There are lots of things to remember when travelling with a baby. Whether you are just going for a picnic at the park or across the globe on an airplane, there are essential items you will need to pack to make sure the journey is smooth and your baby stays happy. It is also vital to consider how you will keep your baby cool in the warmth and cosy in the cold for their comfort and safety while on the move. In the below article we look at some essentials to remember when travelling with your newborn, including essential baby travel items and baby travel products to keep your little ones happy while on the move.
Is It Safe To Travel with a Baby?
Generally, it is considered safe to travel with your baby a matter of days after they are born. Of course, it will depend on your specific circumstances and whether there are any complexities with travelling with your newborn. The mode of travel will also be a factor when it comes to determining whether it is safe to travel with your newborn or not. Below we have gone into a bit more detail for various forms of travel:
- Car: You can take your newborn baby in the car from day one, provided you have a car seat correctly fitted. Guidelines state that you shouldn’t leave your baby in their car seat for any longer than necessary, so if you have a long journey ahead of you, make sure you stop often enough and take your baby out of their car seat to prevent flat-head syndrome and reduce the chances of breathing difficulties for your baby. Bonus Tip: Having a Snugglebundl is invaluable for this purpose as you can take your baby out of their car seat without waking them, meaning you can ensure their safety without disturbing their sleep.
- Plane: When travelling by plane with a newborn there are a few factors to consider before you whisk your baby off on their first airplane journey. Some airlines might have particular rules when it comes to how old your baby needs to be before they go on a plane, some airlines require a baby be at least 2 days old where as some will only allow a baby to fly after at least 2 weeks. It is important to check this before you book your flight. Furthermore, doctors will generally advise you wait until your baby’s immune system has developed somewhat before you take them abroad. This can take between 3 and 6 months but consult your doctor about the optimal amount of time to wait before taking your baby on a plane.
- Train: Similar to taking your baby on a plane, travelling via train with a newborn can put them at risk of catching something if their immune system isn’t well developed yet, so be sure to check with your doctor before taking your newborn on the train.
- Bus: When taking a very young baby on a bus, the same rules should apply as when taking them on the train – Check with your doctor and be aware that your baby’s immune response may not be very strong in their first few weeks and months, so avoiding public transport is a good idea.
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How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Travel with Your Baby?
As well as considering your baby’s health and safety before travelling with them, you should also think about your own readiness to travel, whether that be a long road trip to see family or a getaway abroad. There is no hard-and-fast rule about when you can start travelling with a baby. It is mostly down to whether you feel well enough for a long-haul journey. Recovery time after childbirth varies from mother to mother. You might feel well enough to travel in a week or two, but for some it can take months before they are ready to brave the world outside their newborn bubble. If you had birth complications or a c-section, your recovery time is likely to be longer. If you feel well enough, but unsure if it is sensible to travel, be sure to consult your doctor.
By Car: The safest thing to do is wait 6 weeks after you give birth before you start driving. However, if you don’t experience dizziness or excess bleeding you can try short journeys after a couple of weeks. If you have had a caesarean, you should always wait at least 6 weeks to recover before driving. You have had a major surgical procedure after all, and one that will impair your stomach muscles; muscles that are important when it comes to performing an emergency stop, so if your ability to do this is compromised, it would be unsafe to drive until you can do this comfortably. You should also note that you won’t be able to lift a car seat into the car straight after a c-section, as experts recommend you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks. This is where a Snugglebundl also comes in extremely handy, because it allows you to lift your little one out of their car seat without having to awkwardly bend down and lift your baby or take the car seat out of the car.
If you do not have a car to travel home in after you give birth, a taxi is the next best thing, but be aware that hospital policies also insist you have a car seat for your baby to go home in a taxi.
By Plane: If you have had a c-section, you should wait until after your 6-week postpartum check-up before taking a flight. When travelling by plane, it is important to remember that the high air pressure conditions on a flight can put you at high risk of blood clots due to pregnancy and this risk can persist for up to 8 weeks after you give birth. Most airlines will let you fly before this 6-to-8-week period, so you should consult with your doctor to determine whether it is safe for you to fly before this time. When travelling by plane postpartum, be sure to move and walk around the plane as much as possible when it is safe to do so, in order to keep blood flow going, and remember to drink plenty of water.
Other Public Transport (Train and Bus): Travelling on public transport just after you give birth may not be the best idea in terms of the amount of stress it might cause you and your newborn. Buses specifically can bounce around on uneven roads, which could be uncomfortable for your postpartum body and can disturb your baby, especially if they are asleep. Trains and buses are bustling environments, and you can’t necessarily expect the strangers around you to be as considerate as they should be of you and your newborn. When taking your baby home from the hospital, it is strongly recommended that you use a car or taxi as your form of transport. If you need to take public transport in the weeks after you give birth, make sure you do so safely. On a bus, it is best to either have your baby in a buggy, ensure you place them in the designated safe area in the bus (this is usually close to the doors of the bus) and put the brakes on the wheels so there is no chance of the pram rolling around, or have them in a front-pack carrier so they are attached to the front of your body. The same rules should apply when travelling with a baby on a train.
