Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Tips for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

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.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage

Traveling in general can be difficult for anyone. All the planning, packing, and effort can make trips feel more like work than a vacation. When adding a baby or toddler to the mix, traveling can become even more overwhelming. However, having kids doesn’t have to stop your adventures. Try out these tips for traveling with toddlers (many work for babies too) to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

Book Hotel Rooms Wisely

When it comes to booking a hotel room, it’s better to ask specific questions when making your reservation to make sure the hotel has all the accommodations you need before you arrive. If you have a baby, you can check if your hotel has cribs available. You may want to consider booking a suite or two connecting rooms; otherwise, you may be stuck using a flashlight trying to do work in the bathroom while the kids are sleeping. Plus, you will want a bigger room to fit the crib and your luggage. Trust me, the extra square footage is worth it. When booking a hotel room, ask if you can have a room that is away from pools, elevators, ice machines, and other areas you don’t your kids to be near. Request a room that is not on the ground floor as they are easy to break in; however, make sure the balcony doors are secure, so your kids don’t wonder out there without any supervision. Lastly, check to see if your hotel room has a mini bar with sensors (meaning if you touch or move anything in the fridge you will be charged). If so, you may want to ask the hotel to empty the mini bar so you can use the fridge for milk and other snacks and not have to worry about getting charged top dollar for candy bars (your kids won’t be able to resist them!).

Here are some additional tips for staying in a hotel with a baby or toddler.

Baby sitting on the floor of a large hotel room.  A large hotel room is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Betty – Mom Brite


Travel Overnight or During Nap Time

We have traveled extensively throughout my toddler’s life so far, both domestic and international and including long road trips and plane travel. The best tip I could give after all this traveling is to try and plan, at least the bulk of your journey, overnight if it’s a long trip. If it’s a short flight or drive then take it right around nap time!
As well as making the actual travel experience much easier, keeping baby or toddler in their usual routine will make things run much more smoothly when you get to your destination.

Run through your normal routine before you leave the house or whilst at the airport. If you usually do pajamas, story time, milk and a cuddle, for example, do this exact same routine at the airport. Sure, it won’t be exactly the same but the familiarity will still be there.

We recently flew long haul from Brisbane to London. I paid a tiny bit extra to get flights both ways that traveled overnight. I was sure it would be a total nightmare and my daughter would not sleep but to my surprise she had a 9 hour sleep on one of the flights!!

Baby sleeping on an airplane seat.  Traveling during nap time so baby sleeps is a tip for traveling with a baby

Sophie Marie – Lifestyle Queensland


Take One-Day Trips by Car

Traveling is awesome, but many new parents fear traveling with a toddler. And, sometimes, I have to agree that it is not easy. However, we discovered that taking short trips by car allows us to both travel and to get back home in one day, have the child sleeping in his bed, and avoiding the stress of traveling by public transportation or airplane.

The first trip we took with our son was when he was three weeks old. We took a day trip to the mountains and we had a great time. We packed light – just the bare minimum – and it was more than enough! Diapers, food, a change of clothes and that was it. Oh, and there was another vital item: a good mood!

We had a great time that day and took many more such trips ever since. It’s something that I recommend to all those who can easily get to some wonderful places within 1-3 hours – so that you have enough time to enjoy that place and make it back in the evening.

Toddler sitting in a car seat in a car

Loredana – Earth’s Attractions


Plan All the Details Ahead of Time

Traveling with kids requires more planning than traveling alone. However, it can be daunting to try and remember all the details and plan them out ahead of time. I use a family travel planner to plan all the details in advance. I set a goal to work through a certain number of pages of the planner every week until the trip is completely planned. This has made traveling with my son when he was a baby and now as a toddler so much easier because we are appropriately prepared for each aspect.

It’s also helpful to use checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Filled out pages of a family travel planner.
Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn at Nurturing Family & Self

Use a Lightweight Car Seat

One piece of gear we always seem to need on our family trips is a car seat. Our best hack for making flying with a car seat much easier is to bring a lightweight travel car seat rather than the bulky full-featured car seats we usually use at home. They all pass Federal safety testing and are fine to use, but a travel car seat could weight nearly 20lbs less! It’s easier to transport through the airport, get through security, install on the airplane, get to the rental car… and do basically everything else you’ll need to do during travel days. There are many different options for travel car seats depending on your child’s age and size, so check out this extensive guide to choose the right one.

Toddler sitting in a car seat.  Traveling with a light weight car seat is a tip for flying with a baby or toddler.

Get a Lightweight Travel Stroller

One of our hacks for traveling with a baby is to take a compact travel stroller with us.  There is only so much baby carrying that my back can cope with so to have a stroller when we travel is an essential item. But, when we first traveled with a baby we took a full size one and it was such a pain to have to haul it around with us on and off the buses and trains. I started to resent having it with us even though it came in handy at times. So, we did a bit of research and discovered that compact strollers have really come on in the last few years. Forget about flimsy umbrella strollers that are no good to anyone, things have moved on and you can now transport your little darling in complete comfort and luxury in a stroller that folds up to the size of cabin baggage. You’ll be amazed by the latest lightweight travel strollers. They weigh almost nothing and can fold up small enough to take on the airplane with you. There is even one that would fit in a handbag!

