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A road trip with the baby can be fun, but you have to be well prepared. Depending on how long the ride will be, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure a good trip.
First, make sure you pack the right essentials for the trip. If you are breastfeeding, great, that's one thing that you know you have covered, just be sure to have your pump with you, should it be needed, you breast pads, bottle etc.
If you are formula feeding, the best thing to take along are individual ready to drink cans or bottles. Most brands have one or the other, and they are very convenient and easy. You just pour into a bottle and go, no mixing messes or extra water bottles to tote around. Some brands even come with disposable nipples that attach to the bottle that the formula came in, it doesn't get easier than that! Check on Diapers.com and Babies R Us for these, or even some local supermarkets may have them.
Another option, specially for shorter trips, is to prepare a few bottles and put them in a small cooler, this can work well if the baby doesn't mind cold formula.
If your baby is on solids, but not eating grown up food yet, pack a few jars of baby food you can feed him at rest stops or restaurants along the way. Or if traveling with a spouse or friend the passenger can feed the baby while on the road.
Also, pack your diaper bag and keep it in the back seat for easy reach whenever necessary. Have another bag full of diapers and wipes that you will use once you reach your destination, but make sure to have the regular diaper bag close by and ready to go. When the baby 'goes' you don't want to be digging around in the car for a clean diaper and a changing pad! Another thing to keep in mind is if the baby is teething; make sure to pack the right items in the diaper bag as well. Things such as Orajel, Tylenol, teething tablets, rings, biscuits, whichever work for your baby, be sure to have them close by in the diaper bag.
As far as other essentials to take along, make sure to have a few favorite toys for the baby to play with in the car seat, extra pacifiers and a couple of blankets.
Be sure to check the next tip for what to take along on trips or vacations.
Now that you have a baby, packing will take on a whole new meaning! No doubt you'll need to take much more stuff than you did before baby arrived. The important thing is to learn to pack the right items so that you don't end up looking like a pack mule when you walk out the door.
First, if you are going on a trip to someone's home, as that of a friend or family member, you want to be sure you have the basics. A place to sleep, a place to eat and a place to hang out and play.
Some things to consider taking or to get once you get there:
If you are going to a hotel then you will need mostly the same items, but you can request a crib when you make your reservation, so you won't have to worry about a sleeping place for your baby. But bring a couple of baby's blankets just in case. You really won't need a high chair either, since you'll most likely be eating at restaurants and they all provide them for you.
Things like diapers, wipes, baby food and formula can be found at any supermarket, so you don't necessarily have to take those if you don't want to, especially if going by plane. Just take enough for your trip and then stock up when you get there.
An exception, however, is if you are going out of the country. You may not want to rely on what's in the stores when it comes to formula and food in some foreign countries. Europe is more apt to having trustworthy baby products, but some less advanced countries may not. So use your judgement and do some research before your trip. make sure you know what you should take and what you can purchase safely overseas.
Something that you need to establish when you are a new parent and going on a trip, is where will the baby sleep. Depending on where you are going and how you are getting there, you should decide whether you will take something with you or get it when you are at your destination.
If you are going to a hotel, the easiest thing to do, of course, is to request a crib for your room. So make sure the hotel you book with has cribs available (most do).
If you are going to stay at a friend's or relative's home and driving there, the best thing to transport is a traveling pack-n-play or a foldable baby tent with an inflatable mattress. If your vehicle is large enough you should even be able to fitin a folding mini crib, if that's what you want to take. Another option, if plausible, is to get a mini crib while you are visiting and then leave it there for future trips.
But if you have no other option than to bring what he baby will sleep in, then take what works best for baby. It all depends on how easy it is for your baby to sleep on other places other than her crib. Some babies sleep anywhere, so it's up to you on what's easiest to put in the car. If your baby is more prone to sleeplessness when not at home, then get whatever is closest to what she sleeps in at home; most likely a folding portable crib will work best.
If traveling by plane, then obviously taking a portable crib won't be very practical, so you may consider having something set up at your destination. Some options include, buying a crib or pack-n-play once at your destination that you can keep there when you visit, renting a crib, or taking a folding baby tent (these fold into a small bag that isn't much bigger than a carry-on).
If none of these are feasible then the next best thing is to take a portable pack-n-play that folds and fits in a small bag with a handle. You can check that in right with your luggage.
With most babies it is fairly easy to go out for a nice dinner. Small babies can sit in their infant car seats and take a snooze while you eat, older ones can sit in a high chair and join in on the family table fun. When babies get a bit cranky, however, the dinner enjoyment can get quite unappealing very quickly!
One thing to try for soothing a fussy and probably tired little none is movement. As common knowledge as this is, one would be surprised how few times frustrated parents try this, or automatically just pick the baby up and walk her ten times around the parking lot.
Before getting that to go box and hurriedly making a beeline to the exit, try to put the baby into the stroller and simply rock it back and forth right there by your table. This usually works to calm a tired baby and puts him to sleep.
It also helps if you bring a toy or two that plays soft sleeping music that you can place in the stroller while you do the rocking.
A great way to take your baby out is in a front pack style carrier. Babies love to be carried and to be close to mommy, so the front carriers are wonderful for this purpose. Choose one that is safe and comfortable for both you and the little one.
Some things to consider:
1. Make sure that the carrier is sturdy enough
2. Buy one made by a reputable company that makes good baby products
3. Try it on with baby before you buy to make sure she fits in it comfortably
4. If you will be using it often, make sure your carrier has a lot of support and holds baby in a sitting position, with his knees bent around you.
5. Get a carrier that has thick padded straps so that they don't dig into you after prolonged periods of carrying your baby.
While a summer beach adventure will easily entertain children of all ages, what baby gear you pack can make a significant difference in everyone's enjoyment. Keep in mind that the beach offers significant exposure to rough elements like sun, sand and water. While also a great source of play, these three items also present unique concerns. For sun protection, consider a beach cabana or pop-up play tent. A large variety of options exist from the smaller baby style to a large family event. A great example of this type of baby gear is the Under the Sea Beach Cabana by Pacific Play Tents. Look for a beach cabana with good airflow and anchoring pegs and always check the safety with websites like www.consumerreports.org. There are even versions available with UV ratings and places to hang play toys for younger infants. For the mess of sticky beach sand, bring lots of large towels and some baby powder. A simple trick to remove beach sand is to dust your sandy skin with baby powder helping the sand to easily fall off. Use towels to protect the seats, baby gear, and car, for a more comfortable ride home. While the sound of beach waves will soothe your young baby to sleep, water also can create a potential play hazard. Utilize your backyard baby gear at the beach and bring a small wading pool with you. The inexpensive compactable inflatable kinds are perfect to carry in your beach tote and fill with ocean water allowing for safer beach water play.