Thinking of travelling with baby? Start Early!
My son went on his first trip with us when he was 10.5 weeks old. However, when my daughter was that age, leaving the house was a big deal for me, and getting on a plane was definitely unthinkable! When baby is tiny, they are immobile, on a liquid diet only, not yet on a schedule or in a routine from which deviating could cause meltdowns, and relatively easy to distract – the perfect travel companion!
Exclusive breastfeeding is by far the easiest way to feed your baby while you’re on the road, but if you want some flexibility, or “you time” you’ll need to bring your bottles and pump. If your accommodation has a microwave, you may find it easiest to pack your microwave sterilizer, even if it is a bit bulky. You can store your gear in it during transport. If that option’s not appealing, there are now microwave sterilizing bags that can do the job with less bulk. No microwave? Be sure to pack a travel kettle. Clean out the bathroom sink and sterilize by rinsing with boiling water. Wash and rinse the bottles and pump components and then rinse again with more boiling water from the kettle. Allow to air dry on a towel. Don’t forget to pack your bottle brush and a small bottle of dish soap!
Airlines have differing policies regarding checked luggage, and a lap infant usually does not get a baggage allowance. You may be allowed an extra piece of carry-on. If you’ve purchased a seat you can definitely bring your approved car seat on board. If not, airlines cannot (should not) charge you extra for checking a child safety seat. If your seat can’t be used without the base, you can’t use it on a plane. Pack your main pump components in your carry-on and if your stroller folds, you can gate check it. All other baby gear (playpens, etc.) will be included in your luggage allotment. Double-check with your airline before you leave as each company’s policies may differ slightly. If you can, call ahead and try to reserve a bulkhead, and arrange for a bassinette. This would certainly be your easiest option if purchasing a seat for baby is not feasible.
I love hearing about families taking off and seeing the world when their baby is little. I often wish I was less fretful when my daughter was a newborn, and took more advantage of my first maternity leave.
Corinne McDermott is the founder of www.havebabywilltravel.com – your guide for family travel with babies, toddlers & young children. Connect with her on Twitter (twitter.com/hvbabywilltrvl) and on Facebook (Have Baby Will Travel).