Baby sitting in a lightweight travel stroller.  Lightweight strollers are great for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Don’t forget all the other essential items when traveling with a baby or toddler!

Take a Beach Wagon

I have three young kids including twins (at one point I had three kids under three!) so I know how challenging it can be when traveling with multiple toddlers and a baby. They are older now, but we still face challenges if we go for a day out to the beach or the zoo. There is always a lot to carry with drinks, snacks, picnics, hats and sunscreen….and the kids don’t want to carry anything! Plus our youngest always gets tired legs and she is just too big now to be carried.

Thankfully we discovered a folding beach trolley solved all of our problems! A folding wagon can carry all of your things to the beach, park, sports event or festival and the bonus is that it can also carry tired toddlers when they can’t walk anymore! You can even use an empty wagon to lay down a sleeping baby or toddler when you’re on a day out or a night out for dinner. It has been a game-changer for our family. Plus everyone wants to pull it, so we no longer have arguments about who is carrying what. It folds down small meaning it is really great for road trips, even if you are short on space.

3 kids sitting in a collapsible beach wagon.  This is a good item to have when going to the beach with kids.

Embrace Babywearing

When it comes to traveling with kids my first tip is always “get a carrier!” It keeps a runner contained, a doddler moving, a fussy baby close and (more) content, and your hands free. Baby is close to you, easier to monitor, and you don’t have a bulky stroller to navigate through crowds, over stairs, and around obstacles. We use carriers for our kids from newborn until they are three or four years old (and I know people who have put older kids “up” when they needed that close connection).

Most people are familiar with a soft-structured/buckle carrier (think Ergo, Beco, BabyBjorn, Tula or the dozens of others on the market) and stretchies (K’Tan, Moby). Other options include Ring Sling, woven wraps, meh dai/mei tai, hiking carriers and so many more. Just as every parent and child is an individual, the carrier that works best is individual. I found woven wraps tied a certain way worked best for my daughter on me, and my son preferred a ring sling, while my husband has always worn a buckle carrier.

Carriers exist at all price points, but I recommend spending over $100 if buying new. Quality is important! If you can only get one carrier I prefer a meh dai. The basic carries are quick to learn, it’s easier to tie on someone else, there are no metal bits to worry about if you’re dealing with security scanners, and you don’t have to adjust anything between wearers.

Always be aware of safe babywearing practices.

Baby in Ergo baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Jenn Meria – Meria Inspired


Bring a Baby Carrier

A baby carrier is an absolute essential when traveling with kids and toddlers especially if you will be flying. A stroller can definitely be useful when traveling but if you are flying somewhere in particular, a carrier is likely to be more useful. This is because a carrier is easier to use to navigate through security and immigration checks both on arrival and departure. In fact, often flights will check in your stroller, even at the gate, and you won’t get it back until luggage collection.

A carrier is also invaluable once you are on the plane especially with a non-walking toddler or baby as you can use it to walk around the plane and help calm your baby. Depending on where you are going, a carrier can be very useful at your destination if you are going somewhere without good sidewalks or with lots of stairs. This can particularly be the case in Europe where apartments can be upstairs and streets can be filled with cobblestones or in Asia where sidewalks are often non-existent.

Baby in buckle baby carrier looking up at mom. Baby wearing is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Suzi – Survey Suzi


Breastfeed

As fun and inspiring as traveling with your children might be, it can be very, very tiring as well. Every parent wants to avoid a meltdown on a flight or in the middle of a hot square. Of course there are many ways to calm them down, but I find that the best way to deal with a difficult moment is to nurse them. From the moment we started traveling with our daughter (at about 4 months), breastfeeding has been our biggest asset.

Apart from tackling a (nearing) tantrum, it is perfect for nappy time as well. Whether we would be on a long-distance bus or in a restaurant, when she was tired I would latch her on and she would fall asleep in a matter of minutes. The same goes for night time sleeps, a new bed did not matter as her ‘titi’ (and mommy of course) were always there.

Another big breastfeeding plus has to do with eating. When traveling, it might be more difficult than at home to have snacks and food at hand at all times. Nursing your child will provide them with everything they need, even when you run out of something solid to give them.

Breastfeeding as long as possible is my ultimate hack for traveling with (young) children as it will make your trip so much easier and carefree.

Baby breastfeeding on a beach. Breastfeeding is a tip to make traveling with a baby easier.

Use a Puddle Jumper for an Easy Time at the Pool or Beach

When we first started traveling with our young kids, one of the problems we encountered is that our kids were petrified of the water! We would plan a week-long trip to the beach or a resort and our kids wouldn’t want to get in and swim! Finally, we discovered the puddle jumper, which is rated for toddlers 30 lbs and up. The puddle jumper brings kids faces up out of the water preventing them from getting a huge gulp of water and I think this really helped our timid kids be comfortable. The natural swimming position makes it easy for kids to learn proper the swimming position. Our eldest now can swim independently and we had no difficulties with him being too reliant on the floatie. With the puddle jumper, our kids are really independent in the water and this means that aren’t clinging on to dear life and we can actually enjoy our vacation. We don’t go anywhere warm without this kids travel hack now! 

