Prior to being parents, we used to love travelling all around the UK and not only. Over a year ago when we found out I was pregnant, people around us had the opinion that travelling will stop as soon as you have a baby because he/she might keep you from doing so. I know it kind of sounds scary for first time parents but I remember that from the beginning of the pregnancy we said we will make it work and knowing us, then the baby should be the same as this ‘travelling desire’ runs in family. Therefore, during pregnancy up to the last 4 days prior to giving birth we’ve travelled so often… with a month before the due date, my mom came over to help and we wanted to show London to her so we went there and walked more than 3 hours, insane! but I was feeling alright, I think the baby was training for his future trips with us as he didn’t seem bothered, haha 🙂 I gave birth a week before my due date and his travelling adventure started 5 days after he was born and he had so many trips up to now, even one across Europe, so if you are travel enthusiasts like us and also new parents then continue reading as I’ve decided to share with you the most important tips which helped me throughout this whole time (baby Lukas is now 6 months and a half).
Pram, car seat and baby carrier: Buy a 3in1 travel system that provides a car seat with adaptors for the pram. If your baby likes to be held in a baby carrier then go ahead and take one with you in case you might need it during your travels.
Mirror: Get an acrylic car mirror so you and your baby can see eachother. Once Lukas discovered the mirror he kept making funny faces and communicating with us during travels.
Short journeys: To get baby used to travels, start with short journey ones. From 30 mins to 1hr on a journey for newborns should be alright to make them used to it but remember that many car seat manufacturers recommend that a baby shouldn’t be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours within a 24 hour time period. Usually babies love the motion feeling and the sounds of car moving, airplane, hoover, hair dryer etc as it’s in a way close to similar with the sounds he heard in the womb.
Feeding: If you breastfeed then that’s great but once your baby doesn’t drink breastmilk anymore or he never did then you need to be prepared with:
- bottles – It depends on how much mls your baby drinks, try to observe how many bottles you use in an interval of time and then you can make an idea of how many you would need for that trip. Also add an extra bottle to it just in case;
- boiled water – We bought two water thermoses one of which has hot water in and the other one has mild temperature water. Buy thermoses which maintain hot water for 12 hours. Buy a travel kettle that you can use in services points if you are left without any water or if the accommodation doesn’t provide you with one (nowadays most of them do – especially in the UK);
- formula milk – Up to when baby was 4-5 months old we used to buy ready to drink milk which can be drank cold or warm and just have some always with us in the car just in case. They can be quite expensive if you use only these. Formula powder dispensers are of great use as you can add the number of spoons of milk that you need in each compartment to make up bottles;
- steriliser – I use microwave steriliser and cold water steriliser. Usually when we go somewhere to stay overnight we ask prior to departure if the accommodation has a microwave that we can use and if they don’t then we take the cold water steriliser with us. At home I prefer to use the microwave steriliser especially now as placing the bottles in cold water can be painful during winter.
Changing: You can either buy the one time use only change mats or the wipeable ones. At the beginning, we used to spend a lot of money on the one time use ones but then ‘discovered’ the ‘cheaper’ version of them as in a foam change mat that can be of great use in the car and also the wipeable slim version of it that can be used in changing rooms. Also, I would totally recommend the nappy sacks – they can save you from trouble if you change your baby in the car and they are not even expensive and also hand sanitizer gel in case there’s no washing facility.
Sleeping: Besides the part where baby falls asleep in the car during a journey, you shouldn’t let him/her sleep in the car seat at any other times. Speak to the accommodation prior to departure to find out if they can provide a crib. If they don’t have one available then buy your own travel cot for babies. Up to when Lukas was 3-4 months I used the baby box in the lounge at home or when we were at some accommodation that couldn’t provide a crib, it was very helpful and free.
Travel during night: You know your baby and his habits – mine has been sleeping throughout the night for a long while now if he has his last bottle before midnight and then has the next one around 8-9am. Therefore if yours also prefers to sleep at night travel then as is less traffic and less distraction.
Make regular stops: As I’m sure you would do even if you didn’t have a baby with you, stop often and have a rest. Take the baby out from the car seat, change him, feed him, play with him, give him some time to lie on his back etc and if it’s a long journey like we had from England to Romania book accommodation prior to setting off.
Toys and other: Pack as little baby stuff as possible, depending on the journey length but always remember to pack important stuff such as enough nappies, wipes, nappy creams, blankets, dummies, thermometer, paracetamol for babies etc. Also don’t carry too many toys with you as you can always find something to entertain him with (maybe add only the most important ones that he likes).
Passport and travel insurance: These are obvious but if you travel abroad then you will need passport for him or another travel document if he doesn’t have a passport yet. Also a travel health insurance not only for him but for you too.
I hope these tips helped you and gave you more courage to travel with a baby for the first time. Remember, life doesn’t stop when you have a baby, it only because much better. You just need to prioritize your baby needs when you make a plan and then you can have beautiful and meaningful adventures together.
Take care, peeps. See you again soon.