Traveling with Newborns
Traveling with newborns can be difficult. Packing bottles, diapers, toys, and the host of other items that newborns need on a daily basis can require luggage larger than that required by the adults sharing the journey. Additionally, there is the persistent parental fear of sitting in an airplane, cruising at 30,000 feet (so no way to quickly exit the structure), when the newborn begins to wail . . . loudly and inconsolably . . . leaving all passengers on the aircraft annoyed and angry at the disturbance. How can parents make it easier to travel with a newborn? What age is too young to travel with a newborn? What can parents do to keep their newborn safe and healthy while traveling? Read on for more information.
How can parents make it easier to travel with a newborn?
Begin by setting expectations appropriately. For example, sometimes, a newborn will wail loudly and inconsolably no matter what parents do to console or comfort the child. When this happens, fellow travelers may cast angry glances at the parents, but parents must take it in stride. Parents likely don’t know their fellow travelers, so the opinions that the fellow travelers hold of their parenting skill is not of consequence. What matters is the newborn: parents need to focus on consoling their baby. Everything else is irrelevant at that moment.
Allow extra time for travel with a newborn. This is especially true regarding air travel. For example, it will take longer to pass through security check points with a newborn and paraphernalia in tow.
Remain calm. A newborn can sense when his/her parents are upset, and the newborn typically become upset in tandem with his/her parents.
Travel with a front-carrier papoose. This allows a hands-free carriage of the newborn.
Pack two sets of luggage. One set will contain most of the items needed while on the trip. This set will be stored in the trunk (if traveling by car) or checked (if traveling by air). The other, smaller set of luggage will contain items needed during the travel itself. This will include, among other things, a small selection of diapers, diaper wipes, and a fresh change of clothes for newborn and parents (just in case). This smaller luggage should be easily portable and usable in a small space such as an airplane or public bathroom. (Note: parents need not pack what they can purchase throughout their travels. For example, if the newborn is fed a specific kind of formula, parents can research whether this formula is available at the destination. If the formula is available at the destination, parents need not pack enough formula for each day away from home; instead, parents need only pack formula for the travel time to the destination and one extra day of formula as well . . . just in case.) Ensure that plenty of entertainment is packed for the newborn. This includes toys, books, stuffed animals, shiny objects, etc.
If traveling by air, notify the airline that the travel will include a newborn. Consider reserving a sky cot (like a bassinet) when booking with the airline. In the alternative, use an FAA-approved car seat. Book airline seats near the front of aircraft, but not in the very front row. Sitting near the front of the aircraft allows for quicker and easier deplaning at the destination; the very front row of seats does not allow for under-seat stowage of carry-on baggage. (Carry-on items are more easily accessible when stowed under-seat rather than in the overhead bins.) Ensure aisle-side seating; this is not only for quicker and easier deplaning, but also makes it easier to walk a newborn up and down the aisle or to go to the plane’s restroom. Oh, and don’t forget to check the stroller at the gate. If breastfeeding, mom will need to drink plenty of water while traveling; however, security check points allow only limited amounts of most fluids to pass. Therefore, a breastfeeding mom may purchase water at the airport and drink water freely given aboard the aircraft. If not breastfeeding, formula will need to be packed for the newborn. Parents must keep formula handy for inspection at security check points in airports. While the limit of 3.4 ounces for fluid containers does not apply to breast milk and baby formula, it still must be declared at security check points. One more tip on food for the newborn: feed the newborn just before boarding and burp the baby well. If the newborn is to be fed during flight, provide smaller feedings. Don’t forget to burp well.
If traveling by car, bring the newborn’s favorite CD’s along for the journey. Most newborns find car rides pacifying. The CD’s can enhance that experience. Also, place a cooler full of baby wipes, water (especially if mom is breastfeeding), and snacks in the car for easy access. Place window tinting clings or removable window shades on the rear windows.
If renting a vehicle at the destination, ask the rental car company if it also rents car seats. If so, parents may be well advised to rent rather than pack a car seat.
If spending one or more nights in a motel, reserve a crib when booking the reservation at the motel.
Let the newborn sleep as much as he/she can.
What age is too young to travel with a newborn?
Experts disagree on what age newborn travel is recommended. Some experts say newborns may travel as soon as they have had their first vaccinations at about eight weeks. Other experts believe that both parents and newborns need rest after the baby’s birth; that, coupled with the newborn’s developing immune system and other considerations yield a recommended travel age of three months.
What can parents do to keep their newborn safe and healthy while travelling?
Save an “ICE” (in case of emergency) contact on parents’ cellular telephones.
Be mindful of germs (carry antibacterial wipes) and stranger danger at all times. Place an ID bracelet on the newborn. Place ID labels on his/her blankets, clothes, and other items as well.
Never take a newborn out of a car seat while a vehicle is in motion, no matter how loudly newborn cries.
Pack appropriately for weather encountered on the journey; this may include newborn hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, sweaters, raincoats, umbrellas, etc.
Ensure that the newborn gets plenty of rest and nutrition. Keep his/her schedule as normal as possible.
If traveling by air, ear pain related to cabin pressure changes at take-off and landing can be lessened by allowing the newborn suck on a bottle or pacifier.
If travelling by car, use a rear-facing car seat for the newborn. Place the car seat in the back seat, away from airbags. If possible, place the car seat in the middle of the back seat.
Pack a first aid kit and keep it handy.
By following the tips above, parents can successfully travel with newborns. Bon voyage! For more useful traveling tips, continue to visit Nannies4hire.com.