Here are more details on the best toddler floaties from Tear Free Travel.

Toddler on the beach wearing floaties.  Floaties are a way to make beach travel with a toddler easier.

Travel with a Sound Machine

A must-have for any road trip with an infant or toddler is a travel sound machine. It can easily hook on the infant car seat carrier bar which makes it easy to stay secure and for the baby to be surrounded by the relaxing white noise sounds while traveling.

Our family arranges our road trips around sleep times for our baby and this travel sound machine makes naps on the go possible! Our children use white noise at bedtimes at home, so having that familiar hum is relaxing, calming and comforting to our baby when traveling. It reminds the baby of home and signals to them that it’s time for sleep.

This is also handy when out and about with baby during your vacation. The sound machine can also easily be attached to a stroller to allow for sleeping while touring too. It is my favorite baby shower gift to give and a must-have infant item for every family who ever leaves the house!

Baby in a car seat with a sound machine.  A portable sound machine is a tip for making traveling with a baby easier.

Get more tips from Emily about Traveling with an Infant.


Take a Battery-Operated Night Light

A great tip, especially for those with younger babies, is to take a night light on your trip. We love taking battery operated ones so that we don’t have the hassle of having to take a plug converter with.

When we travel to a few different destinations and hotels on one trip, it can be a bit confusing when you are sleep deprived and you have to remember which hotel you are in and where all your baby supplies are located, so the night light can be a life saver! The night light is fabulous as it gives you enough light to change nappies during the night, to make bottles or to breastfeed your little one without them having to fully wake up from the bright light.

We found it especially beneficial when our little one used to wake up regularly during the night, but just recently we reached the age where our toddler is scared of the dark, and so the night light has been super useful in taking away that fear, allowing her to sleep more peaceful. The night light is a small item that takes up little space, so we never travel without it.

A night light.  Having a battery-operated night light is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Jolene – Mum Knows Best


Bring Extra Clothes

Traveling – whether by car or by plane – can make you feel a bit grimy on the best of days. Add a little kid to the mix, and you can pretty much count on some evidence of lunch – or, much worse, your toddler’s tendency to reverse his lunch thanks to motion sickness – to end up on your shirt. That’s why I always travel with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. Diaper leaked all the way through onto my pants? No problem! Lid wasn’t on the sippy cup properly? No big deal. Try leggings, light tee-shirts and other items that can be rolled up and compacted easily. I like storing them in a small zippered packing cube. Bonus tip: bring a plastic bag to hold the dirty clothes, since they’ll likely be wet and/or gross.

Stepwise process of rolling an entire baby outfit into a small oval to make it easier to store in a diaper bag.  Taking extra clothes is a tip for traveling with a baby or toddler.

Olivia – Happy in the Hollow


Use a Diaper Backpack

Traveling with a baby is a whole new level of adventure.  Though they are tiny little people, babies require a lot of items for general care and well-being.  From an abundance of diapers, to burp cloths, multiple changes of clothes, bottles, wipes, and a million other items.  Where should parents put all this?  

The best and most efficient baby hack when traveling is to purchase a backpack diaper bag.  Backpack diapers bags are significantly different than backpacks and diaper bags in that they are more portable, made for travel and comfort and provide all the essentials that parents need to store all their baby items.  Diaper backpacks typically have the proper function, capacity, design and storage options needed such as bottle holder pockets, wipes pocket, padded straps, insulated compartments and a host of other pockets and storage areas not typically found in regular bags.  They are compact and designed with parent and babies in mind.  Many diaper backpacks are waterproof and have amazing storage capabilities, which is great for parents.  Check out our guide on finding the perfect backpack diaper bag for your needs at The Elusive Family.

Once you have your perfect diaper bag, use a diaper bag packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything.

A petunia picklebottom diaper backpack.  Using a backpack style diaper bag is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Have a Multi-Purpose Toddler Suitcase

We love this suitcase for toddlers as it has so many advantages when flying! Our 2.5 year old daughter played with this ride-on suitcase for hours at the airports which was great. She loved to move around on it and we loved the fact that she was happy and that we didn’t need to carry her around. We could take the Bedbox with us as carry-on luggage into the plane where she would enjoy having her own suitcase with her books and teddy-bears. The best part though was the fact that inside this ride-on suitcase is a small mattress / cushion which you can put on the aircraft seat. When using the tray of the suitcase you can easily build a small bed. Our daughter felt so proud and loved to just lay down on it. Anyone with a toddler knows how special that is 😉 She slept for hours on her seat / bed. Definitely the best toddler travel hack for us at airports as well as in airplanes!

A toddler suitcase that can be ridden and converts the airplane seat into a bed.

