As new parents, you might know that you’re currently standing at the shores of an ocean full of ‘firsts’. From first words to first steps, the first day of school, and first lost tooth, there is a myriad of exciting ‘firsts’ coming your way! And although we like to focus on the positives here, there’s no denying that there are a few negative ‘firsts’ too. If you don’t want your baby’s first tantrum to coincide with their first trip, follow this new parent’s guide for smooth travelling.
Get a car seat
Quality convertible car seats can follow your new baby straight from the day they leave the hospital, to their first day at school! This is fantastic for two major reasons. Firstly, if you introduce your new baby to their car seat right away, you won’t need to worry about getting them accustomed to sitting in their seat later down the road, which will make travelling a much more positive, easygoing, and most importantly, safe experience from the get-go. Secondly, the longevity of the seat can aid in making your child feel positive about their car seat. It’s easier to make travelling a consistently positive experience if there’s some consistency attached to the experience. This means equipping your car with comfort items and activities, like toys and CDs full of their favourite songs. The car seat can be a comfort item in itself if your baby develops positive affiliations with it. This can be achieved in a variety of different ways, from personalising the seat with your child, or simply by planning short trips to inspire excitement.
Make a baby travel pack
Once you and your child have graduated from your short car trips, you’ll naturally want to up the ante and head on a cross-country or even international getaway! And, like all longer trips, it can be daunting thinking about what you’ll need to pack when you’re travelling with your family. Thankfully, there are many who’ve come before you, and you can happily inherit our experiential wisdom. Packing for your baby is about the essentials, first and foremost. If you’re flying, you’ll want to pack a suitcase full of your sanitary items (like diapers, baby wipes, powders and creams like diaper cream and sunscreen), as well as any jars of food, bottles, utensils and other crockery. Make sure you pack all your liquids in ziplock bags to avoid any spillages and then be sure to pack a few extra empty zip locks for storing food or snacks on the go once you’ve landed. For your carry-on luggage, be sure to pack enough diapers and wipes for the flight, as well as a few comfort items or activities to keep your baby entertained during the flight.
Prepare thoroughly for air travel
Small things like air pressure or cabin chills, can make a trip ugly very, very fast. But thankfully, there are ways to ensure you’re prepared for absolutely everything. For instance, take the pressure off their little ears and ensure that no nasty ear-popping occurs by giving your little ones a pacifier or even a bottle during take-off. And some sensible layers will work wonders when it comes to combating any draughts on-flight. Some parents have even vouched for taking their car seat on flights, as it simplifies airport procedures, and can also often help younger children feel more comfortable during flights, especially if there are ever any periods of heavy turbulence. And finally, you might even choose to go above and beyond and provide all your cabin mates with a little, handmade ‘care pack’ that comes equipped with a polite note letting them know you’re travelling with an infant, a candy bar or a lollipop, and a pair of earplugs for their personal use. Even though baby cries can be irksome, you’d be surprised how sympathetic and supportive people can be, especially when it comes to long journeys.
Yes, there are a lot of nasty ‘firsts’ out there. And whilst some of them are thoroughly unavoidable, you’ll be happy to hear that ‘first trip’ is surely not one of them. If you follow this guide, you’ll be sure to have a happy, bubbly little junior jetsetter on your hands in no time at all.