By Guest Blogger Kristen Kelly
When my son was 6 weeks old, my sister was getting married in Texas. We live in Ohio, so it was quite the trip! Our entire trip lasted 10 days, which included a 3-hour drive from northern to southern Ohio to visit family, a flight to College Station, Texas with a layover in Dallas, 4 days in Texas for the wedding, a return flight back to Ohio, and another 5 days visiting family before making the 3 hour drive back to Cleveland.
Needless to say, all of this time away from home and traveling with a newborn caused a great deal of anxiety in me during the weeks leading up to the trip. This post looks at what I brought with me on our trip (I overpacked for sure!). I wrote the original post shortly after we returned for my blog Ready…Set…Parenthood!, however now that my son is 15-months old and we have traveled more, I can give advice on what you actually need to bring and what you can leave at home!
Whenever I travel, I tend to over-pack anyway. With the large amount of items a newborn baby needs, I knew I would end up over-packing in the end, but wanted to make sure I had absolutely everything I needed for such a long trip. I also had to consider out of everything I was bringing for the 10 day excursion, what items would be necessary for the trip to Texas. Over-packing for a road trip is one thing, but over-packing for a flight where checked luggage is weighed and expensive is another.
In the end, we had a successful trip, and only slightly too many things made the trip with us. This is what I packed (for the whole trip as well as just the Texas portion), and some advice after making the trip for traveling with a newborn (particularly flying). Each item is followed by parenthesis with 3 numbers. The first number is how many of that item I packed total. The second number is how many of the item out of what what packed I brought to Texas. The third number is how many of that item that was brought to Texas that I put in my diaper bag/carry on for the flight.
Looking back: I definitely did not need to bring 2 formula containers (1 was more than enough), a drying rack, both Boppy pillows (the travel one would have been enough) or the bottle warmer. Things like burp cloths and bibs I could have brought fewer of since there is this handy-dandy thing called the “washing machine” that I could wash them in if needed.
Looking back: Ya, you are going to need all of that. The only thing I would have done different is just bought all of the diapers I needed when I arrived instead of traveling with any from Cleveland.
Medicine and Care
Looking back: A LOT of these could have been left behind. In general, most people will have Vaseline, a nail file, cotton swabs, and a thermometer if needed, so I really didn’t need to bring my own. The travel size of sunscreen is more than enough for a 10 day trip. I’m not sure how much sun I thought my little one was going to be soaking up, but I could have left the big bottle at home.
Looking back: You are going to need all of this. If you flying and don’t want to worry about checking your car seat and damaging it along the way (we had no issues with this, but some do worry), you can rent a car seat along with your car. Just check with the rental company before your trip to make sure they offer this, and have one available.
Looking back: It is up to you how many toys you decide to travel with. Be sure to think of where you are going. If there are already kids where you are traveling, you probably won’t need to bring much. If it is a home of only adults, you will most likely need to bring a few to keep your baby stimulated during the trip.
Looking back: All of these are things you will need (except maybe the stain remover and first aid kit), but you can reduce quantities of each for sure.
Advice for Traveling with an Infant
- Check the TSA’s site for the most up-to-date information about traveling with children (see the link below). They were really great with us at both locations.
- Make sure to add your in-lap infant to your ticket. We booked our tickets before Patrick was born, and were able to call and add him to our tickets after her was officially here.
- We checked his car seat and base. We put them in a large trash bag to protect them (they do sell travel bags, but trash bags are cheaper). We gate checked the stroller. Having it during our lay-over helped with diaper changes and naps. If we didn’t have a lay-over I would also have checked the stroller.
- We were able to wear Patrick in the Baby Bjorn the entire time, including through security and the entire flight. I had read that some airlines don’t let allow that, but American Airlines did.
- Do a fresh diaper change and begin a bottle as close to boarding as possible. Most flights will let you board early if you have children. Continue feeding through take-off or use a pacifier to prevent his ears from popping. With a clean diaper and full belly he slept through both of our flights.
- The ready to use bottles are great for feedings right before boarding, take-off and landing. They don’t require fumbling around for formula and water.
- A pacifier clip is a must! You don’t want to be fumbling on the ground of the plane looking for one that fell.
- Think about what consumable items you can buy at your destination (formula, diapers, etc). That is less you have to pack in your bags.
- If you are staying at a hotel, ask for a crib or Pack n’ Play for your room. Most do, and it is free. If you are staying at someone’s home, see if they have or know someone who has a Pack n’ Play you can use. That is one less bulky item that you need to bring.
- Don’t forget your camera!
- Patrick gets hot really easily, so Texas was rather uncomfortable for him. We have since bought a small personal fan (ours was in the $1 bin at Target) that I keep in the diaper bag for hot situations.
- Don’t worry or stress over what others think or if they are bothered by your baby. You have a newborn, and traveling with him is not an easy task. No matter what you are doing the best you can. Take time to enjoy it! It is an important milestone, and a fun one if you allow it to be.
It was all worth it! We had a great time at my sister’s wedding!
I did a lot of research while compiling my packing list. I couldn’t find one site that met my particular needs (long term trip with 6 week old broken up into 2 destinations), so I used some of the best parts from several other lists. Below are sites that I used in my research while creating my packing list.
Kristen is a 30-something mother, wife, and educator living in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Dave and son Patrick. She is a proud alum of Ohio University and loves Steelers football. She loves getting out and exploring the city and finding new and fun family-friendly activities. She writes about her experiences, both with parenting and Cleveland, on her blog Ready…Set…Parenthood!