Lauren – Relaxed Babies


Use a Foot Pillow for a Toddler Airplane Bed

Flying long-haul with toddlers can be a challenge.  However, that doesn’t mean that parents should shy away from traveling the world with their tots in tow.  Everyone knows that sleep is absolutely essential for children, but getting a toddler to sleep on a plane isn’t always an easy feat.  Once we discovered a few ways to make a toddler travel bed on an airplane, those long-hauls got a bit easier.  While there are actually quite a few options for creating a bed, such as a suitcase that converts to a bed, or a hammock for a baby, our favorite is using a blow up foot pillow.  While some are marketed as just for toddlers to sleep on during flights, any ‘ol blow up foot pillow will do.  They are extremely affordable and incredibly easy to use.  The only caveat is that some airlines have restrictions on items that could be a tripping hazard, so just check before your flight.  However, we’ve been on dozens of flights and have yet to have an issue.  Knowing that our kiddos have a safe and comfortable place to sleep makes those long flights so much more bearable for everyone involved!!

A toddler sleeping on an airplane bed made by using an inflatable foot pillow.

Invest in Sticker Books

Entertaining young kids during long car trips or airplane flights is a big headache. My life saving trick has always been sticker books. These books usually contain several pages of stickers and several pages of scenes (backgrounds) where the stickers can be applied. Some sticker books have glossy pages and repositionable stickers for endless fun. These books are easy to pack, light in terms of weight, mess free and typically cost less than ten dollars.

Another thing I like about the sticker books is that they are usually themed. If your child is into dinosaurs you can buy one with prehistoric scenes; if your child is into space exploration, you can find one with planets, spaceships, etc. When the “sticky” part is done you can ask you child to “read” the book to you, i.e. explain what is the story behind the scene he/she has created. Sticker books never failed us on any long trips and my kids are actually looking forward to trips because there is a new surprise activity book waiting for them.

Melissa and Doug sticker activity books.

Tatiana – Family Road Trip Guru


Allow Screen Time

At home, I am a strict enforcer of no screen time.  This rule also applies to parents so we’ve made it a habit to even limit our smartphone use around the kids.  Travel days, however, are a whole different story.  On those days, I am a strict enforcer of do whatever works and make everyone’s life (including fellow passengers’) easier.  This is why our trusty Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet is always packed whether on a road trip or on an airplane.  I only pull it out when absolutely necessary but it has been a lifesaver during delays or flight cancellations when meltdowns are most likely to happen.  We preload educational books, apps and shows and while my kids are always entertained, I don’t have to feel too guilty as the rest of the time we are talking, playing, etc.  The best part is you can limit the amount of total time or show time if you want to ensure you don’t go over the recommended screen time for their age.   Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to curate the educational content for your kids. You can get a month for free here.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet.  Having a kid-friendly tablet is a tip to make traveling with kids easier.

Get other great ideas for travel gifts for kids from Matilda.


Snacks and Screens to the Rescue

I’ve traveled with my 3 children since they were infants. Now that they are 3 (twins) and 5, I’ve only found two things that are successful in keeping my children happy and entertained while traveling. Two words: screens and snacks.

Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that we are pretty limited in screens and snacks at home, but it works amazingly well. Whether we’re driving or flying, my kids get grumpy from not being able to move. They aren’t entertained for long by new toys or coloring books, AND they tend to drop them. Screens and snacks to the rescue!

I give them each an individual snack cup and fill it up with whatever they want. Once they are a little older, they will graduate to a baggie of snacks, but for now, snack cups it is. If we’re driving, they all watch a movie on the DVD player in the van. If your children are farther apart in age than mine, you could give them separate tablets. Free Time Unlimited from Amazon is a great way to make sure the screens provide educational entertainment. If we’re flying, we use portable DVD players and tablets. It’s been brilliant for us and I couldn’t imagine traveling without them!

A mom sitting between twins on an airplane.  The twins are eating a lollipop.  Snacks are a way to make traveling with a toddler easier.

Caitlin – Twin Mom and More

Speaking of screens, make sure to download these apps for traveling with kids to make your life easier.


Surprise “Gifts”

One of the things that has really helped us during our extensive travels with a toddler is surprise gifts. I don’t mean big, flashy, expensive toys or anything like that. We simply take a trip to Kmart or the dollar store before we travel and get whatever little toys and trinkets we can for a dollar each.

Usually I will wrap them up and hide them in our carry on luggage before we leave. Then, either at set intervals or just when my daughter seems to be getting cranky, I’ll whip them out as a little surprise. She loves unwrapping them and discovering what is inside.

We have had varying degrees of success and I would recommend getting a few extra than you plan on needing. Sometimes the unwrapping is the part she enjoys and whatever is inside gets tossed pretty quickly, other times the trinket has kept her occupied for a good 30 minutes. That half hour could be all it takes to make you feel a bit more sane! Then there have been a few occasions where I’ve hit the jackpot and randomly found something that she has been obsessed with for an eternity.

A baby surrounded by small toys.  Having surprise gifts that are little toys is a tip to make traveling with a baby or toddler easier.

