Packing for a Baby
By Catherine | June 30th, 2018
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Be thorough – and organized – when planning a family holiday
Whether it’s just a weekend getaway or a month-long odyssey, the amount of paraphernalia you need to bring when traveling with a young baby will astound you.
Well, “need” is a subjective term. Some families are happy to pare down to the bare essentials in an effort to travel light, while others want all the comforts and conveniences they can carry to make their trip with baby run smoothly. Wherever you lie on this spectrum, here are a few practical considerations to help you with the packing process.
Be efficient and organized when you pack. Being able to locate a particular item without rummaging blindly through a suitcase is key to your travel sanity. When your little one needs a new sleeper at 2 a.m., you’ll know where to go.
Compartmentalize things that go together for easy retrieval – bedtime needs, daytime clothes, outerwear, socks, diaper essentials etc. You could even pack a complete outfit per bag. This makes unpacking at your destination quick, too – you can simply leave things in their bag and toss them in a drawer or bathroom shelf in seconds. There are travel cubes and mini-cases in a wide variety of shapes and sizes on the market for this purpose, or you can go the shopping/zip-lock bag route – just be careful that your baby doesn’t play with them.
Pack enough clothes appropriate to the weather you may encounter on your trip. At a minimum, you’ll need three complete outfits per child – one to wear, one to launder and one spare. Mix and match layers are best so everything can go together – start with onesies and footsies (sleepers) as a basic outfit and layer up from there if necessary. You may or may not have laundry facilities where you are going, so factor that in when determining how much to pack. A lot of baby clothes can be hand washed in a sink and dried overnight, so don’t bog yourself down with too many outfits.
Depending on where you are going, how you are getting there and how long you are staying, you might want to have equipment such as a stroller, crib, high chair, car seat, bouncy chair or baby swing on hand. A lot of this gear comes in compact, multi-purpose, travel-ready models, but it adds up to a lot of heavy and cumbersome lifting no matter how they fold. Prioritize what you really need and what you can do without. A stroller can be used as a crib and a feeding chair, an infant car seat can rock like a bouncy chair. Ideally, you can rent, borrow or buy some of these items at your destination. For example, if you know you’ll be visiting grandma several times a year (perhaps with subsequent kids!), it might be worth investing in a second set of baby gear so you don’t have to transport things back and forth.
If you’re going to a sunny destination, don’t forget the swim diapers, hat, sunglasses, sunshade and baby-approved sunscreen (if the baby is over 6 months old). There is a lot of SPF clothing on the market these days to help protect delicate skin.
Pack a night-light to help you navigate nocturnal feeds and changes at your destination. Upgrade to a compact reading light if you are going to be sharing a hotel room with your early-to-bed baby and you’d rather not spend the evening curled up in the bathroom with a good book.
An intercom/monitor system is a nice-to-have, depending on the configuration of where you are staying.
Bring an extension cord for this or any electrical gizmos you may want to bring – you never know if the outlets will be in a convenient location or not.
A roll of duct tape can help out with baby proofing and quick repair jobs (including diapers)
And of course, bring along a rattle or a few small toys and books to help entertain your little one for those active alert times.
NOTE: If your baby is traveling out of the country with just one parent, bring a signed, notarized note from the non-traveling parent authorizing the traveling parent to cross the border with your child.