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Traveling with an Infant and How We Make it Work! #travel

Traveling with an Infant and How we Make it Work
Written by Christina Riley

There’s tons of parenting advice out there, especially when it comes to traveling with an infant. Honestly, here’s the best response for about 99 percent of the things we hear: “What works for your kid may not work for mine!” Basically, it was the same when we wanted to visit new places even after having a child. We heard it all, including “You’ll never get to travel,” so we decided to test that theory. Knowing that we want our little bit to travel through life, we wanted to try as early as possible. It hasn’t been easy in the slightest, and you’re going to see that we’re sharing lessons learned from our mistakes. However, we’ve learned that it’s totally possible to rock out traveling with an infant, and that’s what we’re going to show you now!

Traveling with an Infant

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers

Cloth Diapers for Baby

At home, we cloth diaper. I love the affordability and find stuffing diapers once a week while binge-watching Game of Thrones strangely Zen. We’ve tried to cloth diaper while traveling but found it to be a lot harder than we thought. Pulling the inserts out in and trying to stuff them in the travel bag from the passenger side of our Toyota Camry slowed us down, though diapering in the back of an SUV (like a RAV4) is much more convenient! Traveling with cloth diapers also forced us to carry an entire extra bag just for them. So, when we travel, we use disposable diapers. Call us crazy but that’s what has worked so far.

Responsible Diaper Disposal

Baby thinking about Diaper Disposal

With disposables, we haven’t quite figured out what is “acceptable” when it comes to trashing your diapers. As a parent, I’d have no problem dumping hotel trash that had a diaper in it. I’ve also worked with young diapered children for a long time and bodily fluids/smells from tiny humans no longer phase me. But sometimes, we stay in small BnBs and it feels weird to me to leave our child’s diapers in the trash. We still bring our large travel wet bag with us to dump our diapers in. Not only does it make me feel like a good Samaritan, but it also helps when you’re changing the kiddo say on a random pull off in the middle of some unknown backroad with no trashcans in sight! How do you handle diaper disposal while traveling?

Sleep

Baby Not Sleeping on a Blanket

Surprisingly, for our kid, travel hasn’t messed with her routine too much. Now, excuse me while I run and knock on wood, buy a magic potion, and kneel to the sleep gods at the base of Mt. Slumbertumberpajamaland. We let our daughter sleep wherever she is and ideally plan for baby-wearing her in our Ergo360 for at least an hour, so she will hopefully pass out later. At night, she sleeps in her travel bassinet which has been incredible and has saved us a lot of worry about where to put her. It’ll be a sad day when she outgrows that bassinet and we have to find a new alternative!

Disclaimer: As a new parent, I’ve also learned to NEVER TALK ABOUT SLEEP. Like ever. Because either your kid is sleeping or they’re not. Either you can commiserate with other parents over the countless hours of sleep you’re not getting or you’re the lone wolf where your kid IS sleeping and you don’t want to rub it in.

Sleep Routine (?)

Baby Travel Bassinet

Her normal routine (for now, because of #babies) goes out the window, but we still adhere to the nightly bedtime rituals and time that we have been following since birth. That means we’re back to the hotel or BnB by 7 pm. Places like The Pines in Brevard were perfect because it’s a cozy set up for Mom and Dad to hang out and chill after the kiddo goes to sleep. Otherwise, we’re stuck in a dark room staring at our phones until one or both of us pass out.

Can a baby sleep well in a hotel?

Hotel sleep with a baby is terrifying. You know you’re kid is going to wake up in the middle of the night, but the question is always, “How loud is she going to be?” and “Will I get a nasty note slipped under my door?” This is the part of traveling with a baby that stresses us out the most. I never expect my kid to sleep through the night. I’m 31 and still don’t sleep through the night! But having an extra element of other people around you that aren’t as gracious about those cute 3 am screams/babbles/demands for milk can be intimidating. We try our best. It’s all we can do. And on weekends where she’s waking up a lot more frequently, we just add extra money to our coffee budget!

What to Pack for Baby Travel

Hiking with a Baby

The short answer for “what do I pack for traveling with an infant?” is “Not much.” That should shorten your baby travel checklist because here’s the thing. Mommas with giant bags. I’m looking at you. When we travel, I will bring one or two of her favorite toys that I know will “chill her out” if she’s freaking out, and they’re usually for the car. But when we’re walking around, she’s pretty content most of the time because her entire world is brand new to her. All those new people coming up and staring at her, the new smells, and the whole new environment is fascinating to her. I’d rather her look at all of that than being distracted by the same toy we have a home.

