Traveling with Your Newborn: Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Journey

So you're getting ready for your first trip with your newborn! Whether you're visiting family or taking a vacation, traveling with an infant can seem daunting. But with some planning and preparation, you can make your trip go smoothly. This guide contains our top tips for traveling with a newborn. If you have twins, be sure to check out our guide on how to travel with twin babies

1. Plan ahead

The first step is to plan your trip carefully. Consider the following factors:

  • When is the best time to travel?
  • How long will you be gone?
  • What type of transportation will you use?
  • Where will you stay?
  • What activities will you do?

Once you have a general plan in place, you can start to make more specific arrangements. If you are driving, you should also remember to plan for regular breaks. It's not only good for the baby but also your sanity. And if flying, try to book flights during times when your baby is naturally more relaxed. Late-night flights or early-morning trips might be a good option.

2. Pack smart

You'll want to pack as lightly as possible, especially if you're traveling by air. Pack only the essentials, and make sure everything is easy to access. You'll also want to pack a few extras just in case. Here are some extra tips: 

  • Make a checklist. Write down everything you need to bring for your baby and yourself. This will help you avoid forgetting anything important or packing too much.
  • Only take what you really need. Babies don't require much! Focus on an ample supply of diapers, wipes, a few changes of clothes, and any medications/supplies.
  • Be prepared for messes – pack a plastic bag or two to store soiled clothes. Bring an extra outfit for baby in case of spit-ups or blowouts.
  • Don't forget a few small toys or books to keep baby entertained. Things like soft rattles, crinkle books, or a baby mirror are perfect.

We’ve talked about the essentials that you need for different situations extensively on our site. From your hospital bag checklist to diaper bag basics, we have it all. You’ll also love this really detailed guide on everything you need to buy for your little one

That said, if you are planning to travel with your baby, here is a quick and dirty list of everything you’ll need to pack: 

  • Diapers and Wipes: Pack more than you think you'll need. Trust us; you'll be glad you did.
  • Change of Clothes: For both you and the baby. Accidents happen, and it's better to be over-prepared.
  • Feeding Supplies: Whether you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, ensure you have everything you need. Don't forget bottles, formula, breast pump, and a nursing cover if necessary. Having food on hand will keep your little one happy.
  • Blankets and Swaddles: Babies love to be cozy, and having a familiar blanket can provide comfort during naptime.
  • Travel-Sized First Aid Kit: Just in case of any bumps, bruises, or unexpected situations.
  • Hydration Station: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially if you're breastfeeding. Carry a water bottle for yourself and, if applicable, baby bottles with water.
  • Entertainment essentials: Bring a few of your baby's favorite toys to keep them entertained during the journey.

If you’ll be flying, consider also packing some airline-approved gear. Use an FAA-approved car seat and stroller if possible. This will allow your little one to be cozy and contained. Wearable baby carriers are great for keeping your hands free while navigating airports. Opt for soft structured carriers rather than slings.

3. Be Flexible

Things don't always go according to plan, so you have to be flexible. If your newborn gets fussy, don't be afraid to take a break. You may also need to adjust your itinerary if your newborn is not feeling well.

Therefore, being flexible means: 

  • Following your baby’s cues: Your baby is the boss. Pay attention to their signals. Don’t force your little one to follow your schedule. Instead, adapt to your baby’s needs.
  • Expecting the unexpected: Traveling with your newborn can be unpredictable, so be prepared for anything. You might encounter delays, cancellations, bad weather, traffic, lost luggage, or even all these things on the same trip. Don’t let it ruin your trip. 
  • Enjoying the moment: Sure, traveling with your newborn can be stressful, but it can also be rewarding. You get to see new places, meet new people, and create new memories with your baby. So just focus on the big picture and have fun.

As you can see, flexibility is key when traveling with a newborn. Be prepared for unexpected detours, diaper blowouts, and the occasional meltdown. Stay calm, and don't be too hard on yourself. The memories you’ll create on this trip will be worth the effort!

4. Master the routine

Try to stick to your baby's normal routine as much as possible. Keep nap times, feeding times, and bedtime consistent. If flying or driving long distances, time your departure so your baby sleeps during the journey. Aim to travel during nap time.

5. Get your newborn used to travel

If you're planning on traveling a lot with your newborn, it's a good idea to get them used to travel early on. Start by taking short trips, and gradually increase the length of your trips over time. This will help you figure out what you need to plan for during longer trips. 

Also, if the trip you are planning involves time zone changes, try to adjust your little one’s schedule gradually in the days leading up to your trip. Your sanity will thank you for it!

6. Enjoy the journey

Traveling with a newborn can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun. Take some time to enjoy the journey, and make memories that you'll cherish forever.

What to bring with you

  • Pack diapers and wipes: You'll need to bring plenty of diapers and wipes, especially if you're going to be gone for a long time. You may also want to pack a few disposable changing mats.
  • Bring comfortable clothing: Your newborn will be most comfortable in loose, comfortable clothing. Choose fabrics that are breathable and easy to clean. You'll also want to pack a few changes of clothes, just in case.
  • Bring food and drinks: If you're breastfeeding, you'll need to bring a breast pump and plenty of milk. If you're bottle-feeding, you'll need to bring formula, bottles, and water. You may also want to pack some snacks for yourself.
  • Bring entertainment: To keep your newborn entertained, bring some toys, books, and music. You may also want to bring a portable DVD player or a tablet with some downloaded games or videos.

Lodging and Sleeping Tips

  • Scope out family-friendly hotels that can provide cribs or rollaway beds.
  • If staying with relatives, set up a portable crib/bassinet so baby has a consistent sleep space.
  • Ask about hotel soundproofing if booking a room. You want external noise to be minimal.
  • Try your best to create an ideal sleep environment with a comfortable temperature, darkened room, white noise, etc.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, with the right attitude and preparations, traveling with a newborn can not only be very manageable but also a great experience for both you and your kiddo! By following these tips, you can make your trip a success. Don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from making memories together! Just focus on baby's needs and keep a sense of humor. You've got this!