Sophie Marie – Remote Rainforest Mum

Want all the info on flying with a baby or toddler? This Ultimate Guide to Flying with a Baby answers all your questions!

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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.

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

Every parent wants their children to develop in the usual way. If their kids don’t start speaking until a certain moment in their lives, parents become concerned about their children’s speaking ability.

In that case, it’s important that you don’t put additional stress on your kid’s back.

What you should do is help them to start uttering words and phrases in many amusing ways.

Here’s what I think can be useful for every parent and toddler.

How to Help Your Toddler to Start Talking?

1)    Use short words and speak slowly

The reasons why your toddler still doesn’t want to speak may vary. If you and your partner tend to speak too fast and use too many words, that could confuse your toddler.

Also, the kid will recognize if you don’t include him or her in your conversations.

For starters, you need to address your toddler as much as possible. You should do that using short words that the kid can relate to.

Instead of saying ‘Take that toy and put it back in the box’, you can take the toy and say ‘The bear is going to sleep’. In the latter example, the keywords are the bear and sleep. You can also imitate the act of sleeping to provide another illustration for the meaning of the word.

parents walking with a toddler

When you’re cooking, show every ingredient you use to your kid and name it. You can keep repeating the drill. Then you can also add colors to the activity in one of the later repetitions.

If you use more short words related to tangible things in your home, the toddler is more likely to memorize them.

2)    Wake up the animator inside you

For some toddlers, it’s not enough just to keep showing them things and naming them.

Simply put, some kids are more demanding, and we don’t say that in a negative way.

On the contrary, they simply aren’t easily amused. If you and your partner are such people, it’s highly likely that your toddler will follow suit.

In that case, both of you need to wake up the animator inside you. This means that you should use more facial expressions and physical motion when you’re teaching your toddler to speak.

Here are some actions and expressions you should use frequently:

  • Nod your head when saying ‘Yes’ and shake it when you mean ‘No’.
  • Point to the things you want your kid to bring to you or put into the box.
  • Imitate eating when you’re feeding your toddler.
  • Do the actions from the songs you’re singing, such as “If You’re Happy” and use other expressions to boost your toddler’s speech.

You can also make up songs using some common words from your kid’s everyday environment. Those songs need to be short and simple, just like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”.

If you notice that your kid likes to play Hide and Seek, you can hide different toys and objects around the house. The act of finding those things and naming them with you will be delightful for your toddler. As a result, he or she might learn how to name them.

mom reading to a toddler

3)    Encourage speech in all situations

Some children might find it easier to speak in their comfort zone. That’s why your toddler might want to talk at home but be hesitant about it outside.

This is where you should play a boosting role and encourage them to keep saying words everywhere they go.

For instance, when you’re at a supermarket, you can turn the entire process into a word-learning game. You can let your kid touch different fruit and vegetables and name them. As explained by the London nanny experts, some toddlers are kinesthetic learners, i.e. they learn more easily through touching and moving. Parents and nannies need to ensure that such kids can learn things in their favorite way.

Moreover, you can join your child in playground activities. While the kid is swinging, you can encourage him or her to say the colors of the clouds and the trees in the park.

If you teach your kid words in a fun way outside the house, they’ll be excited to go out with you and do those activities.

toddler pushing a small cart through a grocery store

4)    Treat them with respect

Speech development is a part of the toddler’s cognitive development. That’s why it’s important to treat your kid with respect to everything he or she does.

For starters, avoid yelling at them, especially immediately after they’ve just learned a new word. Even if you’re raising your voice for a good cause, they might not be able to understand that.

Also, avoid using baby talk with older toddlers. You may notice how toddlers aged 2 or 3 refer to those younger ones as babies. It’s important for them to feel they’re treated in accordance with their age.

Likewise, expose them to appropriate teaching materials. Instead of plain baby books with words, use classic picture books and stories for bedtime.

Conclusion

Every kid has their own tempo in everything they do. The same goes for the development of speech. Parents need to be patient and keep doing the things recommended by speech therapists and experts.

In many cases, toddlers say only a few words and then start babbling overnight. There’s no reason to worry as long as your toddler is generally developing in a natural way.

So, apply our strategies in your daily activities with your toddler and always show your kids ultimate support in everything they do. Eventually, they’ll be able to utter more and more words.

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

Depending on who you ask, it can be a blessing or a curse to live far from family when you have a baby.  I spent an entire post outlining the pros and cons of having a baby when you live far from family. However, it may be the situation you find yourself in.  Here are tips for labor, delivery and postpartum when you live far from your family.

How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

You probably don’t need your family there while you are in the hospital.

Your due date is really just a guess on when your baby will be born.  In reality, it will likely fall somewhere in a 4 to 5-week range.  This can make it really hard for family to plan travel to be there precisely when you are in labor without risking missing the baby entirely. 

