How to pack light when traveling with an infant
Seeing the world has always been a priority for my husband and I. Neither of us got to travel much until after college, and we were determined to take at least a short trip to a new place every year. Long before we were even ready for kids, we discussed that we would teach our child(ren) to travel from an early age.
So far, in his first three months of life, we've taken our son on a long weekend trip to Baltimore and just this week we went hiking at the Delaware Water Gap followed by an overnight camp out in the Poconos. We're much more familiar with city travel so it was easier to pack for B-more, but we managed just fine on our camping trip. However, it got me thinking about how much "gear" you actually need for traveling with an infant.
I have to say, I did Google infant packing list, and I was astonished at how many items were suggested. We're just not that high-maintenance. I'm sure there are other parents out there who would rather pack light, so I'll share my packing list here:
Food. Obviously this is the most important thing you'll need. If you're breastfeeding you don't really need to worry about this one, but if you're formula feeding or if your baby is on solids, space and cost could pose an issue. I suggest you bring enough for your transit and stop at a grocery store for more once you reach your destination.
Diapers. Yeah, you'll want to bring some of these. You probably know how many of these your little one goes through in a day--just take that number multiply it by the number of days you'll be gone and then add one additional diaper per day. Mind you, this is my own formula. I've always come back home with diapers using it, but I'd rather have more readily available than have to run out in a pinch. If you're going on a longer trip, you can use my suggestion above and just pack enough for the trip and buy more at your destination. If you use cloth, I suggest buying a pack of disposables for your trip--it might be tricky to wash out your cloth diapers in a shallow hotel sink. And don't forget the wipes!
Clothes. Babies really don't need a whole lot of this. You can bring just a couple pairs of pants/shorts to pair with different onesies each day. Just make sure to have a spare change of clothes readily available in your diaper bag in case of blowouts or spit up messes, and don't forget that infant clothes are tiny and can easily be washed out in a sink and hung up to dry overnight. Bring appropriate pajamas, socks and a hat for the current season in your destination.
Toiletries. Snatch up the sample size products they give away for free in the pediatrician's office, they'll save tons of space in your luggage. If your ped doesn't offer these, you can purchase travel-size products at most box stores and baby superstores. Be as minimal as you can -- bath soap, lotion, diaper cream, sunscreen.
Nighttime Necessities. Bring a few familiar items so that you can try to replicate your baby's bedtime routine. Babies love routine, and these things may make the difference for a good night's sleep. We make sure to bring swaddling blankets, a tiny board book and our son's sound machine. If you're traveling by car and have the trunk space bring along the Pack 'N' Play or travel crib. If not, call ahead to your hotel and request a crib be set up in your room. Of course, if you co-sleep you won't need to bother with these.
Stroller/Carrier. Depending on what type of trip you're taking you may want to consider bringing one, the other or both. If you're child has an obvious preference for one over the other forgo the less loved. If you travel often, invest in a sturdy, lightweight stroller and a comfortable, easy-to-maneuver carrier.
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Diversions. Do not pack your baby's entire toy box. A few favorite toys should do--rattles, crinkly toys and small books are all compact and easy to pack. However, if you're child loves her bouncy seat, bring that. It's a double duty item that works for naps and playtime.
Extras. Depending on the length of your trip, bring a couple of extra receiving blankets--they can be used as burp clothes, bibs, changing pads, nursing covers, etc. A travel-size hand sanitizer is great to ward off germs. Don't forget the paci if your baby is a fan.
Do you have any packing essentials or travel tips to add? Share with us by leaving us a comment below.
Image via Keith Williamson/flickr