To Overpack or Not?

Baby Travel Toy

Your baby travel checklist should definitely include clothes, diapers, wipes, pajamas, pacifiers, favorite chill out toys, a baby carrier, and a stroller, which depends on where we are going and if the area is stroller friendly. We also bring a blanket for chilly days, but we don’t pack anything that doesn’t get used on a daily basis. We don’t have a travel stroller because our everyday stroller does the job. We try to live minimally at home and that means we want to travel minimally as well. Sure, there have been plenty of times we’ve forgotten things, but in the long run, it hasn’t hindered our travel. As long as we have diapers, the baby, and each other, we’ve found a way to travel as new parents!

Things We’re Looking Forward to…

Baby Travel the World

Flying with a baby is something I’ve tried to put off for as long as possible, but my inner bucket list keeps growing by the day. Many of the world’s best places to travel with a baby are quite far away, so we’d better get our little bit on a plane before it’s too late! I think my hubby is more excited for this than me, but he wants to hike and carry our daughter on his shoulders while doing so. I’m sure that our list will keep growing, but what about you? If you’re a new or expecting parent who wants to travel, what are some things that you’re looking forward to while traveling with your baby?

Final Thoughts and Yours, Too!

Happy Baby Travel

Ever since our first baby travel experience to New Bern, NC at eight weeks old, we’ve learned so much and are always figuring out something new (to us!). We over packed for the baby and forgot everything for ourselves! (including toothbrushes, cell phone chargers, and even underwear!) This is how we’ve made baby travel for now. Because as any new parent will tell you, as soon as you have it figured out, those darn kiddos change on you!

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About the author

Christina Riley

Christina is an accidental photographer who keeps getting better and better with every shot. Don’t you agree? She also dabbles in writing and comes up with great thoughts!

6 Comments

  • When it comes to kids it seems a lot of people think it is too hard to travel, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s just different.
    My Ergo has been a life saver with all 3 kids. I don’t leave home without it!

    • Ergos are the greatest, huh? I might regret it but I’m envious of those guys who carry their kids on their shoulders. Can’t wait for that but in the meantime, the Ergo will do its work. Thanks for stopping by, Jillian!

  • These are all good tips. I have three kids, a boy and twin girls. I took my son to London when he was five months old. It was such a fantastic trip I took him to Spain the next year. When he was not yet two, I found out I was having twins, and was sure I’d never travel again, but I took all three kids for our first airplane trip when my twin girls were 5 months old (they were 9 weeks premature, so they were really tiny). We took the kids to Europe when the girls were two. Was I crazy? What I tell people is that, believe it or not, in some ways, travel with kids is never easier than when they are babies, especially before they can walk and if they are strictly breastfeeding. I encourage all my friends/family to definitely take a great trip while they are on their maternity leaves! I agree with you completely on packing light, especially for airplane trips. You can generally get anything you need wherever you are going, so keep it light and get it when you get there. I’d pack enough diapers for a day or two, and then buy when I got there. I also never used a travel stroller. They always looked too flimsy and uncomfortable to me. I always brought our sturdiest and most comfortable stroller and cozy blanket. I wanted to be able to keep going during nap time, and I wanted a stroller my kid(s) would comfortably sleep in. I was a worse parent than you, and we didn’t necessarily keep to our routine for bed time. Especially with international travel, sleep times were difficult, so we would tuck our baby in to his cozy stroller and go out and do things in the evening, and he would sleep like he was in his bed, and we’d transfer him to his crib when we got to the hotel. My most important piece of advice for traveling with babies is DON’T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS! If you want to do it, you can, and whatever parts suck only suck temporarily!

    • Thank you so much, Jean! So cool that you and your kids have been able to go to so many wonderful place. I definitely wouldn’t say you are worse as a parent. We all have our styles and I’m sure your kids have turned out just fine. Thanks again for sharing your experiences and for taking a moment to comment.

  • We love traveling with our almost 5 month old. In fact, while in utero, he traveled to Italy, Vancouver, Toronto, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, New York and all over NC! Recently, we spent a week in Chicago – it was a learning experience and not like our previous travel, but still amazing! We are planning a week in Portland and eventually a trip to Europe next summer. The best lesson we’ve learned is to be flexible. Things won’t be the same as home but that’s why you travel!

    • Great to hear, Stephanie! Very cool to know that more people are traveling with little ones. Out of all the places you’ve listed, what was your favorite? Thanks for stopping by!

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