Also, while you are in the hospital, you have your husband to help and an entire team of nurses and doctors taking care of your every need.  We didn’t even change a diaper until we got home because the nurses did it every time.  Depending on if you have a natural birth or C-section and what complications occur, you will be kept in the hospital anywhere from 24 hours to 4 + days after giving birth.  There really isn’t much for your family to do other than be in a cramped room.  To solve this, ask your doctor how fast past your due date they will let you go prior to induction.  Have the first family visit take place a week after that date.  This will ensure that baby is here and you are home prior to having family come.


Take advantage of family visits. 

When you live far from family, they are likely planning to visit for a week or more at a time to make the trip worth it.  Take advantage of this to have round-the-clock help.  I wanted my mom to be the first to come visit, and my mother-in-law to be second.  Therefore, I had my mom come 2 weeks after my due date (based on the above formula).  She stayed for 2 weeks.  Then my mother-in-law came and stayed for a week.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared prior to bed each night.  Then our moms would get up with the baby for the 6am feeding.  They were already awake because of the time difference, and it gave us a solid 6 hours of sleep before I needed to be up for another feeding.  The result was we felt pretty human the entire first month.

photo of a grandma with her newborn grandson who is yawning

Practice going out while you have help. 

While you have family visiting, go out to eat, go to church, go to the mall, etc.  Use the extra set of hands to help while you are learning how to juggle a newborn and everything that goes with a baby.  Make sure to get all my tips for going out with a newborn.


Plan for time without family prior to going back to work. 

If you will be returning to work after having a baby, you will want a week or two right before you go back where you don’t have family visiting.  This gives you, your husband and your baby time to figure out a routine that will work.  Check out my other tips for returning to work after maternity leave to make your transition as smooth as possible.


Schedule family visits with a buffer in between. 

When our son was born, the day my mom left, we dropped her at the airport in the morning and picked my mother-in-law up a few hours later.  In hindsight, it really would have helped to have at least a 24-hour buffer to adjust.  I was still emotional from my mom leaving, and not mentally ready for another visitor that fast.  I also wanted time to just hold my son and let him sleep on me without having to share him with family.


Plan the next visit before the current one ends. 

With the emotions after birth, it can be difficult saying goodbye to family.  I found it was easier to know when we would see each other again before the current trip ended.  Sometimes this was our family visiting again, other times, we visited them, or sometimes we met somewhere in the middle for an extended weekend.


Estimate how much time your guests will want you to entertain them versus entertaining themselves or simply being happy to take care of the new baby. 

My mom was happy to go out and do things, but also brought work with her to occupy herself if the baby was asleep and we wanted to rest.  We had other family that wanted time to go do the tourist things in the area and were happy to do this on their own.  Figuring out what everyone wants helps to manage expectations.

photo of parents with grandparents and a baby with napa valley in the background.

Get involved with a church. 

This is a great way to meet like-minded people.  If you find a church full of other young parents, they can be great support for you as you navigate new parent life.


Final Thoughts

If you are pregnant and don’t live near family, there are many pros and cons.  However, it’s important to make the best of it and have a plan in place prior to giving birth.  Consider who will be coming to visit, how long they want to stay, and what order you want them to come in.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Maybe you love where you grew up and couldn’t imagine living far from the place you have always called home.  Maybe you are on the other end and spent high school counting down the years until you could escape to somewhere more exciting.  Either way, as a responsible adult you are now considering having kids and are wondering if you are better off raising your children near family or farther away. 

I’ve lived on the other side of the country from my family as well as my in-laws while having my first child.  Here are some things to consider about having kids while living far from family.

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

I’m a positive person, so we will start off with the pros of living far from family.

Pros of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. There is no pressure to allow family to be present at birth 

If you live a short drive from family, there is a good chance your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandma, or anyone else you can think of may decide they are entitled to be present for the birth of your child.  You may not want an audience, but it can be really hard to tell the well-meaning family they aren’t invited.   If you live a plane-ride (or very long drive) away from the family, you won’t be able to predict exactly when you will go into labor, so they won’t be able to plan a visit without risking their stay ending before the baby is born.  It was really easy to have a labor, delivery and hospital stay without anyone except for my husband.  I was happy to show off our new baby once we got home, but the hospital stay was a whirlwind of recovering and figuring out breastfeeding.  I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else there.

Mom holding a newborn baby in the hospital.

2. You have more freedom to develop your own parenting style 

There are so many opinions on the “right” way to be a parent.  However, the right way for you is the way you and your husband decide to parent.  This should be a decision made based on your preferences and not on pressure from family.  Being far away means you don’t have family around offering their input as often.


3. You have more power over the visit schedule 

If you live near family, well-meaning family may feel entitled to drop by for a visit whenever the mood strikes them.  If they happen to be coming over to clean for you, then it may be welcome.  However, they likely aren’t planning on that.  If you live far from family, it requires planning visits ahead of time.  This allows you to make sure both families aren’t there at once (unless you approve it), and to have buffers between visitors if you desire. 


4. You and your husband learn to rely on each other 

If you have a great relationship with your mom, it may be really easy to get her help and input on every parenting question and call her for babysitting frequently.  However, it can be easy for you to rely more on family than your husband which can make it hard to form a parenting team.  Being far away decreases your ability to rely on family and allows for a stronger parenting team to be formed between you and your husband.


