Traveling with an infant can be very stressful. The weather is getting nicer and places are opening back up. Holiday’s are approaching and more and more people are ready to get back to visiting family and friends. Maybe you’re a veteran traveler, or maybe you’re a new parent, ready to to have your little one meet the rest of their family for the first time. Regardless, you’ll want a smooth sailing trip, because traveling with an infant is hard enough, right? So here are my 5 tips to traveling with an infant. Breastfeeding too? Keep reading!
Plan ahead if you’re traveling with an infant
This will be the basis on every other tip that follows. I cannot emphasize this enough. PLAN AHEAD. Gone are the days of those spontaneous trips around the country. No more throwing a few things in a suitcase, hopping in the 2-seater🚗, and cruising down I95. Oh no. Traveling with an infant requires a bit of planning, not only for their well being and safety of your child, but for your sanity as well. So, check your route times and check to see TSA policies at the airport you’re visiting (if you have pumped milk or formula you’ll want to know their procedures for testing it). Speaking of planning ahead….
Passports are needed for infants too
If you plan on traveling with an infant out of the country, make sure to have all your documents in order well before your trip. This includes passports. Say what?! Yes, the baby needs a passport too! Any minor under the age of 16 will need both parents present and have a co-signed application in order to get their passport. Also, passport applications can take approximately 6-8 weeks to process. If you have split custody of your child and are looking to get a passport but both biological parents are not physically able to be present, there are steps to take in order to get this done. See why planning ahead is important? For more detailed information on how to obtain a passport for your child, or even yourself, visit USA.gov.
Travel with another adult if possible
Nothing says “What TF was I thinking” more, then traveling with an infant by yourself. Add in additional kids, and you’ll need a stiff drink by the time you get to your destination. So why have I done it numerous times?🤦🏽♀️Yes, I’ve flown with one by myself, flown with one while pregnant, driven with an infant, with 2, and with 3. Life of the military family. But if I could choose, I would most definitely travel with my husband or another adult. As a matter of fact, I refuse to do it by myself anymore.
Why is that? 2 words: Bathroom breaks. Maybe you’ve never thought about it. Maybe you’ve taken for granted the ability to just get up and “potty” without a thought. When you’re on the road with a baby, lots of thought has to go into it, especially with more than one child. When one person has to go, EVERYBODY has to go. And if you don’t have to go, you better try your best because we’re not stopping again in 30 minutes because you “feel it now”. And let’s not forget about the struggle of trying to use a public restroom with your baby in hand and a talkative toddler that wants to let the rest of the customers know just how big your butt has gotten(Thanks Maya).
All I’m saying is, don’t do it to yourself Sis. Have a wingman.
Don’t overdo it. Just pack the Essentials
Sis, you don’t need to pack that heavy jacket “just in case”. You also don’t need all of those toys and books and…Don’t you dare try to fit that Exersaucer in the trunk! Pack light. You don’t need a bunch of toys. My 7 month old has more fun chewing on my watch than he does his own teething ring. It’s ok to throw a few things they might enjoy into the bag, but don’t overthink it. Clothes, diapers, wipes (formula, if you’re not breastfeeding). And if you forget something, it’s likely the CVS up the street will have it for you. Save some space in your suitcase for any shopping you may do *insert evil laugh*
Baby wear if you can
Even if you’re not traveling, I recommend baby wearing. This will save on space so you’re not worrying about a big bulky stroller in the trunk, or trying to push a stroller through the airport and baggage check. My favorite thing about baby wearing? He’s right next to me. That means I’m able to give the ninja slice for any self entitled stranger that may think it’s ok to touch someone else’s baby😡. For you breastfeeding mamas, you can walk around and shop, while feeding baby at the same time! No need to stop what you’re doing to find a place to sit down, baby is right there with easy access.
Now, this question often comes up:
I’m breastfeeding and about to take a long road trip. How can I make this process easier and make sure I maintain my supply?
Well, lets talk about some Do’s and Don’ts of traveling while breastfeeding.
|Do, make frequent stops to your destination. You’ll want to stop about every 2 hours to feed baby/pump and let the baby out the carseat.||Don’t, try to breastfeed your baby while they are in the carseat. If there were a crash, or the car stopped abruptly, the inertia from your body could injure your baby. Also, do not feed baby out of the carseat while the car is moving…Just don’t.|
|Do, bring an adaptor/charger for your breast pump. You can pump while your wingman drives.||Don’t, wait to pump until you arrive at your destination. You can become engorged and cause clogs in your breasts. These can be painful to get out and can also decrease your supply.(Untreated clogs can lead to mastitis)|
|Do, bring a cooler to placed pumped milk in for the ride. Fill it up with ice and hit the road! Link to my fav mini fridge below⬇️||Don’t, push the limit with getting your pumped milk to a cooled space in time. Freshly pumped milk can stay at room temperature for up to 4 hours. We’re entering into Summer and it can get rather warm in your car, even with the A/C on.|
|Do, check with TSA policies beforehand, about transporting breastmilk if you are planning to fly.||Don’t, go to the airport unprepared. Separate the breastmilk from all other liquids. Print off the policies for your reference. Know your rights.|
|Do, plan your trip around your baby’s feeding schedule. Try to leave right after baby has been fed and changed.||Don’t, try and leave at a specific time, not coinciding with baby’s schedule. If you leave before baby is fed and happy, 30 minutes into your car ride you’ll be stopping and dealing with a very cranky tiny human.|
Traveling with an Infant
Helpful Items to make your trip a little smoother(These are NOT affiliate links):
Mini Fridge– This mini fridge will keep you items cool (up to 32 degrees F) or warm (up to 150 degrees F). You can plug this fridge up and store all your freshly pumped breastmilk(and other snacks and drinks) and it will stay chilled for as long as it is in there. I love having this fridge and I keep it on my night stand for those late night pumps so I don’t have to go all the way downstairs to store the milk. I got tired of not being able to go back to sleep😁.
Cleaning Wipes for Pump– Medela quick clean breast pump and accessory wipes. Great for on the go pumping when you’re not able to wash your pump parts.
Baby Carrier– Any baby carrier you feel comfortable with will do. Here is an Ergobaby Carrier. It can hold up to 45 lbs, and supports all positions. Keep that little one close!
Battery Operated Breast pump– We’ll dive into breast pumps in another post. But for this topic specifically, I recommend the Spectra S1 breast pump. This hospital grade pump offers the benefits of pumping without having to plug in to an adaptor.
Well there you have it folks. I hope these 5 tips will help make your Summer travels a little easier. Is there something you’ve found that helps you when you’re on flights or roadtrips with your baby? Comment below!
If there’s any topics you would like to request, feel free to shoot me a message☺️