got this!  

      Did I ever tell you that I started blogging because I wanted a way to share everything that I learned about traveling with a baby with other new moms?  I hope this post is helpful for parents planning to fly with their baby.  If you found it helpful, I would love if you shared on social media so that more parents can see these tips!


      FREE Packing List for Flying with a Baby

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        How To Fly With a Baby – The Ultimate Guide

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        The Secret Life of Working Moms

        The Secret Life of Working Moms
        The Secret Life of Working Moms

        Being a Working Mom Is Hard

        Simply being a mom is hard, so there is no question that being a working mom is hard.  Even those that aren’t working moms don’t need much convincing.  However, exactly what that hard looks like varies greatly depending on your family situation and your career.  Here I’ll share what my schedule looks like as a working mom and share some thoughts from other working moms with very different careers and family situations.  If you are a mom getting ready to go back to work, grab my tips for returning to work.


        Working Mom Schedule

        Here’s what my typical day looks like with a 13-month-old and a career as a veterinary pharmacist.  Grab all my tips for managing working mom life here and here.

        5:45am

        Get up and get a quick 25-minute home workout in.  Grab my tips for fitting in a workout.

        6:25am – 6:50am

        Shower and get ready.  I’m a big fan of sleep, so my mornings don’t start early enough for me to fully style my hair.  Whatever I can do with it while it’s wet is the style of the day.

        6:50am

        Pack my lunch and breakfast and make coffee. I love fancy coffee, but a daily trip to Starbucks is not something I have the time or budget for. Therefore, I use my Nespresso and milk frother to make my skinny latte in the comfort of my own kitchen.

        7:00am

        Wake Paxton up

        7:05am

        Get Paxton started eating breakfast. He usually eats either a banana or an Ego waffle with butter and cinnamon sugar and water to drink. If he’s still hungry after that, we top off with some blueberries.

        7:15am

        Brief hubby on where Paxton is at in his morning routine. I’m lucky because John is a stay at home hubby, so I only have to get myself ready and out the door in the mornings.    When I leave, Paxton is usually still eating breakfast and wearing nothing but a diaper.

        7:16am

        Run out the door so I’m not late to work

        7:30am

        Arrive at work.


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        7:30am – 1pm

        Work. I’ll also find time to drink the coffee and eat the breakfast that I brought from home.  Some days it’s close to lunchtime before I get breakfast of overnight oats eaten but that’s a gamble I’m willing to take so that I can get a few extra minutes of sleep.

        1pm1:30pm

        Lunch break where I work on blog stuff, read the current book for my book club or browse social media.

        1:30pm – 6pm

        Work

        6pm

        Leave work

        6:20pm

        Get home. 

        6:20pm – 7pm

        Play with Paxton and get him ready for bed. John has already fed him dinner, so this time includes a bath, lotion, a couple of stories and a bottle of milk.

        7pm – 7:15pm

        Snuggle time with Paxton as he’s falling asleep.

        7:15pm

        Put Paxton in his crib.  At this point, I won’t hear from him again until I get him up the following morning.

        7:15pm9:30pm

        This is the extent of my free time.  During this time, I catch up with hubby, eat dinner, pick up around the house, work on any projects I have going, watch TV and get ready for bed.  If I’m not in bed by around 9:30, my 5:45am alarm is awfully rough.

        Alternative Thursday Night

        On Thursdays, I work a second job in retail pharmacy after finishing my first. On that night, I go straight from job number one to job number two.  I end up getting home at 9pm in time to eat dinner, catch up with hubby and go to bed.


        This schedule allows me to work 4 days that are 10 hours each which gives me three full days to spend with Paxton.  While I have limited time with him on the days I work, it’s nice having an extra day completely free.

        This is what my typical weekday involves.  However, it doesn’t capture when I have weekend work trips or pick up an extra shift in retail. I usually have one or the other of these once to twice a month.


        Related Content

        Doing housework either falls to hubby or I do it on my days off because I’m generally too exhausted after a long day at work.  If you are managing to find time and motivation for organization, you can grab my organization hacks here. If you are overwhelmed by baby clutter, but don’t have the mental energy to tackle it, join my free email challenge where I help you get all the kid items under control in small steps.


        Working Moms in Other Professions

        Now that you’ve seen my schedule, career and family differences mean that no two moms have the same working mom experience. Here are summaries of working mom life from 4 other working moms.