5. When family visits they stay with you 

This means that they are already planning to be present for those 2 am wakeups.  If there is a large time difference, you can utilize it to have family help with overnight feedings or rocking baby back to sleep.  We had almost four weeks of help between our mothers visiting right after our son was born.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared at bedtime each night.  Our mothers would get up with our son and give him a bottle for the 6 am feeding which gave my husband and me a six-hour stretch of sleep before I needed to be up for the next feeding.  The result is we actually felt pretty human during the first month.


6. Your child gets well-traveled at an early age

I believe helps make baby and the parents more adaptable to new situations.  My son went on 10 round-trip flights during his first year.  The first trip was stressful, but after that we got a system figured out and it wasn’t a big deal.  Here are all the tricks I learned for flying with a baby

Dad holding a baby on an airplane.

Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family


1. If you want family present at birth, this can be hard to plan 

Often affordable plane tickets have to be purchased well in advance.  With a 4 to 5-week range around the due date, it’s difficult to pinpoint when people should come to visit. 


2. Family doesn’t get to visit as much 

For your family to visit the new baby, either they need to travel to you, or you need to travel to them.  Also, when they come, they usually stay with you which means extended time with family versus short visits.  Depending on your situation, ever-present family may be a major additional stress when you are already stressed with a newborn. 


3. Family visits can be difficult if you have parents that don’t travel or have health problems that make traveling difficult  

If you are in this situation and will have to be the one traveling, make sure to get all my tips for flying with a baby.  You can also use my Family Travel Planner to make the travel planning process much easier.


4. You might feel like you are missing out 

We lived a 5-hour plane flight from all of our family for almost 3 years.  The only times I really broke down because I didn’t have family nearby was when we found out we were having a boy and when my mom left after visiting right after my son was born.  These were times when I did really want to share them with my family, and I felt like a phone call or FaceTime just didn’t cut it.

A couple holding a baby boy balloon.

5. You don’t have as much help 

When you live near family, they are often happy to babysit or be an extra set of hands.  However, living far from them means that you don’t have these built-in, free babysitters.  Friends can be helpful, but you can only impose on them for free babysitting so much.  Living far away meant we couldn’t go to the movies without paying a babysitter or going when we had people visiting.  We made a point of taking our son out to restaurants, the store and the mall starting when he was only a week old.  Therefore, it became normal for him and us, so going out to eat or shopping with him in tow isn’t a big deal.  Definitely get my tips for going out with a newborn to make your life easier.


6. Holidays can be hard 

For holidays, you will likely be traveling back to family or spending them without family.  Either way it can be hard.  We traveled back to visit family.  Like I mentioned above, traveling itself wasn’t a big deal.  However, with Christmas, it was difficult having to consider luggage allowances and making sure our son didn’t get too many large or heavy gifts that we would need to figure out how to get home.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.
This was the amount of luggage that we traveled with when visiting family for two weeks over Christmas and New Years.

7. Guilt trips from family about living far away 

You may hear comments from family (likely grandparents) about how they don’t get to spend time with their grandchild because he lives so far away.  Even if you don’t hear these comments, you may feel guilty that your parents don’t get to spend much time with their grandchild.  This is likely to be more significant if your baby is the first grandchild. 


Final Thoughts

Do the pros of living far from family outweigh the cons?  That depends on your family situation.  For us, we made do and logged some serious frequent flier miles.  It was good for my husband and I to grow as a couple and figure out the whole “new parenting” thing.  However, we will now live driving distance to our families.  It’s not close enough that people can drop in unexpectedly, but it’s close enough we can fill an entire car for the holidays and not have to worry about how much baggage we are dragging along.  For us, I feel like that is a good compromise.

What do you think? Do the pros or the cons weigh heavier in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

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.

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

Before becoming a mom, leaving the house to go to the store, or a restaurant or anywhere really was easy and took little thought or planning.  However, once you become a parent, leaving the house is a whole new level of difficulty. 

When my son was a newborn, leaving the house looked something like this:

  1. Nurse the baby
  2. Change a diaper and make sure clothing for everyone was weather appropriate
  3. Make sure diaper bag is fully stocked (don’t forget to grab my diaper bag packing list)
  4. Eat a snack/meal
  5. Nurse baby again
  6. Change diaper again
  7. Finally leave the house (~3 hours later)

Obviously, the amount of time it takes to prepare to leave the house can keep many new parents home bound.  However, getting out of the house as a new parent is essential for your sanity!

Unless you or your newborn has health issues or the weather is absolutely awful, I suggest starting to make short outings the first weeks after you come home from the hospital.  Here are my answers to common questions and tips for different activities that are completely doable with a newborn.

Where to Take a Newborn

Newborns are surprisingly portable.  Until about 4 months, they are able to sleep anywhere, and you can transport them both in and out of the car with a car seat and stroller travel system.  You can take a newborn most places that you would go anyway. 

