Traveling With A Baby: Helpful Tips
Trying to plan your life around the arrival of a new family member can be stressful. But sometimes life takes an unexpected turn and you may find yourself having to travel with your new baby sooner than you’d planned. Maybe you urgently have to visit family, perhaps you had a non-refundable holiday planned but your little one arrived sooner than expected. To try and help you prepare yourself to travel with a newborn baby we’ve put together an easy guide to newborn baby travel preparations. With a packing list and some advice from a mum who had to travel for 2.5 hours with a barely 1.5-month-old having made a rookie mistake.
The Personal Checklist
Before you can think of your baby, you need to think of yourself. Make sure you have everything you need before you head off. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget the essentials in heat of preparation. It won’t do you any good to get to your destination having forgotten your underwear. Then you’re just stuck trying to figure out when you can get the time to go out and buy some more.
- Any important medication
- Enough clothing for the time you’re gone – and backups in case the baby throws up on you.
- Toiletries (in a clear toiletry bag if you’re flying
– hair care (brush, bobbles, shampoo, conditioner, etc…)
– contact lens care (you can get a nifty ultrasonic cleaner for long journeys)
- Phone and charger
- Post-baby care supplies (breastfeeding pads, pantyliners, etc…)
- Any outdoor clothes you might need (walking boots, raincoat)
- A good book for the journey
- Snacks and drinks
The Newborn Baby Travel Checklist
Ensuring you’ve got everything you need to travel with a newborn baby is extremely important. Not just clothes, but changing supplies, food, etc. Here is a quick list of things you’ll want to remember before you set off on your journey. We’ve also taken the liberty of providing some recommended products for anything you might be missing!
There are several things you need to consider when it comes to arranging your baby’s food. Are they breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Are they capable of having solid purees? how often do they get hungry? How often will you get the chance to feed them? Now we can’t tell you how often your baby wants to feed, but we do have a few tips for food storage and usage whilst you travel.
Bottle Formula Feeding
It is recommended that a formula bottle can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours. If you make the bottle with boiling water then you have an extra half hour or so of cool-down time before it reaches room temp. So that gives you a good 2-2.5 hours of travel time before you have to stop for a feed or risk having to throw away the bottle. HOWEVER. We have a fantastic tip for those of you that may be worried about leaving milk sat out for long periods of time. Or even for those of you that have babies that feed less frequently than every 2 hours. A thermos water bottle.
By having a thermos water bottle you can keep hot water on hand for up to 12 hours. So you can make a fresh bottle of formula whenever it is needed. Just be sure to remember the cool-down time, as you won’t be able to cool the bottle down quickly unless you have a mini icebox with you. I personally used the Zeusworks bottle for my son and it was a lifesaver.
Even if you are breastfeeding, it is worth keeping a bottle handy if possible. Fortunately, breastmilk has a lot more staying power than formula. Because it is naturally held at body temperature, it can be perfectly fine for your baby to drink 6-8 hours after being pumped (so long as you’re not keeping it sat in front of the heater). Though you may want to invest in a USB-powered bottle warmer to help maintain a good temperature.
The great thing with a USB bottle warmer is that you can purchase a battery pack to go with it and not have to worry about the temperature of the bottle dipping before you can use it. I’ve managed to find some incredibly cute UBS bottle warmers that combine substance and style.
If your baby is old enough to enjoy some solids such as apple puree, then some backup food in the form of a puree pouch is an absolute must. Even if you don’t use it, some small pouches of puree make fantastic emergency backups if you find yourself in a spot where stopping for a bottle feed isn’t an option. You can simply feed them some solids to tide them over until you can stop properly.
Next to food, changing supplies are the second most important thing on your baby’s travel list. Something that proved incredibly helpful for myself and my husband when we went away was a travel changing mat. You can get some travel mats that include pockets for nappies and wipes. We found ours extraordinarily helpful when we had to change our baby on the back seat of the car. It saved us having to mess around with a full changing bag.
Everything Else You Will Need For Your Newborn
Food and changing supplies are easily the biggest and most important things to pack. Everything else can be re-purchased if needs be. But obviously, it’s preferable to just have everything anyway! So here’s a quick list of everything else you’re going to want to pack for your baby before setting off.