        Working At Home

        Abby Jacobs has a 16-month-old and is a parenting blogger. For her, being a working parent looks a bit different than most. She said, “I work from home, so the time I put into my blog is broken up throughout the day. As soon as my son is down for a nap I hurry to get to work and try to get as much done as I can in that time period. It also means I’m up working after his bedtime most nights. But, it also means I get to enjoy him while he’s awake. My job allows me the unique opportunity to raise, support, influence, and be a key part in his life–all while making money from home!”


        Working With Other People’s Kids

        Mary Smith is a teacher with a 5-month-old and a 2-year-old at home.  Here’s what being a working mom is like for her. “As an elementary school teacher, I spend my entire day with children. I wake up at 5AM to get myself ready before I get my own babies ready for daycare. The drive to work is the only peace I will see until my head hits the pillow at night. Many don’t realize being in education is so much more than just teaching. I plan every minute of every day, accounting for different learning abilities and interests. I manage disciplining 20 tweens going through 3 learning stations per hour, and also make sure they are staying on task. I mediate disputes between students and counsel the ones having problems. Tutor, nurse, janitor, and lunch lady are a few of the other roles I play each day. And breaks? Spent in the closet pumping milk for my infant, then speeding off to meet/call parents, write lesson plans, grade papers, finish documentation…or if I’m really lucky, I get to sit for a brief moment to eat some lunch in the 15 minutes I have left for myself.

        By the time I leave work, I am mentally exhausted. I’ve given all my energy to my students, and sometimes feel I have nothing left over for my own kids. It’s a mad dash to get in the front door, let the dogs out, change the diapers, get dinner fixed, clean the kitchen, bathe the boys and then try to find a few minutes of quality time with them. Some days we don’t even manage a story before bed. But I do the best I can and make the best of the weekends and holidays. When it gets tough, I just remind myself how lucky I am to get off for so many breaks and summer vacation, because some working parents don’t even have that.”


        Fixed Working Hours

        When asked what being a working parent is like, Clio Franconi said, “Running all the time.”  She has a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old and is a director’s assistant.  She explained working life as, “I have fixed working hours, and even if my work environment is cool, I still struggle to get there on time and then have to rush to go pick-up the kids. Everything has to be calculated, organized, and planned so that either one of us parents can go take care of our kids before the school closes. (Plus of course, all the rest of the chores). It’s great to be able to have some adult time and share it with awesome co-workers, but frankly, it is exhausting. There’s so little time to just be together, as even when we do spend time to play or read in the evening, everyone is so tensed and tired after the whole day running around. On the other hand, when I’m at home, I can completely shut the work drawer in my head and dedicate myself fully to my husband and kids. The boundaries between the two are very clear and they don’t get mixed, which helps me concentrate on the present moment.”


        When You Have a Lot of Kids

        Trish Brockway is a labor & delivery nurse with 7 kids at home ranging in age from 4 to 28!  Here’s her take on working mom life. “My career was my dream and calling from a young age. I love it! I love the hours and how I can work it around my family life. For many years I have been a travel nurse. Traveling has worked well for our family, as we also homeschool. I love that my children have toured the country and seen more of it than most adults can claim. We studied the Alamo while walking through it. My kids could stop and imagine the life of the men trapped inside the walls. How cool is that?
        I am also fortunate to work as a PRN nurse when not traveling, which means I set my schedule. The hours a nurse works, twelve-hour days, is a blessing and a curse. My day starts early and ends late. I leave my younger children before they wake. I kiss them goodbye while they sleep and most often, kiss them next after they are asleep at night.” 

        Final Thoughts

        Working mom life varies greatly depending on how many kids you have and their ages, the demands of your career, your husband’s work situation, and your work schedules. For example, my daily schedule looked very different when I had a newborn and I was still breastfeeding. 

        Just don’t let the working mom guilt get the best of you.  You can read my story with mom guilt here. But remember this is a mental battle.  After you read my mom guilt experience, read about why being a working mom is awesome. No two experiences are the same, but they are all hard and can all be rewarding. 

        Are you a working mom?  What has your experience been like?

        The Secret Life of Working Moms

        20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

        20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

        Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

        Being a mom is challenging, so as a survival instinct we find the easiest, most efficient way of doing things.  I want to save you the trouble of trial and error, so I’m going to share with you all the worthwhile hacks I’ve learned since becoming a mom.  Read on to learn how to hack mom life.

