Travelling with babies can be daunting; juggling being out of your normal routine and without your home comforts is difficult enough, and that’s before you try working out how on earth you’re going to carry everything! Babywearing is a great way to make travelling with babies lighter and easier, but that’s not all you need to think about.
Here are some top tips from mum of two, and our Carrying Consultant, Emily.
1. TAKE A BABY CARRIER!
There are so many reasons why a good carrier is a travelling essential; with your baby or toddler snugly supported in a wrap or carrier, you don’t need to worry about whether they are safe or the places you’re going are buggy-friendly. Up steps, over sand, on and off transport, you can both easily go wherever your feet take you, relaxed by feeling your baby safe and snug against you. And when out of their normal routine, a comfy carrier is a great place for your baby or toddler to nap.
Using a carrier through busy airports makes transfers super quick and easy. Be aware though that you may be asked to remove your baby from a sling for security checks, and to use the airline provided baby restraints for takeoffs and landings.
2. DON’T TAKE YOUR EXPENSIVE BUGGY
Buggies can easily get bashed about by baggage handlers, and what works at home may not suit wherever you’re going. Consider buying a lightweight cheap buggy, renting one at your destination, or go all out and buggy-free with just your carrier, if you’re confident to do so.
3. YOU CAN NEVER PACK TOO MANY SNACKS
Breast or bottle feeding, many slings can be adapted as a feeding aid. Whilst you may not be completely hands-free, you could use your sling instead of a feeding cushion, or to help you get more mobile whilst feeding. Feed your baby for takeoffs and landings if possible, as this can help equalise their ear pressure.
For toddlers, pack plenty of healthy snacks to keep everyone going through long journeys. Pre-portion milk powder, fruit and vegetable pieces, cereals or meals into disposable containers or tied sandwich bags so you can hand something over whenever needed and don’t end up carrying all the rubbish around. And have plenty of bottled water to keep everyone happily hydrated.
4. BANISH THE BOREDOM
For bigger babies and toddlers, a good supply of things to do is also vital. I pre-portion my kids’ toys as much as their snacks! Tied sandwich bags with selections of lego, small vehicles, drawing materials, stickers etc. – each bag is a new thing to do! Take compact reading books, throwaway activity books, and plenty of paper for scribbles and games.
Pre-load your phone or tablet with favourite programs and games (toddler sized headphones are a great accessory to have for this). For long journeys take an extra power pack. Don’t forget their favourite toy, though if this is a noisy one you’ll have to ration it or take out the batteries to avoid irritating other travellers.
5. THINK MULTIPURPOSE
With space at a premium, pack items that can be adapted for different uses. Basic muslin cloths can be used for everything from washable wipes/nappies to bandana sunhats; they dry quickly and you won’t be distraught if they get lost. A roll of basic sandwich bags will be equally useful when you need to hold half-eaten snacks, rubbish, leaking sun creams or a daily ration of lego.
A wraparound sling such the Izmi Wrap may also be used as a sunshade, beach or cot blanket. A buckled carrier could be used to secure your baby outwards facing on your lap on a plane or at meal times when there’s no high chair available. Think about what you really need, and what you can manage without.
Emily Williamson, Wear My Baby Lead Consultant and designer of the Izmi Baby Carrier – www.izmibaby.co.uk