The first holiday with your newborn can be an exciting yet daunting experience. As a new parent, you want to ensure your baby is comfortable, safe, and happy throughout your trip. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate holidaying with an infant, from planning and packing to managing the journey.
Planning your holiday
Planning is critical to ensuring a smooth holiday with your little one. Here are some tips:
Choose your destination wisely.
Opt for a destination that is relatively close to home for your baby’s first holiday. Long flights and significant time zone changes can disrupt their routine. Domestic destinations or short European breaks are ideal.
Book baby-friendly accommodation
Look for hotels that offer cots, bottle warmers, sterilizers, and other baby amenities. A holiday rental or villa is also a good option, giving you more space and privacy.
Travel during off-peak seasons
We were traveling when smaller crowds meant more leisurely naps and feedings for the baby. Off-peak times often have better deals too.
Check vaccination requirements
Ensure your baby has the necessary vaccinations for the country you are visiting. Some destinations require proof of certain vaccines.
Packing for your baby
You’ll need to pack more gear when traveling with an infant. Here’s a checklist of baby essentials to bring:
Stroller and carrier
A stroller to move baby quickly and a baby carrier or sling for when on the go. Consider an umbrella stroller that folds compactly.
For the flight, car rentals, and transfers, bring your baby’s car seat or book an approved seat with your airline.
If you’ll be in a hotel, a portable cot, cot sheets, and baby monitor.
Bottles, formula, spoons, baby food pouches, sterilizer, and other feeding items. Stock up on plenty of breastmilk or formula.
Diapers and wipes
Bring at least twice as many diapers and travel packs of wipes than you think you’ll need.
Change of clothes
Pack lots of extra baby clothes and burp cloths – expect mess and accidents!
Diaper cream, sunblock, baby wash, nasal spray, thermometer, and medicines your baby takes regularly.
A few small toys, rattles, and books to keep the baby entertained. A baby carrier covered in toys is handy too.
If renting a villa or multi-room hotel suite, a portable baby monitor lets you hear the baby when in another room.
Managing the journey
Traveling with a baby takes patience and planning. Follow these tips to stay sane en route:
Fly at non-nap times.
Try to book flights during times your baby usually is alert and happy. Flying during nap time means a grumpy, crying baby.
Many airlines allow pre-booking of bassinet seats to lay your infant flat to sleep on flights. Reserve them early.
Keep baby hydrated
Breastfeed or bottle feed more than usual to help equalize pressure during takeoff and landing. Offer sips of water frequently too.
Pack essentials like diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and snacks in your carry-on. Don’t check these in case your luggage gets lost.
Check-in strollers/car seats
Let gate agents or flight crew help you check in and collect bulky gear like strollers right at the gate to avoid lugging it around.
On long car journeys, stop hourly for diaper changes, feeds, and to stretch the baby’s legs. Please bring plenty of toys to entertain them in transit.
When flying or on trains/buses, take the baby for short strolls in the aisle to soothe them. They may sleep better after moving.
At your destination
You’ve arrived! Keep these tips in mind while on holiday:
Stick to a routine.
Aim to follow the baby’s napping and feeding schedule as much as possible despite the new environment. Consistency is comforting.
Use blackout curtains
Ensure your hotel room is dark for daytime naps. Bring a sleep mask or blackout curtains if needed. Light and noise disrupt sleep.
Baby-proof your space
Scan your accommodation for potential hazards upon arrival. Cover outlets, secure furniture, and install baby gates on stairs.
Escape the midday heat.
Stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day for the baby to nap. Seek shade and limit direct sun exposure when outdoors.
Take your time with activities. Leave gaps for the baby to unwind, play and adjust to new surroundings. Go at their pace.
While holidaying with an infant comes with unique challenges, proper planning and keeping the baby’s needs top-of mind will ensure you both have a wonderful time. Traveling as a new family creates magical memories in those early months. Relax and enjoy your first holiday together by following the tips above! Let us know if you have any other new parent travel hacks.
FAQs about Holidaying with Infants
What age is best for a baby’s first holiday?
Experts recommend waiting at least 6 weeks for domestic trips and closer to 6 months for international. Newborns under 6 weeks have not built up sufficient immunity.
Where should I place the baby carrier/car seat on flights?
Book a window seat and place your baby in a carrier or car seat next to you for easy access. Avoid the aisle where they can get bumped by carts.
How can I get an infant to sleep on a plane?
Keep them well-fed, dressed comfortably, offer a pacifier for takeoff/landing, and utilize white noise. Flying at night also increases the chance they’ll sleep.
Should I use sunscreen on my baby?
Yes, but choose a brand made especially for infants. Apply liberally and reapply often. Their skin is susceptible to sun damage.
How do I keep my baby safe in hotels?
Sweep for hazards, cover outlets, and never leave them alone on elevated surfaces. Bring outlet covers and baby gates if needed.