        The Top 20 Hacks

        1. Laundry Basket in the Tub

        Get a normal, rectangular laundry basket and drill about six small holes in the corners.  Place this laundry basket in your bathtub.  When you bathe your older baby/toddler, the laundry basket gives them support with slates they can grip.  It also keeps the toys contained so that they don’t keep floating out of reach.

        The holes drilled in the bottom helps facilitate the water draining out once the bath is over.


        2. Bib Storage

        Put a large command hook on the back of the high chair.  Use this hook to store bibs.  This frees up drawer storage space and makes sure that you always have a bib handy at meal time.

        Bibs attached to the back of a high chair with a command hook.

        3. Activity Board

        Babies love to play with household items that you may not like them playing with.  Examples include phones, doorstops, lights, and buttons.  One way to satisfy your baby’s curiosity in a parent-approved way is to create a board that incorporates these ‘forbidden’ items.  We created one with doorstops (that don’t have caps that come off), push lights, a big metal hook, a tape measure, and a door lock.  Other things we may add in the future include an old telephone or remote, a magnetic section with large magnets and a curved pipe that a ball can roll through. 


        4. The Perfect Storage Containers

        Those drink mix packets that you can get at any store, come in plastic containers that are perfect for storage.  These containers fit inside the bottle pockets in diaper bags and are the exact size to fit graham crackers.  You can also store other snacks in them.

        Graham crackers spilling out of a drink mix container.

        5. Size Up on Diapers at Night

        If your baby starts flooding diapers overnight, go up a size or two.  You can do this with normal diapers or use overnight diapers that are a size or two larger for extra leak protection for good sleepers.

        Size 5 daytime and size 6 nighttime Huggies diapers.

        6. Make Diaper Bag Stroller Straps that Actually Work

        Sometimes diaper bags will come with stroller straps, but these seem to always be too short. I bought a hook to hang my bag on but it kept swinging all over the place. The solution that finally worked was to use a thin chain and clip to make hooks for the diaper bag.  These work so much better than the ones that came with my diaper bag.

        Stroller handle with chain and clip attached.

        7. Use Gallon Ziploc Bags for Everything

        Gallon bags are amazing.  They are great to keep in your diaper bag for storing dirty diapers or dirty clothes.  You can also use them when packing.  We use gallon bags for each outfit complete with all accessories.


        Other Posts You May Like

        8. Clip a Toy to Your Diaper Bag

        Diaper bag space is at a premium, but it’s a good idea to always have a toy handy.  Get a toy with a clip or ring and hang it from the outside of your diaper bag. I like this one and this one. This way you always have one, but it doesn’t use up any precious space.


        9. Add a Clip to Your Diaper Bag

        As a mom you will learn to juggle a million things and keeping track of keys can be hard.  Put a carabinier clip on the outside of your diaper bag.  Then when you get out of the car, hook your key ring onto the clip.  That way your keys are readily accessible but secure. I use a clip with a locking mechanism so that my keys don’t accidentally fall off.


        10. Warm Bottles in a Coffee Mug

        When you are getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and need to warm up a bottle, you want it fast.  Keep a large coffee mug handy for this.  To warm a bottle just fill the mug 1/3 full of water, microwave for 30 seconds, and then place the bottle in the mug for a couple of minutes while you do a diaper change.  This will warm the milk without causing hot spots.


        20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

        11. Store Diaper Change Items in a Top Drawer

        Instead of taking up space with a diaper change caddy, use the top dresser drawer to store all the items you need for a diaper change.  Plastic storage baskets are perfect for keeping this drawer organized. This is also helpful when your baby gets a little older and wants to get into everything that is accessible. If the diaper change things are stored inside a closed drawer, the temptation to get into them is removed.

        Diaper changing items in baskets inside a drawer.

        12. Roll Baby Clothes

        Baby clothes are small, so you can fit a lot into a drawer.  However, when you start stacking them the ones on the top get worn and the bottom ones get outgrown without ever being worn.  By rolling clothes to store them, you can fill the drawer and still see everything that’s in there for ready access. Join my organization challenge where I explain exactly how I roll baby clothes to make sure I can see what’s on them.

        Rolled baby clothes in a drawer.

