Between holidays, birthdays, and family events, having to travel with a newborn is likely in their first few years of life. If you are a homebody like me, this may sound like more effort than its worth. In our house, we are still in the season of life where often it is much easier (and more enjoyable) to say no and enjoy some homegrown fun. In reality, taking a vacation with a baby (or multiple tots) is really just re-locating the entire house for a week and following the same routine. I mean, that can’t just be me?!
Nonetheless, we have traveled on planes and 11+ hour car rides multiple times during this season. We have two November babies, and we live away from family, so the holidays have been a popular traveling time with two newborns. My anxiety the first time was THROUGH THE FREAKIN ROOF. I totally understand and hope to alleviate another mama’s stress. If you find yourself prepping for some upcoming travel with a newborn or toddler check out some of these tips to make your trip (literal) smooth sailing!
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Snack Attack Game On Point
Maybe your kids are not like mine, but for us a great snack cures all. Depending on your method of travel, your snack game plan of attack may differ but needs to be strong regardless. For long car rides, prepare all bottles and sippy cups ahead when possible and keep a small cooler for drinks/milk. If nursing, you can snag a car adapter for your pump and feed the baby fresh milk as you drive. Pack a variety of snacks and a crap ton of them. This prevents extra drive thru and gas station stops and keeps the kids motivated and semi-healthy. Our go to snacks include containers of fruit pre-cut (blueberries, apples, berries, orange slices etc.), breakfast bars (our favorites are KIND kids and nature’s bakery), cheese sticks, and peanut butter sandwiches already made.
Not fancy, but keeps kids motivated (When they are awake!). For airplane travel, options may be a bit more limited but still stand true. Use the airport markets and stores to stock up on some kid favorite munchies and grab some toddler safe hand wipes and table wipes for the airplane trays. Yes, this germaphobe mama needs you to do that embarrassing mom thing like me by wiping everything down. We have found the BEST accessory for travel for keeping those little hands clean. We use our Suds2Go hand washer before eating anything or anytime we are going to get back in the car after an activity. The kids love it, and its much safer/more effective than hand sanitizer (especially for the littles). Seriously, a game changer for trips, hikes, and any germy visits.
I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to plan around your children’s sleep schedule as much as possible. Sometimes you do not have a choice depending on flight times or work schedules, but if you do absolutely try. We plan our car drives for overnight since our littles will sleep in their car seats. My husband gets off of work and goes straight to bed to take a nap while I finish any car packing. We head out around 9-10 and keep the girls up late and they sleep all the way through.
I sleep better in the car than my husband, so I usually sleep in the back with the girls. Because of them sleeping in car seats, I do sit in the back with them so that I can be closer for any assistance. With airplanes, we have always used a baby carrier when boarding and finding our seats for each of them, which usually leads to a quick nap at least for the beginning of the trip. Newborns can sleep a ton, so sometimes using that on your side when trying to travel with a newborn is key.
We have designated “travel” toys which are nothing more than toys they already own that we hide away and use for long trips. The girls think the toys are new again, and stay engaged for pretty extended amounts of time. We do break into the electronics depending on the length either through car DVDs or iPhone videos as needed. I have watched “Finding Nemo” more times that I can count. We do not have new cars either, so we snagged these dual car DVD players for our truck and that have held up great!
This is probably great advice for most of us regardless of age, but especially with little ones in tow. Pack with a purpose and pack enough to feel comfortable, without overdoing it. Make sure all essentials are covered for baby basics and safety ie. car seats, pack n plays, bottle/feeding equipment etc but don’t go crazy! Every time I travel I bring the items absolutely needed (carseats and wubbanubs) and then use my mama network to borrow from friends during our trip. Borrow, beg, rent, snag deals off Facebook Marketplace. Make it easy on yourself with your pack strategy!
Instagram Worthy Pics
When in doubt because both toddlers are melting down in the airport or you are dangling your boob over your nursing baby in the car seat- take instagram worthy pics to savor the memories and get some laughter going. Laughter is the best medicine when everything derails and there will be times when it does. Live in the moment, Mama. They won’t be little for long.
Travel with a newborn is tough all around. When all else fails, decline invitations for travel until all children are potty trained and can carry their own belongings. We haven’t made it there yet, but I will be sure to update you when we are.
Cheers to your traveling adventures!
All the best,