By BIANCA CARTER
Travelling for many people is stressful. Add an infant or toddler to the picture and it’s enough to make even the most seasoned parent anxious. There is always so much to organise and remember. How many times have you forgotten to pack the very basic things like your tooth brush or underwear? Thankfully, you’ll be able to replace most of the things you leave behind. The key to stress-free travel with an infant is going to be pre-planning. The last-minute packers are going to hate this, but it’s essential in making sure that you are comfortable, your baby is comfortable, and you’re relaxed; make a list and check it at least twice.
Start your list a week before travelling (if you can), writing all of the things you need for the baby down on paper will jog your “mommy brain”, reminding you of things will need to bring. Consider making two lists: one for the carry-on bag and one for items that you can pack in your check-in luggage. You won’t be able to take large liquid bottles on the plane, so you will need to get small travel size bottles for toiletry items that you may need to bring on board the plane. This does not include formula or food for the baby.
If you are not breastfeeding and need to bring formula for the baby, you may want to get a formula container that can hold formula powder in pre-measured quantities so that all you have to do is add water to pre-sterilised bottles. If you don’t have the formula container, just use zip-lock snack bags and pre-measure out the formula, one snack bag for one bottle. Take one pre-sterilised bottle for every two hours of flight time. If the flight is six hours long, take a minimum of three bottles. Most airlines will be able to provide hot water for the bottles. If you’re breastfeeding, you may want to pack your nursing cover so that your baby doesn’t get distracted when it’s time to feed or to sleep. But if you don’t use the nursing covers, so be it. If someone has an issue with it, it’s their issue.
Pack all of the medicines you think you might need in every scenario possible. Your child may not be sick but you don’t want to be on a flight and have your baby develop a fever with nothing to remedy it. The airlines will not provide this on board due to liability; items like infant gas drops, children’s chewable Pepto Bismol tablets (for older kids), fever/pain reliever for kids, teether or natural teething drops, any prescription medication.
Pack extra receiving blankets and one thicker blanket to take on board with you. Your baby will feel comforted with their blankets around them. Make sure to take your baby’s favourite toys to keep them entertained in between naps. Bring your infant carrier or baby wrap so that you can wear your baby during the flight, before the flight and after. Wearing your baby will keep your hands free and it’s a life saver. If you don’t already have one, get one before travelling. A lightweight, travel stroller is also essential to carry your baby and is a great place to have them nap. Most airlines will allow you to take the stroller all the way up to the airline door, and then they will tag it to be placed under the plane for travelling.
Take several onesies and a couple of extra outfits and extra socks. If it’s cold or the baby is very young, pack an infant hat. Additionally, pack travel facial tissues and anti-bacterial wipes. Airplanes are really dirty, germ-filled places, and if you’re travelling with kids make sure you wipe the seats, trays and arm rests before the flight begins.
Finally, invest in a travel cot and travel bath tub to take with you in your check-in bag. Bathing my baby in a hotel bath tub was a nightmare for me, so I made sure to carry my travel tub so that I could have peace of mind. The travel cot is also very important in making sure your baby feels at home which will help them sleep better in an unfamiliar environment. Lastly, don’t forget the hooded towels and cot fitted sheet! I know travelling is a lot of work when you have an infant, so make sure that you plan ahead and pack smartly. Happy travels!
Love and hugs.
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor (CLC), founder of Bun in the Oven, and weekend radio personality on Y98 radio. For more information, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com