        13. Create a Dump Bucket

        Babies that are just learning to sit-up don’t need fancy toys.  They can be easily entertained with some spoons or fun fabric.  Get a dollar store plastic container and fill it with dollar store kitchen items and other household items that are baby safe.  Babies love to dump the items out and play with them.  Get all the details on how I made one here.

        Baby chewing on a plastic spoon surrounded by household items.

        14. Use an Ottoman for Toy Storage

        Ottomans are perfect for storing toys because they can also double as seating in your living room, look nice and still allow easy toy access.


        Related Content

        15. Roll a Spare Outfit for Your Diaper Bag

        Use the rolling technique below to put together an entire spare outfit that only takes up a little space in the diaper bag. By rolling the entire outfit together, you have quick access to a full change of clothes in case of an accident while you are out.

        Step by step visual on how to roll a diaper bag outfit.

        16. Super Glue Bath Toys Before Use

        Those bath toys that have holes to squirt water may be fun, but the inside gets moldy after only a few uses.  To prevent this, put super glue over the hole prior to the first use.  Your baby can still have fun playing with them, and you don’t have to worry about the inside filling with mold.


        17. Remove a Couch Cushion to Help Baby Stand and Climb

        When babies are learning to pull up to stand, they need something low but sturdy.  The couch with cushions is usually too high, but if you remove a cushion, it’s much lower.  You can then put a favorite toy or snack on the couch and encourage baby to pull up and get it. This also works to teach baby to climb onto things.


        18. Decorate the Nursery with Stock Photos

        You want to put together a cute nursery for your baby, but after a couple of years they will want a new theme, and this cycle will continue.  Instead of spending a lot of money on prints or painting or using decals on the walls, purchase some simple frames and get prints of stock photos.  These photos tie together a nice nursery theme but are inexpensive.  When it’s time for a new theme, just replace the photos. You can grab great stock photos at Pixabay.

        Nursery with animal pictures in frames.

        19. Use Expandable Legal Folders to Store Puzzles

        Chunky board puzzles are great for babies and toddlers.  However, storing them can be hard.  They don’t have nice boxes like more advanced puzzles and the racks designed for storage take up prime floor space.  Instead of this, use expandable legal folders to store the puzzles.  They can then be placed upright in a decorative box.


        20. Use the Baby Story App for Milestones Instead of Stickers

        Everyone wants cute monthly pictures, but the stickers don’t stick well and after a couple of months, babies start pulling them off.  Instead of spending $12 on a pack of stickers, spend $6 to get full access to the Baby Story app.  You can use some of the features for free, but the full access gives you everything you could want.  This app provides a variety of monthly “sticker designs” as well as other fun designs and the ability to add text.  It’s really simple to use and lets you customize the color of everything.


        There are the top 20 mom hacks that are worth your time.  Did I forget anything?  Let me know in the comments.

        20 Mom Hacks That Are Pure Genius

        Disclosure: Some of the links abov are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        Starting Solid Food with Your Baby

        Starting Solid Food with Your Baby

        Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

        Starting Solid Food with Your Baby

        The 4 to 6-month mark is such an exciting time because you can start teaching your baby about solid food!  But it can also be nerve-racking as you worry about choking and wonder if your baby will have any food allergies.  Keep reading for information to help you introduce solid food to your baby with confidence and make eating fun.

        When to Start Solids

        The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six month and that solids can be started at the 6-month mark.  However, there are many babies that aren’t exclusively breastfed during this time.  Babies receiving formula may still want to wait until the 6-month mark.

        For my son, we ended up starting solids right at 4 months.  At that point, we couldn’t keep him full with only formula and he was showing the signs that he was ready to start solids.  This worked well for us; however, each baby is different.  Check with your doctor to see when it’s recommended to start solids.

        Signs Baby is Ready to Try Solids

        • Tongue reflex is no longer pushing food right back out
        • Baby can sit up with minimal support
        • Baby is interested in mealtime (i.e. trying to grab your food)

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        Baby-Led Weaning

        Baby-led weaning is where you wait to start solids right at 6-months by offering soft finger foods. This means that you don’t need to buy special baby food because your baby can eat many of the same things you are eating.


        First Foods

        It used to be recommended to start with rice cereal followed by oatmeal.  These foods have a low potential of allergies, and they are relatively bland.  They can also be mixed with breast milk or formula.  Start with a lot of liquid and slowly increase the thickness as baby gets used to it.  This post has a lot of great tips for selecting baby cereal.