Although you can technically travel with your baby when they are much younger, it is a good idea to wait until their immune system is better developed if possible. For your own benefit too, it is worth avoiding travel until you are confident you and your baby are up for it.
What Do You Need to Pack When Travelling with a Baby?
When travelling with your baby, there are a selection of baby travel items that you will need to remember to pack to ensure you are as prepared as possible. Creating a baby travel checklist will help to make sure that you have everything you may need. We have compiled some of the baby travel essentials you are likely to need when travelling with your newborn:
When Travelling Anywhere:
- A Snugglebundl: Snugglebundls are priceless products when it comes to travelling with your baby. Easy transfer from car seat to pram without waking and a versatile nap wrap which will keep your baby cosy but which you can also open the panels for to cool them down in warmer temperatures. It is also great for breastfeeding on the go if you prefer to be covered while nursing. The Lightweight Snugglebundl is perfect if you’re going somewhere warm as it is the perfect summer baby blanket and it takes up hardly any space in your suitcase which is a plus if you have limited packing space.
- Nappies, Changing Equipment and Wipes: You don’t want to be caught out without the very necessary changing equipment while travelling. Make sure your changing bag is well stocked with nappies, baby wipes, nappy rash cream and somewhere to dispose of dirty nappies if you think you might not have access to a bin.
- Milk/Formula: If you are not exclusively breastfeeding, you want to make sure you have food for your baby that is ready for travelling as nobody wants a hungry baby! Make sure you have expressed breast milk bottled, bottled formula ready to go, or, if your baby is eating solids or food other than breast milk or formula, plenty of jarred baby food, baby food prepared by yourself or snacks to prevent your little one getting peckish!
- Pushchair or Sling: A vital part of travelling with a baby is having something to carry them in! A pushchair is ideal if you need extra places to store things like changing bags, baby food, toys and handbags, and if you are going out for a long time and won’t be able to carry your baby on your body for hours or as your baby gets bigger. Slings are great for bonding with your little one, if your baby is feeling particularly fussy or unsettled, and for short walks and journeys where you don’t need lots of excess baggage.
- Dummies/Blanket/Teddy/Toys: When travelling with your baby you should also bring any little comforters they may have such as dummies, blankets or maybe a favorite teddy. It is also a good idea to bring something that can keep them occupied for a little while, such as little toys or a story book.
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When Going on a Plane/Abroad/Away Overnight:
- Car Seat and/or Lightweight Pram + a Snugglebundl: Though it is not required by law for your baby to be in a car seat on a flight, it is one of the safest ways for your baby to travel on a plane when compared to your baby being on your lap. You must make sure that your car seat model is certified for air travel and you will also want to take your baby out of their car seat every hour or so. If your baby has a seat booked on the plane then you can usually bring a pram or baby carrier on board for free provided it is collapsible and it doesn’t contain any other items, but it’s best to check with your airline to see what their specific rules are. Try to pack a lightweight pushchair as you will thank yourself when lugging it around on your travels. Having a Snugglebundl while travelling on a plane or ferry is extremely useful. If your baby is crying (much to the dismay of your fellow passengers), you can use the Snugglebundl to rock them back to sleep. The Snugglebundl is also great as a breastfeeding cover for mums who prefer to be covered while nursing and for transferring your baby between cuddles, their car seat and pram. If you choose not to have a car seat for your baby on a flight, a Snugglebundl makes it incredibly easy to bring your baby on a plane without waking them up and disturbing the people around you. Always check the airline guidelines when it comes to taking your baby on a plane safely.
- Your Baby’s Passport: All UK citizens must have a passport to travel abroad, including babies of all ages, so make sure your little one’s passport is packed along with any other documents you may need, for example travel insurance for you and your baby.
- Toiletries: Make sure you don’t forget toiletries or any necessary medication, such as nappy rash cream, baby oil, baby wash, shampoo, lotion and a sponge etc. If you are going somewhere warm and sunny, make sure you pack a baby-friendly sun cream too.
- Clothes: Pack enough outfits so your baby has something clean to wear each day, along with pyjamas and clothes for all weather conditions such as vests, shorts (but be sure to have long and breathable leggings/trousers and long-sleeved vests to keep the sun off your baby), hats to protect them from too much sun, and, for cold weather, cosy hats, mittens, socks, jumpers and coats or snowsuits.
- Travel Cot: If the accommodation where you are staying does not provide somewhere for your baby to sleep, ensure you bring your own compact travel crib.
How Can You Feed Your Baby When Travelling?
