Fuss Free Vacations with Baby
Have your vacations been on hold now that you have a baby?
If so, we ought to reveal to you now that the baby years are actually among the best to travel with your child! If you can’t imagine how, let us convince you now!
IT’S NOT ALL THAT BAD
Vacationing with a little baby is really not as complicated as you think, for firstly, baby happens to be really ‘portable’! They can’t move around much on their own yet, so they won’t try to run off at the airport or scamper down the aisle when the “fasten seatbelt” sign is on. Ask any parents of slightly older children if they have it that easy and you’ll know what we mean. Babies don’t talk either, so there won’t be any repetitions of “Are we there yet?” coming from your little bundle!
Of course, travelling with an infant can present its own set of minor issues, such as crying on planes, messy accidents and diaper changes at odd hours (and in odd places too!). Some might not take to having their routines disrupted if they’re accustomed to a regular eating and sleeping schedule at home. Still, there are always ways to go around things if you know how to, so here’s where we come in with some handy tips!
BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
There are several things you might have to take care of before you leave. Here are some of the important ones to see to.
Bring baby for a check-up.
Your little one is more vulnerable to germs than you are, so before you head off anywhere, a visit to your paediatrician’s office for a complete check-up is essential for your peace of mind. The doctor needs to know where you’re travelling to, so that he can see to it that all baby’s vaccines are up-to-date. While you’re there, you could also obtain your doctor’s advice on medicines to take with you on your trip in case of fever, flu or coughs during your vacation.
Stock up your diaper bag.
It never hurts to be prepared for anything, including delays during travels and such. At times like these, carrying extra diapers, bottles and baby wipes will go a long way to prevent the distress of running out of baby stuff when you need them the most.
It may be more to carry, but make it a point to also carry extra baby food and formula, plus changes of clothes for both baby and you. Trust us, you will thank your lucky stars you have something clean to change into in case baby decides to spit up, pee or poop on you mid-flight!
Handy tip: Bring some painter’s tape!
Nope, not for home improvement projects. Painter’s tape is easily removable and can be added to any surface for baby proofing a room. Cover electrical outlets, tape up loose wires and secure any drawers or areas that you don’t want baby to explore. Binder clips are best for securing baby’s blanket to the stroller for wind and sun protection, as well as privacy while napping.
Pack a changing mat
Never underestimate the convenience of this item! With this little mat rolled out, just about any surface can become a clean and safe nappy-changing station. If you do not own a changing mat yet, pick one which is compact when rolled up or folded so it will not take up much space. Some good diaper bags include this item as a set.
Don’t forget about baby’s toys!
Clip-on toys can easily connect to a baby’s outfit, making it easy to keep infants distracted while waiting in line or sitting at the gate. At times of need, for example when baby is being especially cranky, it would be great to have something the little one has never seen before to keep him or her busy. Note: You might also want to download a video or a couple of baby-friendly apps for your little fuss pot’s entertainment!
AT AIRPORT SECURITY:
Airports generally allow baby food and milk outside the normal liquid regulations, as long as you’re travelling with an infant and the amount is “reasonable”. If you are travelling with a baby or infant you can carry a reasonable amount of liquid and liquidised food for the baby or infant for your journey. To assist security screening though, it’s best not to carry them is flasks. Spare supplies must be packed in your carry on baggage. You can either carry the liquids as part of your liquid bag allowance, in which case the standard liquid rules apply; or alternatively separately in containers. Following x-ray screening, security officers may need to carry out routine checks on these items.
Limitations however, still exist on medicines, lotions or anything else you may typically carry with you for your baby. Diaper creams, lotions or other items are available in travel sizes, and if you have a liquid medication you must carry, pour it into 3-ounce containers.
ON THE PLANE:
Dealing with ear pressure during take-off and landing
The changes in air pressure during take-off and landing can cause pressure in baby’s ears. Let the little one suck on a bottle or pacifier during these times. Both will help baby to swallow continuously, which helps to clear the ears. A bottle or pacifier will also help keep baby quiet during the flight so as not to disrupt the other passengers’ flight.
Make peace with other flyers
Baby is bound to get fussy during a long flight. Keep the peace with your other passengers by offering them earplugs to drown out the sound of crying. Or, you can even offer to buy their drink or snack when the flight attendant comes around, as a gesture to indicate your appreciation for their patience in putting up with the racket your baby is causing.
Spring a seat for baby
While it’s a fact that children younger than two years can be “lap babies” on airplanes for free, it’s still much safer to have your child strapped to a baby car seat during take-off, landing and turbulence, instead of being in your arms. Baby car seats are actually just as safe in airplanes as they are in a ground vehicle. Having a seat for baby also means that your hands are fully free to eat, read a book, etc.
It will be for the best if your flight has the fewest connecting stops as possible. If you do however need to book a flight with a layover, choose one with a relatively long stop to avoid having to run through the airport with your child and all your baby gear. Also, find out if there is a play area at the airport for little ones.
Keep baby’s stroller handy
Trying to manoeuvre through a crowded airport loaded with bags and a baby is no easy feat. To make things easier for you, bring your stroller and use it as a trolley (just as you would on any outing with baby!). Most airlines allow strollers to be gate-checked, so you’ll have it until departure time and immediately upon landing.
Get off the plane last
Sure, if your baby is crying, and people are getting annoyed, you might want to get off the flight as fast as you can! However, with all of baby’s toys, snacks and necessities, you don’t want to risk leaving something behind. Use the time to gather all of your belongings. When you’re done, there will be more room to make it off the plane quickly and easily with baby.
ON THE GROUND
Book the right room(s)
If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.
Stick to the routine
If your baby’s bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.
Travel Cot? Why not!
If you’re up for it, a travel cot is incredibly convenient if you’re travelling with a baby! Many models these days are competitively priced and are exceptionally light weight too. Travel cots are made in such a way that they fold up easily and most come in their own travel case for easy portability. Bringing along baby’s own cot will mean a better night’s sleep for everyone and also, more quality naps to keep crankiness at bay.
Set up a diaper-changing station
Once you’re settled in, the first thing you might want to do is to designate a spot in the room for diaper changing. If you have to, place a disposable changing pad on top of a towel. Then, stack a bunch of diapers on it. Have all other items such as diaper cream, baby clothes and a pack of wipes placed nearby as well. With everything already set up and in place, there will be no rummaging through suitcases in search of diapers, wipes or creams.
Don’t neglect your baby’s naps
A well-rested baby means a less cranky one, so, while it’s tempting to go sightseeing as much as possible (or enjoy your shopping sprees), do let your baby get some rest. You probably need your rest too, so take a breather while baby naps.
Consider booking a home stay
Standard hotel rooms might be alright for a night or two, but for vacations that are week-long or more, a condominium or vacation home rental would a better choice. This way, you’ll have the convenience of a full kitchen for cooking and storing snacks and drinks; a dining table for mealtimes; a washer/dryer for the inevitable baby laundry and even separate bedrooms for parents and baby!