We now been on a few road trips with our infant. We went to Mont Tremblant with our then 2 month old, then Toronto when she was 6 months old and recently to Prince Edward County at 11 months old. We’re used to packing lights but packing for these trips were definitely another ballgame. Following are the lessons we learnt.
A travel crib
We got a simple one and it worked well as a change table and a bassinet for naps and for night-time sleep. It even came with a toy bar so it was also somewhere for her to play during the day when our arms are tired of holding her. As she grew older, we invested in a more comfortable one, The Bugaboo Stardust, with a thicker mattress pad. It was also a lot easier to set up! Some accommodations provide a playpen/crib but it’s nice to bring our own if possible to provide a familiar sleeping environment.
A nightlight/sound machine
We use the Hatch at home but we initially brought along a small portable nightlight/sound machine which worked great for naps, and late night feeds/diaper changes. The only downside of this portable machine is that it has a 30 minute time limit so sometimes Aaron had to use his phone as a continuous sound machine instead. For our future trips, we took along our Hatch even though it was bulkier as we found it was useful for good sleep.
An inflatable travel nursing pillow
If you are nursing a newborn, then it may be a good idea to invest in an inflatable travel nursing pillow. It was easy to pack and quick to inflate. I started by using the pillows/cushions at the rental but I prefer the nursing pillow much better. Given baby was still young and I had to nurse 10 times/day. This made a difference. Overtime and with baby being more mobile and developing more strength, as well as the nursing frequency decreasing, I no longer needed this.
These are so versatile, not only as a blanket but also as an emergency burp cloth, nursing cover for privacy, and sun cover for the sunny car rides.
Don’t forget all your pump parts
Although I don’t pump regularly anymore, I tripled check to make sure I had all my pump parts everytime I travel in case I needed to pump for whatever reason. It would be stressful if I needed to pump and was missing one piece. Especially don’t forget to triple check you’ve brought your charger as more and more of us use non-wall connected rechargeable breast pumps now. I also brought Medela pump wipes in case I had to pump on the road and didn’t have access to a sink. A haakaa silicone pump is also useful as an easy way to collect milk.
Feed before leaving
While we’re talking about feeding, we found it helpful to feed before leaving for the trip. This will help to improve the chances that baby will be relaxed and sleep throughout the car ride, without requiring to many extra stops along the way.
Eating-in vs. Dining out
We planned to eat in for most of our meals. It would have been more challenging to eat out every meal with a little one, especially in light of the pandemic. Don’t forget to pack snacks, bibs, eating utensils, and portable highchair if your little one has started solids!
A lounger or bouncer
A lounger/bouncer is helpful so baby can join the family in the main living space without having to move the whole pack and play out. We enjoyed the Stokke Steps Bouncer as it was light and easy to set-up and move around. The only issue we had was with a dog in the travel party, you had to watch the baby being so close to the floor. You can also ask if the accommodation has any high-chairs/playpen you can use as well.
A playmat/blanket and lots of toys
While on the road or at your destination, it’s important to keep your babe entertained so don’t forget some of their favourite toys and new ones to keep them occupied.
A well stocked diaper bag
I made sure to have all the essentials in the diaper bag including, diapers, a changing pad, wipes, hand sanitizer, a plastic bag to hold the dirty diapers, and a change of clothes (or 2) just in case. At the same time, we probably over packed in terms of extra clothes and diapers for our first trip. We could’ve packed half the items we did but I was too worried about poop explosions and spit ups. It may be a good idea to research supermarkets/grocery stores at the destination because it may be possible to just purchase some more diapers of needed since they take up so much space.
Overall, we had a few successful road trips and look forward to travelling more with our little one! Perhaps in the future, I will come up with a travel packing list like I did previously pre-infant.
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