The summer travel season is upon us. For most, it’s an exciting time where plans for visiting oft dreamed about destinations finally come to fruition. But for new parents, the excitement of going on vacation is tempered by the worry of how your little one will handle the journey.
To ease those parents’ minds, here are some tips for ensuring a pleasant vacation for every traveler in your family.
Air travel is probably the most daunting method of transportation for parents of newborns. Being confined to cramped quarters among (irritated) strangers 30,000 feet in the air for multiple hours with a screaming baby is not most people’s idea of a relaxing travel experience. To make the most of the situation, try these tips from the about.com air travel section:
- Arrive at your gate early to take advantage of preboarding that many airlines offer parents of newborns in order to provide a few extra minutes to get settled.
- If possible, try to sit in the back of the plane where there is a bit more privacy and space, as well as easy access to the restroom. An aisle seat is also best for walking with a fussy baby.
- Have your bag of essentials (small enough for the overhead or under your chair) handy at all times with diapers, wipes, a blanket, plastic bags for trash and dirty diapers, a fresh change of clothes (for you and baby), and snacks.
- Breast feeding and bottle feeding help with popping ears, but if that’s not possible, bring a pacifier or encourage your little one to suck his/her thumb.
- Need more space for diaper changing or help with warming a bottle? Just ask a flight attendant.
- Most importantly, try to ignore comments from rude passengers.
Once you’ve made it off the plane, you may feel like you’re home free. But the little one may still have some tricks up her/his sleeve. Here are some useful tips from seasoned travelers on the travel forum of lonelyplanet.com:
- Try to stay in one location for multiple nights, as opposed to visiting multiple places. The more consistent environment and routine will put your baby at ease.
- Try renting an RV or an apartment for more of a “home” feeling that will be soothing to your baby.
- As much as possible, maintain your child’s sleeping and feeding routines to cut down on fussiness.
- Be flexible! Your child may be uncomfortable getting less attention from you than usual, so extra cuddling may reassure him/her. Or, your baby may be excited by all the new stimuli and sleep less. Go with it!
Traveling with a baby may be more difficult, but in the end, you’ll be glad you made new memories to cherish for a lifetime.
If you’re an expectant mother, find useful information on what to expect at your doctor visit, questions to ask, and more in the Vitals Pregnancy Patient Guide.
Sources: lonelyplanet.com and airtravel.about.com