It does take a little practice to juggle all the extra items you need to bring, and plan for feeding sessions. If you have family visiting, enlist help for your first few outings.  It’s great to have an extra set of hands and the person can spend time with you and the baby and no one is thinking about how messy the house is.

During my son’s first 2 months, we went to the grocery store, target, various restaurants, the mall, church, and wine tasting.  Enjoy the portability of your baby now because once they get older they become less portable and require more planning. Follow the tips below, and you can take your newborn out as part of your normal activities.

Taking a newborn out doesn't have too be extremely difficult.  You can do most activities with a newborn in tow.

Taking a Newborn Out Before 6 Weeks

Six weeks seems to be the magic number with babies, but things don’t really change that much at six weeks.  Your baby is still portable, and many children don’t get their first vaccinations until they are closer to 2 months.  The biggest thing that changed for us at six weeks was I went back to work (read more about that here and here).

The biggest concern with taking a very young baby out is that they will catch a virus.  Viruses that are minor annoyances for adults can result in severe illness in babies.  However, a few precautions can greatly decrease the chance of your baby catching something.

1. Don’t let others hold your baby

If someone asks to hold your baby, you are allowed to say no.  Exercise this right!  The less people that hold your baby, the less likely baby will get sick.  This also applies to letting people rub his hair, kiss him or touch his skin.

2. Utilize a car seat cover

Many respiratory viruses are passed through coughing and sneezing.  If you use a stretch car seat cover like this one, you can block respiratory particles from infecting your baby.  It also helps keep people from touching your baby and provides a dark, quiet area for sleeping.

3. Practice baby wearing

If you aren’t planning to carry the car seat with you once you get where you are going, then your best defense is baby wearing.  This keeps baby snug against you and protected from respiratory particles.  It also helps deter people from touching or wanting to hold your baby.


When can you take a newborn out for a walk?

You can take a walk with your newborn as soon as the weather cooperates.  You want to do your walk at a time of day where it isn’t super hot or super cold.  Also make sure to provide adequate warmth and/or sun protection.  Newborns have very fragile skin, so err on the side of too much sun protection in the form of a stroller shade, car seat shade, and/or car seat cover.  If the weather is okay taking the baby for a walk can be great for both of you, and you usually won’t have to fend off too many people.

The best time to take a newborn for a walk will vary by location.  You will want to decide based on the weather and what you feel like.  Chances are good your newborn will sleep for most of the walk anyway, so at this stage, you don’t need to worry about nap times.  Usually, earlier in the morning or early evening work well because the sun isn’t as bright as it is midday.  However, if the sun is out, you will still want to make sure baby is shaded.



When can I take my newborn to a restaurant?

You can take baby out to a restaurant as soon as you are ready to go out.  You will want to make sure your diaper bag is fully packed, so that you are prepared for any dirty diapers or feeding needs.  I found that taking the car seat into the restaurant is the best way to have a calm meal.  Infant car seats generally will fit into the booth and restaurants often have high chairs that when flipped over hold a car seat.


When can I take my newborn to church?

We took our son to church when he was 1 week old.  You will want to follow the tips above about keeping people away, so your baby doesn’t get sick, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy.  We took the car seat into the church and sat at the end of the pew so the car seat could be on the floor next to us.  This also allowed for a quick escape if necessary.  Just make sure you don’t pick a seat right next to a speaker. 

Many churches have a room for nursing mothers.  Scout out the location of this room when you arrive, so you are prepared if necessary.  Churches also usually have child care that extends to infants.  However, I would recommend keeping your baby with you for the first couple of months – usually they will sleep anyway.


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Can I take my newborn to a wedding or other family gathering?

Major family events are often ones you don’t want to miss, but your family and friends likely didn’t plan their special day around the age of your baby.  Therefore, you may find yourself needing to choose between taking your newborn or staying home.  My best friend got married when my son was 4 months old, so off to a wedding (on the other side of the country) we went.  Many of the principles from above apply here.  However, if it’s something that is going to have a DJ or other loud music, make sure to grab a pair of these baby headphones.  Without them loud noises can quickly overwhelm a newborn.  However, with the earmuffs, a party with flashing lights and dancing can be great fun for a baby.  My son loved dancing and looking at the lights with his headphones on.

Taking a newborn to a wedding with noise canceling baby headphones works well.
Photo taken by Josh + Jeanette

Final Thoughts on Leaving the House with a Newborn

Getting out of the house is good for the whole family, so you shouldn’t be scared to leave the house with a newborn.  Just make sure to follow these tips and plan short outings initially.  Pretty soon you will gain confidence and running errands or going places with your newborn won’t be a big deal at all.

Taking a baby out on an airplane doesn't have to be overwhelming.  This infant in a car seat looks very content in the window seat.

If you start getting really brave, you could fly with a newborn.  If you decide to brave that (we did when our son was 4 months old), make sure to read these Tips for Flying with a Baby.

Tips for Going Out with a Newborn

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.

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

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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.

    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.


    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.


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    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.


    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

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