Travel with a baby is not for every mother. And in a season when it seems to be raining babies, including reigning babies, a few tips can go a long way to mean the difference between a quiet, peaceful trip or a stressed out tale from the dark side of parenthood.
“No new parent wants to leave the side of their little ones, but travelling with an infant brings on a whole new set of challenges and requirements,” says Amanda Spakowski, birth doula and founder of The Nesting Place. ”Babies may be small, but they can be high maintenance, so planning ahead and creating a checklist of must-have items can help lighten the load and allow for a stress-free trip.”
With help from Hotels.com, Spakowski suggests these time — and trip saving – measures when traveling with a toddler.
When Flying: Plan feeding time during take-off and landing which will help ease ear pain.
When Driving: Add removable window shades for your car windows to protect your baby from the sun. Make sure to use a rear-facing car seat for safety.
Travel with Baby: when at the hotel
Pack diaper rash cream, bags for dirty diapers, enough diapers for the trip and infant acetaminophen (get the dosage from your doctor) for relieving pain and fever. If baby is teething consider bringing teething gel.
Book a crib when making the hotel reservation – or remember to bring a travel Pack ‘n Play.
Travel with Baby: out and about
Bring hats and SPF 30 sunscreen (or higher). If the baby is under six months he or she should stay out of the sun entirely and refrain from using sunscreen.
If not breastfeeding, bring formula and add cooled boiled water as needed.
Bring a plastic bib for baby – it’ll save a change of clothes in case of spills.
Travel with Baby: general tips
Bring a bag containing a few of your baby’s favorite toys to keep them happy and distracted, as well as a blanket for park visits.
It’s important to keep the baby on the same sleep schedule, so when on the go consider using white noise to help them ease into a deeper sleep. A Sleep Sheep or other sound machine is a great tool to pack.
Traveling with Baby: Where to Stay
Some hotels are more baby-friendly than others. The following are some baby-friendly hotels and chains for making travel planning and travel with baby easier:
Hyatt partners with Babies Travel Lite so mothers can order what they need in advance (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) to avoid excess baggage fees. Order supplies based on days of travelling and they’ll be waiting in the room upon arrival.
Many of these Ritz-Carlton properties are part of a Protecting Our Little Ones (POLO) program, which provides safety items for the room, such as outlet covers, a tub spout cover and first aid kit.
The Ritz Carlton, Cancun takes it a step further with their three Itzy Bitzy Baby Rooms, which include a crib, changing table, miniature hangers, light up telephone and a “shh, baby sleeping” sign for the door.
In Canada and the U.S., Marriott offers the Tots Travel Too program, which provides travel cribs, tub toys, safety equipment and nightlights, toiletries and disposable bibs.
With their Loews Loves Little Kids program, they cater to families bringing their little ones with toys and special menus. The Hotel Le Concorde in Quebec, for instance, has a kid’s closet full of baby blankets, books, car seats and a baby bathtub.
Hard Rock Chicago
If you’re heading to the windy city the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago is a good option with their Nursing Mother’s Amenity program that provides hospital grade breast pumps and accessories. It also features helpful in-room amenities for breastfeeding mothers such as microwaves, mini-refrigerators, ice packs for transportation and mini cooler bags.
Travel with Baby: A Useful Primer