Before I was just a traveler. Now, I'm a mom dragging along a tiny human with large needs (and lots of baggage!). We recently took baby G on his first airplane trip – and first international trip. We’d been practicing pretty well with road trips so we should’ve had it all down-pat. But as with anything, there are some things that rose to the top. Here are my top 5 tips when you bring your baby traveling with you.
1. Bring a baby washcloth
Everywhere else we’ve gone the washcloths have never been a problem, but the ones we had in our room were so big and bulky! I couldn’t get behind G’s ears the way I’d like to normally. It’s such a small thing, so throw a washcloth or two in your baby traveling bag right now.
2. Pack a baby blanket. Or two.
If your husband or partner is like mine, they like their room cooooooooooold to sleep in. Add in the fact that the crib provided only came with a fitted sheet and then you can see how we ended up improvising with a bathrobe folded over twice plus a large towel to keep baby G warm at night. For the record, I did pack receiving blankets (that we use for dribbles and drips mostly) and a fleece blanket (in case the plane was freezing), but all of those together weren’t like his cover at home. Make the space in your baby traveling bag for a thicker blanket. Even if you don't use it for warmth maybe you can use it in place of tip number 3!
3. Don’t forget a play mat.
These are just so portable nowadays. We have one that’s fabric and the two pieces arching over top are easily folded into a suitcase. Knowing that we wouldn’t have the conveniences at home of multiple toys and places while the baby traveled, this was a godsend. It was also a nice respite from him being held all the time.
4. If you feed formula… bring a funnel and check what kind of refrigerator you’ll have (or not).
I hauled my bottle warmer. I hauled lots of bottle accoutrements. I didn’t really think ahead that the refrigerator was really just a cooler for drinks. I wasn’t going to put his formula in that fridge because it wasn’t cold enough. So, we ended up shoveling the powder into the bottles themselves making it look like a Columbian drug running operation from our hotel room (I’m certain that’s what the maid was thinking at some point!). I have two funnels at home. Did I pack one? Nope. It’s in his baby traveling bag now for next time though!
5. Bottle drying rack.
Whether you feed formula or not, having a drying rack is crazy convenient. I use it for bottles (of course) but also for sippy cups, chewies, toys, bowls, etc. It’s a convenient way to corral all those things off a counter where housekeeping might knock them off and get them dirty all over again. You’re not going to have that dishwasher to dry things in, so get yourself a portable plastic drying rack with a tray underneath it. One that is light and compact, folds or comes apart is perfect for your baby travel bag.
If you’re travelling internationally, don’t expect that gate-checked stroller to be waiting on the jet way when you get back into the U.S.. Your gate-checked items will be claimed once you clear customs and retrieve your luggage so pack accordingly because you are about to schlep everything on your back and in your arms. A shoulder- or backpack-type baby traveling bag works wonders in these situations.