Traveling with a baby can take any rookie mom out of her comfort zone. At home, we get used to having our cars packed with must-have supplies; and the fact that a laundry machine is just a stone’s throw from the site of our latest LDS (Leaky Diaper Situation). But on the road, it’s a whole different story. And while it’s tempting to bring everything but the kitchen sink on a trip, there are a few things you can probably leave behind to lighten the load.
1) Bulky portable cribs – Before you pack up that huge Pack N’ Play, check and see if your destination offers one. A hotel will put a crib in your room for you. Plus, your parents may live next door to someone who has got one they can loan for a few days. (My parents purchased portable cribs to keep at their own houses, which they use for all their grandchildren.) But remember, really young babies can sleep in their car seats overnight. (Inside, of course.) Another tip? When my son was a tiny newborn, we grabbed the contoured changing pad from the top of his changing table to bring on a road trip. We swaddled him each night and laid him in the center of it.
2) A million diapers - Remember: Unless you’re heading out on a Safari somewhere, diapers are sold where you’re going. So don’t overdo it. If you use cloth diapers at home, consider going disposable for a few days while you’re on the go. (It’ll make life easier.) But if you already use disposable at home, just bring enough to get you through your travel time, or one per hour of travel to be safe, and plan to stock up on the other side of your trip. You could also order them online so they’re delivered by the time you arrive.
3) Bathing supplies – Young babies can actually get by with hardly any formal bathing for quite some time. So just use a warm washcloth to clean their face and neck when you need to. Or consider a truly travel-friendly tub option like the Puj sink tub: it’s impressively slim and lightweight, so it’ll fit right into your suitcase.
4) Books for the plane ride – I know what you’re thinking: Now’s the time to catch up on all that reading you’ve been meaning to do! Spoiler alert: You’re probably not going to read them. (Sorry.) Just take one, if you must.
5) Baby food – Just like diapers, they have that stuff wherever you’re off to. If it’s not coming from your boobs, you’ll find it at a grocery store. Bring enough food or formula to get you through a long day of travel and then head out to the store (or send your partner) after baby has gone to bed for the night. Even if you like making your own baby food, remember: The last thing you need is a pouch or a glass jar exploding among your belongings en route to your host city.
One last tip: Bring a healthy supply of plastic bags to contain soiled clothing, used bibs, and other messes you create along the way to your holiday destination. You’ll thank me later.
Heading abroad? Get tips for traveling internationally with a baby over on RookieMoms.com.