- Spare bottles – remember to bring extras outside of any pre-made milk you may have with you.
- A lightweight pushchair / baby carrier – you’ve got to be able to get around with them.
- Clothes, clothes, and more clothes – more than you’re going to think you need.
- Hats, mittens, coats, vests, and jumpers – you need to cover all bases since they can’t regulate their own temperature.
- 2-3 blankets – it’s better to have more than you need than not enough.
- Muslin cloths – an absolute must when feeding a newborn.
- A travel newborn cot – it is best not to assume that where you are heading will have one.
- Travel blackout blinds – not just great for newborns, but will be helpful for years to come.
- Means of bottle sterilisation – be it microwave sterilising, or Milton.
- Baby suncream – Childs farm suncream tends to be the preferred brand for newborns and young babies.
- Portable nightlight – Not only does this make night feeds much easier, but provides soothing light for your baby in an unfamiliar place. Our son is now 1 and still loves his touch-activated VAVA nightlight that I used to use for his night feeds.
- Baby first aid kit – medicines, antiseptic cream, nappy rash cream, medicated ointments (if any are needed).
Double, Triple, and Quadruple Check Everything
Before setting off make absolutely sure you have everything you need. This is coming from the voice of experience. My husband and I pre-made 2 bottles for our baby before setting off. We were going on a non-refundable glamping trip with a functional kitchen, so dealing with the baby whilst we were there wouldn’t be a problem. Only we got over halfway into our 2.5 hours journey when our 1.5-month-old son started to get fidgety.
We had left his bottles at home, with no spare bottles in the bag. We were nowhere near anywhere that sold NUK bottles (the only ones he could use). So as you can imagine, it was a fiasco. Therefore I implore you to make sure you have absolutely everything before you leave the house! You never think you’re going to forget your baby’s food until you do.
How long can you travel in a car with a newborn?
When looking to travel with a newborn by car it’s best to try and stop every hour, both to stretch your own legs and get your baby out of their seat. Just like anyone, being stuck in a car seat for an extended period can give them a sore back and bum. The maximum amount of time you should leave a newborn in their seat is two hours. Though generally speaking newborn babies get hungry every couple of hours anyway.
When you stop, remove the baby from their seat for at least 10 minutes before continuing. Try not to transfer them straight to a pushchair if you can. They need this time to straighten up and stretch out a bit.
How long should you wait to travel with a newborn?
In terms of knowing how early to travel with newborn babies, they are generally able to travel anywhere after two days of age. However, there are a few things to consider before heading off on your jollies.
If you’re travelling to a heavily populated area, such as a town or city break, you will want to wait until they are at least 3 months old. A baby’s immune system isn’t fully developed before this age. This means if you were to travel to somewhere crowded there is a heightened chance of them becoming ill. Which I don’t need to tell you will put a dampener on your holiday time.
If it’s a secluded holiday, where you’re wanting to stay in one place and relax with your family, then you could go sooner. Though you may want to avoid going much sooner than 2 months. This is predominantly to give your new baby a chance to settle in at home before moving them around. As well as give yourself some downtime following the recent birth and arrival of your new bundle of joy.
Can you travel with newborn by plane?
Yes. It is worth checking first with your selected airline about any restrictions or requirements they may have regarding travel with a newborn baby. But yes, you can travel by air with a newborn if need be. Newborn babies are usually fine to travel by around 2 days of age, but again this may vary depending on the airline.
Is it safe to drive long distance with a newborn?
Yes. Travelling long distances with a baby does not have any negative impact on them. It is more a case of preparation for you. You need to ensure that you will have everything you may need for your baby during the period of time you will be travelling. e.g. enough formula (if needed), stimulation, blankets, changing supplies, change of clothes, etc… We have provided a full list of recommended packing for a newborn in the above article.
Can a bumpy car ride hurt a newborn?
This is not something you need to worry about. So long as you have secured your baby properly within their seat they will be fine. Newborns are far more resilient than we give them credit for. Car travel with a newborn is not unlike car travel with any other human. If it’s a particularly bumpy ride there is a chance they may wake up. But newborn babies are very well protected and supported by their car seats to ensure they find road travel as comfortable as possible.