For many parents, traveling with a new baby can be stressful. Add in the fact that adjusting to regular life with a newborn can be a bit overwhelming – it’s enough to make you want to stay home until your newborn starts kindergarten!
Don’t fear – the experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare have you covered. We’re here to give you key tips and suggestions to help make your first family trip a memorable one – for all the right reasons.
Pack it up
If you aren’t a list maker – become one! Start a week before your departure and jot down notes on the essentials that your baby seems to enjoy the most – certain blankets, pacifiers, a bouncy seat or travel swing, sound machine, etc. Add the must-haves of diapers (more than you think you’ll need), wipes (again – more than you think you’ll need) and many outfit changes, both for the car and for the destination.
Nursing on the go
If you are nursing your little one, consider sitting in the backseat alongside the car seat so you can pick up on their feeding cues. Also, plan frequent stops for nursing breaks while on long road trips. Planning out the stops will reduce the stress of having to stop unexpectedly because the baby is upset and hungry. Once you stop, give the baby a chance to stretch outside of their car seat and freshen their outfit and diaper as needed.
Another important tip? Self-care.
“Remember to make yourself a priority too,” says Sandi Brown, Nurse and Lactation Consultant at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “Stretch each time you stop. It’s important to eat well and rest so that you can maintain a healthy milk supply on the trip.”
Sandi also reminds mothers to bring a water bottle and continually refill it to stay hydrated, which also will help with their milk supply.
Sleep safe: the essentials
When both baby and parents are out of their home routine and exhausted from traveling, bringing the baby into bed with you might feel like the easiest solution. However, the experts at St. Elizabeth do not recommend co-sleeping, either at home or while traveling.
“It’s really important to plan ahead for how you are going to achieve safe sleep while on a trip,” says Tabatha Biddle, Maternal Child Health Education Specialist at St. Elizabeth. “Co-sleeping significantly increases the baby’s risk of SUID/SIDS.”
Tabatha recommends staying at locations that offer a crib for your baby or planning to bring along a pack-n-play from home. She also reminds parents about the ABC’s of safe sleeping for babies:
- A – Alone in crib
- B – Back to sleep
- C – Crib for sleeping
Keeping the same safe sleep practices that you do at home is key while traveling.
We’re Here to Help with all your Baby Needs
With a little planning ahead and a lot of flexibility, your first trip as a family will be one you’ll always remember. It won’t go perfectly, but it will be perfectly wonderful.
For more information on safe sleep, traveling with a newborn or nursing on the go, please contact St. Elizabeth Lactation Consultants at (859) 301-2631.