Travelling with an infant can become a nightmare many times. Planning to travel with a newborn can raise a lot of questions in a parent’s mind. What to pack, what to keep handy, and how to manage the tiny tot if they get too cranky are a few to name from the endless list. Although there is no hard and fast rule to this, these pointers may help you in planning a road travel with your just-born.
Planning the means of transport
Choosing a travel mode that would be secure and comfortable for your little soul is the first priority. If it’s their first road travel it is advisable to avoid a long journey in one shot. You may split the distance with as many pit stops as needed for the comfort of your child.
Based on the number of accompanying passengers there are many travel modes to choose from. If the trip is going to be just the parents and the baby, then it is better to go by car. You can even rent self-driving cars now from online car rental portals like Zoomcar, Myles etc… Train is another good and budgeted option for travelling with your just-born since you can use the washrooms, can carry and walk the little soul for fresh air and sometimes can make a simple makeshift cloth cradle too. But while travelling by night make sure to keep your tiny tot safe in trains.
If the trip is going to be with a big extended family it is better to rent a mini-bus or a van/tempo traveller. Look into the cleanliness, seat comfort and pest control of the vehicle while booking.
If none of the above travel options suits you, you can go with the Volvo travel buses. Make sure to read reviews online and choose an operator with comfortable seating arrangements, better facilities and friendly customer service. Also, choose a route that is safest, less bumpy and most gentle. Sleepers can be best with newborns. In the public mode of the transport select seats that would be comfortable to breastfeed.
Things to keep handy
Your tiny human would be used to a set of things from birth, it is necessary to have all their items handy with you. Have a separate bag for your child with all their items in easy reach. The must-haves in the just born bag are.
1. Their food/drink
If the infant is below 6 months, then their main food would be the mother’s milk and/or formula. Exclusively breast milk-fed (EBF) babies would just need their mothers. However, if you need to express milk, pack the necessary breast milk pump and bottles. For formula-fed (FF) babies a box of formula, a flask or two of hot water to mix with the formula powder, a feeding bottle(better to bring along one more as a spare), and essentials to wash the bottles and sterilize them are mandatory to be carried.
If the newborn has started solids, their solid foods, an open bowl, bowl with lid and spoon, wash cloth and bib need to be taken. Homemade health-ready mix (just mix with hot water and feed), pureed fruits/vegetables like apples, carrots, bananas etc… can be given as solids. But in travel check, if food is spoilt before feeding. It is best to feed the food as fresh as possible. The better way is to invest in a battery-operated blender if you are prone to travel often. This way you can puree the fruits when needed and feed them fresh.
It is always advisable to breastfeed infants during travel, as the soothing mother’s warmth and smell would keep them cosy and let them sleep through the journey.
Tip: Carrying a pillow will be helpful while breastfeeding.
Just make sure you hold them safe and sturdy, as they should not be shaken a lot on/ bumpy roads while taking the feed.
2. Their sleep essentials
Little ones would have their favourite warm blanket, so make sure to pack that, it is always better to have the tiny soul wrapped up and warm in a blanket. That would be the ideal environment for them to doze happily through the journey. You can also add their favourite soft toy and a small pillow to the list if you have space. These familiar items would make them feel at home.
If you are travelling by car you should carry the baby seat and maybe a baby carrier if you are heading for a vacation.
Also if your newborn is used to sleeping with a white noise machine, please pack it along for the journey. If not, there are many apps in Google Play Store and Apple Store that have white noise and other such soothing sounds for little ones. You can play this when you make them sleep, as the outside sounds may disturb their sleep.
3. Toiletries and Medicines
Keep diapers/cloth diapers, cleansing wipes, diaper rash cream, baby lotion, baby wash, a changing mat, a wet diaper bag and oil for massaging their tired little body after the travel handy. A teether can also be carried if your sweetie pie is teething.
Let your paediatrician’s prescription, contact numbers and your newborn’s medicines be in the easily accessible pouch.
In Medicines, their daily vitamin drops are a must, please pack them and give them on time. Additionally, you may pack cold syrup, paracetamol drops, nasal drops, upset stomach medicine and colic medicine or tummy roll-on. Insect-repellent roll-ons or sprays if needed as per your place of travel can also be added to the list. There are even patches and after-bite balms available.
4. Clothing Essentials
Apart from the clothes packed for your trip, always have two or three spare sets of just-born clothes, a few pairs of socks, mittens and caps in the diaper bag. Don’t forget to carry a sweater/sweatshirt, if you are travelling during winter.
Tip: A breastfeeding mother needs to be dressed in breastfeeding-friendly attire for road travel.
Carry a soft shawl to cover your space to have it a bit dark for your tiny human to sleep. It can be used if the mother prefers to cover and breastfeed.
Tips to calm a cranky infant
It is normal for babies to be cranky, especially in travel. Just be calm and try out these tips,
- Hold them close to your chest, as your warmth would provide them with a sense of comfort while they are cranky.
- All little ones would love their mother’s voice, so please sing to them while rocking them in your hands. Singing their favourite lullabies or just talking softly in a sing-song voice would ease them and would let them drift off to sleep.
- Their favourite rattles and teether toys can also calm them.
- Checking on their diapers and changing them once they are full would keep them comfortable.
- White noise really can be a god-send gift during travel. So when your sweetie pie is too cranky, play a couple of soothing sounds like rain/beach waves, etc for a long time, they would eventually calm down for these calming sounds.
- If your tiny tot is of sitting age, then let them just sit and watch the scenery outside the window. Point out the trees, sky, and clouds to them and narrate a story based on those.
Check for hunger cues and feed them on time. Softly stroke their hair, massaging slowly in circles or massage their cute little hands and legs.
- There are even oil blends for soothing babies during travel, one such oil is this one. I have personally used this. Just apply two drops mixed with coconut or olive oil to their wrists and massage gently. The aroma from this would calm/soothe them down. But babies have delicate skin so it is better to have a patch test long before travel to understand if it suits your just-born skin. Use this only if she/he is very cranky beyond control.
Hoping you and your little one will have a happy and safe journey. These tips and packing list should come in handy to prepare yourself for a road trip with your tiny tot.