My husband and I love to travel so we decided early on we weren’t going to stop going on trips just because we added a little member to our family! Thank goodness Milly is a natural born adventurer who loves to be on the go. She’s four months old and already she’s been on a handful of flights, across country twice and more weekend getaways than I can count. I’ve learned plenty of tips and tricks along the way and you can read about those here.
When I began the overwhelming task of packing for Milly, it was daunting. I already joke that babies are little hoarders so how do you choose what to bring when they need so much stuff? I decided to prioritize as many products that do double duty as possible. I thought about what things would make her comfortable and being away from home easier and finally, what things I use the most at home. Here are my 14 favorite products for traveling with a baby. Consider this your packing checklist!
While many hotels provide a crib you can borrow during your stay, I prefer to bring my own. Weighing in at under 3 lbs and super compact, it’s ideal for travel. Most bassinets are so bulky and big they take up an entire piece of luggage meaning that’s one more bag you have to pay for. I also like that the mattress is removable and the sheet is machine washable. This one folds up easily and is for approximately the first 3 months. The breathable mesh panels give such a peace of mind with an infant. We took this on several trips and it allowed us to go to bed knowing Milly was safe and comfortable. It should be noted that this bassinet should not be used when the infant begins to push up on hands and knees or has reached 15 lbs. (6.8 kg.), whichever comes first.
“Munchkin the Monkey” as we call him is Milly’s best friend. He’s been on every trip with us so thank goodness he can go in the wash! I understand parents want to bring their child’s lovey with them on trips plus the blanket, teethers and more toys but that leaves room for losing items! And that’s a whole lot of stuff to pack! This is a packing checklist on the essentials-what you really NEED to bring. I learned early on from my mommy friends that it’s best to have a travel lovey that only goes on trips with you….and to buy two ;) just in case. I love how this monkey pulls triple duty. The textured paws massage Milly’s sore gums. The crinkly paper is great for keeping her attention on road trips and it even rattles. Plus the clip at the top means you can attach it to almost anything.
Having a travel bottle warmer is a must have for our family. The last two trips we took were for my work so my husband was doing about half of the feedings using my frozen breast milk. This makes it convenient for him to feed our daughter when Mommy is working or on the go. The flexible heating band conforms to the bottle so it warms evenly and quickly. We even plugged the warmer into our Uber on the way to the hotel!
This has been Milly’s favorite bottle since birth. Luckily we didn’t have to try a dozen bottles before finding the perfect one for her because a friend had suggested we try LATCH™. For a breastfeeding mama I love the slow flow and ultra flexible nipple that flexes as she eats. It mimics the movement of a real breast. And the anti-colic valve helps ensure bubbles don’t travel through the breast milk meaning Milly goes to sleep just as easy as when she breastfeeds. I don’t know what we would do if my husband couldn’t feed Milly with such ease. And bottles aren’t just for when Milly’s away from me. There have been so many instances where we were glad we had a bottle ready for her (waiting in line to rent a car, in the taxi on the way home, during dinner at a restaurant, and many more.) Even if you are a breastfeeding Mama, make sure you pack at least two bottles including a little cleaning brush and soap when you travel. You’ll be so glad you did.
For the same reasons mentioned above, never go on a trip without a manual breast pump. You never know when you can’t breastfeed but need to relieve yourself and/or feed your baby. This is the best $30 I’ve ever spent. It’s small, easy to use, discreet and quiet. On long road trips I've used it to pump in the car (while my husband drives). I actually prefer my manual breast pump over my electric. It just feels more efficient and I don't need to be teethered to an electrical outlet to use it!
When you’re traveling with a baby sleep is so important. We sometimes give Milly two baths a day when we are on the road. One is for playtime that we make into an activity. This is great because it’s a nice way for her to play and let out some energy! The other bath is to calm and relax her before bedtime. Ironically, our favorite California Baby bubble bath is “Party!” and “Calming”! Organic, pure and safe it’s the only skincare I use on her.
When you’re on the go and your baby’s schedule is all out of wack, you want all the help you can get when it comes to getting them to sleep. This sound machine is as small as a baby bottle and battery operated so it’s super convenient for on the go. It’s instantly calming and since we use one at home too, Milly is easily taken to dream city as soon as I turn it on. Read more about why I swear by this when I travel here.
These super soft muslin blankets are so versatile. Use them as a swaddle, tummy time blanket, burp cloth, blanket, stroller cover, breastfeeding cover and more. I make sure my diaper bag, car and stroller always have them!
Baby wearing is truly key when traveling. I know us Moms are used to holding our baby and doing everything with one arm but save yourself the sore biceps by investing in a baby carrier. Until Milly is bigger, I’m using a hand-me-down one my sister gave me that she used with my nephews over 10 years ago!
While I won’t consider this a must have, if you travel a lot, it is worth the investment. This car seat and stroller in one is compact and easy for travel. It made getting in and out of cabs when we traveled to NYC a breeze. With one click it goes from stroller to car seat and vice versa. So narrow and small, it fit in the teeniest of areas. Having this on a trip eliminated the need to pack a separate car seat and stroller.
A diaper bag that doesn't look like a “diaper bag” was important to me when looking for something I could take on vacations, especially since I would also be using it as my handbag. Obviously I needed it to be functional too. The fact that this bag is a backpack-allowing me to carry one less thing –and it’s sophisticated and modern-I decided to get two. There are so many smart cubbies, and the zippered flap opens wide so you can easily grab all of your baby essentials.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile you want your little one to be comfortable. Dress them in zip up sleepers so they stay warm and cozy. Changing their diaper is also much easier when you aren’t fiddling with snaps and buttons! These are also really great to wear in cold weather climates underneath their jackets and blankets so you can transition from inside to outside a lot easier.
This bag made bringing Milly’s car seat when we flew with her really easy. Rolled as a suitcase or worn as a book bag, we maneuvered through the airport with very little effort. The extra large zipper made it easy to fit our Doona in the bag even when we had limited space at the gate. What’s nice about waiting to check the car seat at the gate is if the flight isn’t full many airlines will give a vacant seat to your baby allowing you to use the car seat on the plane. Plus, if you do check your car seat this cover will keep it protected and safe!