Every seasoned mom remembers the early, sleep-deprived days when they used to pack for only one child. Why did we think we needed so much stuff? With each child, the diaper bag gets lighter as moms realize what the true essentials boil down to. Traveling with a baby is already hard, and sleep is especially precious that first year. Check this list to consider what you need to bring. Some items don’t seem important until you realize baby doesn’t sleep without it!
Wherever you are going, it’s either new and exciting, or new and scary for baby. Try to recreate baby’s normal routine as much as possible. Bringing your own bedding may seem like so much to pack, but if it helps baby sleep better you won’t begrudge the space. White noise apps can be downloaded to an old phone to save space on fans. This will help drown out the new sounds where you are, and is helpful if your family is sharing a room. Cara Dumaplin wrote an excellent article here with 8 tips for how to help baby and mom get enough sleep while traveling.
Babies don’t need as many clothes as we buy for them. Generally, there is a washer and dryer wherever you go, so if you’re gone for longer than a weekend you can always just wash the clothes. Start with two pairs of pajamas (nighttime accidents happen), a dressy outfit just in case, a coat, and dark colored outfits that can hide stains. Extra leggings can be worn under pajamas if it’s colder than expected. If you are traveling somewhere that you know to be cold, expect to pack SO MUCH more than suggested. Count on bringing an outrageously full suitcase full of coats, snowsuits, and thermal gear. If you have packing cubes use them to keep like-clothing together, but Ziploc bags work just as well! See this article here for a list of suggested items to pack for baby.
If you don’t have room in the suitcase or car, just bring enough diapers to get to the store at your final destination. However, always bring your own diaper cream just in case you can’t find it. Throw in wipes, and you’re set! Not all diapers are created equally, but in a pinch you can get by with an unknown brand or even a size up. Pro Tip: doubling up diapers at night can help to prevent leaks!
If breastfeeding, make sure to keep hydrated as you travel. Don’t be shamed into hiding that you are feeding a child. A useful article here gives advice on how to breastfeed successfully at the airport and on the airplane. The same article further explains how best to bring formula on the plane, since TSA screening is so thorough. If bottle feeding, there are a few more necessary items to bring, like cleaning supplies. Bring a bottle brush, ice packs to keep your milk cold or sanitized water in water bottles to make a formula bottle. If there isn’t a microwave, there is often a way to get steaming water in a cup and you can rest your baby’s bottle in there while it heats up.
Traveling with baby can seem daunting, but the true essentials babies need are: Momma, food, diapers, clothes, and a safe space to sleep. Everything else is negotiable.