Best way to travel with an infant.

We traveled first with our baby when she turned 3 months old. How to travel with a baby? being a first-time parent, before that 3-month mark was really a very unsure, unknown territory for us. And so I want to share what I learned with regards to how to travel with a baby below 4 months.

We traveled to Bali feeling a great sense of achievement that we managed through the 4th trimester alive. We decided to go traveling with our newborn, trying to get some confidence and the feeling of independence.

Although traveling with an infant sounds daunting, but in reality, it is easier than traveling with a toddler  (All comparisons will be made to a different stage of the baby and not when you did not have a baby).

Pros & Cons of traveling with the baby when below 4 months

Pros

  • babies at this age just want to sleep
  • they have just one demand that is to be breastfed or fed.
  • Fewer things to carry for the baby
  • If you have been uncomfortable breastfeeding in public this will remove all inhibitions
  • Baby gets used to your traveling lifestyle
  • Babies can not run around to get into trouble

Cons

  • risk of a baby getting infection
  • can not choose places as per your liking, need to choose a place as per baby’s safety and convenience
  • You are still healing so cant be very active and thorough during your travel
  • Still carrying that baby weight and can not fit into the best of the clothing as you would like
  • You could feel more tired with all the night feeds

Travel with baby hacks

I list here the things that you must keep in mind when traveling with an infant.

Picking the destination.

While traveling with a baby international or domestic, choose a destination closer to home, 4-5 hours flight max. That destination should be safe for baby travel, with good medical facilities. When thinking of travel ideas with a baby weather is very important for the destination to pick to go to. I had heard from older ladies to keep baby safe from extreme cold and extremely hot weather in her first year. After my baby caught a cold through infection I know why that was important. And hence the weather advice.

Early Flight booking.

Baby’s first flight? Here are a few things that you must try next time you travel with an infant to make it more easy for you. Most flights have bassinet seats, which are the front seats with more leg room, sometimes a diaper changing table too. however, these are limited seats and to book them is winning a lottery sometimes. Best way to book the bassinet seats is to call and book, and request for a bassinet seat. Later call again closer to the journey date. Avoid the witching hour as much as it is possible for you. The evening time from 6 to 9 is when babies get most cranky. Because they are tired or hungry and sometimes no reason at all. Try to avoid this time of flights. Early morning flights are the best I feel.

Booking a seat

Go for the bassinet seats. By booking online chances of your getting a bassinet seat is very less. Better to call up airlines to book and request for a bassinet seat.
Now depending on your comfort, you could choose to book a seperate seat, have the baby in a car seat or no seperate seat, just carry the baby in lap (carrying the baby carrier can make you hands-free here). While traveling alone with a baby, booking the adjacent seat can be a good idea with a baby in the car seat.

Hotel reservation.

 Just like picking a destination, picking a hotel closer is again important. I suggest you pick a hotel closer to your main activity, like closer to the beach, closer to the shopping hub. Hotel with easy access to facilities is important, like closer to the main reception, closer to the breakfast buffet area, easy to find a cab. Another important tip is to book a suite instead of a room, the baby can sleep in the room, while you can sit, watch tv, have your meals in another room without having to disturb your sleeping baby.

Packing for success

Traveling with a baby packing list can set you up for a  great hassle-free journey. I made a checklist of all the baby must-haves for my travel to make things easy for me. You can download it here for free. Here are the things that you need to know:

  • Baby food and bottle need not follow the 3 oz rule. So you can carry hot water flask, milk powder, milk bottles with expressed milk, frozen expressed milk with you in the carryon as long as you have a baby in hand.
  • You must carry a change of baby and your clothes in your carryon.
    If the baby has started solids, then the squeezy pouch baby food is best for a less messy, less hassle flight journey.
  • We usually carry a baby carrier, stroller, a suitcase or sometimes 2 which is checked-in, a baby diaper backpack (never a sling baby bag for traveling) A baby backpack your husband/ partner can also carry, a sling bag he might not want to carry. Plus with a backpack, it’s quite easy to carry the baby in the front and a backpack behind and pull a suitcase with another hand (this is in case you are traveling alone with the baby)
  • A lightweight stroller is a must, we have the yo-yo baby stroller, its easy to fold, light to carry on the shoulder and if you carry its dustbag along you could even take it in on your flight up till your seat.

Taking the flight

If the baby is awake then best is to carry the baby in the carrier, so if she wants to nap she can nap while being carried.
At the security, I have never been asked to remove the baby from the carrier or from the stroller.
Check and change the diaper before you board
Travelers with infants/young children get to board first. During the takeoff and landing, either breastfeed or give a bottle or give a pacifier. It works just like chewing gums for adults, pops the ear for the baby.

Trip itinerary around the nap time

When we traveled with our 3 months old baby, naps and feeds were the most important. At this age, babies want to sleep every two-three hours. So how we planned our trip was to leave the hotel around her nap time, nursed her on the way, and then she napped for 30-45 mins and later she was fresh to play. At this age, missing naps can make a baby very cranky, so however you plan it, make sure the baby gets her nap, although baby carriers are very helpful in such cases, as the baby can nap in it while you are on the go. We had to plan our itinerary mainly because we had not bought a carrier for her yet. Big mistake.