        Warning: Never put cereal into your baby’s bottle because of the choking risk.  Even when very liquid, use a spoon. 

        If you aren’t feeling the baby cereal, it’s now known that other foods can be appropriate.  Avocados, bananas and sweet potatoes all make good options for first foods.  Just follow the same principle and mix with breast milk or formula and slowly increase consistency as tolerated. 

        Introducing Common Allergens

        It used to be believed that you need to wait until your baby was at least a year old to introduce things like peanuts, eggs, and wheat.  However, if you don’t have any family history of food allergies, then it’s thought to be better to introduce these foods early.  Just keep in mind appropriate consistency.  Peanut butter can be too thick for baby for example.

        baby in high chair with food on his face

        Consistency

        At first foods should be pureed to a drinkable consistency.  As baby gets used to it, you can slowly start thickening the food.  Some babies object to thicker textures, so take this progression slowly.  Once baby can start picking up food between the thumb and forefinger, you can start introducing bite-sized pieces of cooked veggies, pasta, etc.  A good principle is that pieces should be small and cooked enough that they can be easily squished between your fingers.  This means making veggies and pasta well-done. 


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        Introducing New Food

        It’s recommended that at first, you introduce one food no more often than every 3 days.  This gives you time to make sure your baby doesn’t have a reaction.  During this time, you want to feed the new food, but you can also offer foods that you have previously introduced. 

        If your baby doesn’t like something, keep trying it.  It sometimes takes 10 or more times for a baby to decide he likes something.  The various flavors take some getting used to when all you’ve ever had is milk. Some foods that I found work well include zucchini, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, plums, avocado, and cauliflower.

        Baby in high chair eating broccoli

        Foods NOT to Try During the First Year

        Nuts, popcorn, raw veggies, whole grapes, and hotdogs aren’t recommended because of choking risk.  Grapes can be cut up and other berries like blueberries can be squished to reduce this risk.

        Get Your FREE Baby Food Meal Planner

        Get a printable meal planner specific to your baby’s age. Each meal planner includes age-specific servings, a place to brainstorm foods and a calendar to plan meals and check which food groups are included.

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          Amount of Food

          When you are used to looking at adult serving sizes, it can be hard to gauge what an appropriate amount of food for a baby is.  At first, even the small containers of baby food will be too much for one sitting. 

          When feeding your baby, pay close attention to signs that your baby is full.  These signs include, covering the mouth, pushing food away, turning away, getting distracted, and spitting food out.  Signs that baby is still hungry include pulling the spoon to his mouth, focusing on you and the food, getting excited when you provide more food.  When you are feeding your baby, you don’t want to force food in after he’s full.  Once baby is able to feed himself, then it becomes easier to tell when he’s done. 

          Remember that most of your baby’s calories will still come from breast milk or formula for the first few months of solids. 

          For a helpful guide to daily servings, grab my baby meal planner here.


          Other Tips

          Baby Food Storage

          Once you have fed baby directly from a container, you should discard any remaining food.  Therefore, it’s wise to transfer food from its container into a bowl a little at a time.  If you do that, unused baby food can be stored in the fridge for about 24 hours. 

          Baby laughing in high chair with food on his face.

          Utensils

          Baby will not be able to pick up food until he develops the pincher grasp around 8 months.  Until this point, you will need to feed your baby.  Once he starts developing the pincher grasp, cheerios make a good option for practice. 

          Adult spoons will be too big, so make sure to have some silicon or plastic baby spoons on hand.  I find that these spoons work well at first because they are tiny on the end, but they have long handles which allows your baby to help guide the spoon.  However, once your baby starts to want to feed himself with the spoon, these larger ones work a little better.

          Another option is to use a fresh food feeder like this. It allows the baby to chew on foods without the risk of choking. I didn’t find a lot of success with these, but for tips from a mom that did have success, check out this post.

          Keep Meal Time Fun

          For the first few months, your baby will continue to get most nutrition from breast milk or formula.  You are offering solid foods to introduce the concept of foods and the art of eating.  Therefore, don’t worry about how much baby eats.  Likely only a tiny bit will be eaten at first, but this will increase over time.  Keep offering a variety of foods.


          Final Thoughts

          Don’t stress too much about starting solid foods.  Take your baby’s cues and ask your doctor if you have concerns.

          For tips on making homemade baby food and ideas of things that make good first foods, check out this post.

          Starting Solid Food with Your Baby

          Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.