If you are ready to travel with your baby then there are some things you will want to make sure you are prepared for. Feeding your baby while on the move can be a daunting thought but is really not something you should stress about. We understand the thought of breastfeeding while travelling can be especially intimidating, but you are not the first parent to breastfeed in public and you certainly won’t be the last! Parents feed their little ones while travelling all the time and people are generally accepting of it all across the world. In some countries, mothers are encouraged to take a more discreet approach to breastfeeding and use nursing rooms or a cover to feed, but even in countries where women are not allowed to show any part of their body in public, breastfeeding is mostly considered acceptable. It is worth taking a more private approach to breastfeeding if you are unsure of local's attitudes towards the matter; and many airports and train stations etc will have nursing rooms available to use.
If you bottle feed your baby or have moved on to solid foods already, then you may find the thought of feeding your baby while travelling less concerning. However, there are still things you will want to consider! Making sure that you have wipes on hand is a good start so that you can easily clean up any extra mess you will inevitably face when feeding your baby while on the move. Trains, planes and even car journeys can be unpredictable, so it may be a good idea to pack a change of clothes for your little one just in case. Although it is acceptable to feed your baby in most places, being considerate of those around you is the nice thing to do.
Breastfeeding your baby while travelling is socially acceptable in most circumstances and nursing mothers are protected by law in many countries. In some countries, breastfeeding in public can be a little more controversial so it is worth taking a more private approach if you are unsure. Nursing rooms are commonplace in countries where breastfeeding in public is more controversial. Breastfeeding on a plane is perfectly acceptable but some airlines will ask you to cover up for the sake of other passengers. Breastfeeding on a train or bus is also perfectly acceptable.
A Snugglebundl is a travel essential when feeding your baby in public! The Lightweight Snugglebundl is a great breastfeeding cover for mums who want to cover up while nursing, it’s also extra light and takes up hardly any room in your bags!
A Snugglebundl is perfect for when feeding your little one in public! Find out more about the Snugglebundl today...
How To Keep Your Baby Happy While Travelling?
Keeping your baby as happy as possible while travelling is essential if you want a smooth journey. Making sure you have bottles, changing supplies and something to keep your little one entertained will make life a lot easier for parents.
If travelling by plane there are considerations you can take to ensure your journey is as easy as possible. Booking ahead and planning what times you need to be at the airport and ready for takeoff will enable you to schedule yours and your baby's day. Takeoff, landing and turbulence can all be scary for babies, so you may want to keep them occupied with their bottle, dummy, little toy, teddy or similar during this time. If travelling by plane, it is a good idea to get up and get a change of scenery for you and your baby once in a while. Not only is this an opportunity for you to stretch your legs and get your baby moving, but a little walk around will also let your baby see something new. Keeping your baby hydrated while on a plane will also be essential for smooth travel.
Similar to a plane, when travelling by train on a long journey, it is worth getting up and having a little walk around if it is safe to do so. Your baby will love to see new faces, especially other little children and kids, and getting up and moving around will benefit both you and baby. It won’t be possible to get up and have a walk around on a bus journey but in most cases travel by bus will usually be for shorter journeys. If you are travelling by car with your little one then keep them amused by attaching little toys to their car seat, by giving them something safe to hold and play with like a teddybear, storybook or rattle toy (avoid anything that could be a choking hazard), or even by singing your baby a song. Remember to pull over regularly as well so that your little one isn’t in their car seat for too long and so that you can stretch your legs.
Where possible, you should keep journey times short. Nobody likes travelling for hours on end, especially when travelling with a newborn, and by keeping travel times to a minimum you will be able to keep your little one as happy as possible.
Keeping Your Baby Cool But Cosy in All Weather Conditions
Many parents will be concerned about keeping their baby the right temperature while travelling. Keeping your baby cosy but cool is paramount for their health, but it’s difficult to be continually checking whether or not your baby is too hot or too cold. This is why we have created the Lightweight Snugglebundl, an essential for when you travel with a baby! Just like the original lift and lay blanket which allows you to move your baby without waking them, the Lightweight version is made from an open-weave cotton material which provides greater airflow, vital for keeping your baby cool; making the Lightweight Snugglebundl not only a fantastic travel accessory but the best blanket for preventing your baby from overheating in summer and warmer climates. If your little one begins to get chilly, you can use the ties on the Lightweight Snugglebundl to transform it into a cosy nap wrap!
The Snugglebundl, Lightweight or Regular, is also perfect for winter. When your baby is in a car seat, they should never be dressed in very thick jumpers, padded winter suits or jackets as these may compress in a crash, causing the car seat harness to not be as tight as it should be. Furthermore, your baby could overheat in these thick clothes if they are in their car seat for prolonged amounts of time. This can prove problematic when trying to make sure your child is cosy but cool in their car seat all year round. Having a Snugglebundl is the most versatile way to make sure your baby is the right temperature in all climates. Made of a thin and dense material, no thicker than a cloth nappy, the Snugglebundl is perfectly safe to use in both 3 and 5-point car seats and has been safety and crashed tested to US and EU standards. Thanks to the nap wrap feature, your baby can go from chilly to cosy and warm in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, cooling your baby down couldn’t be easier! Simply open the panels of the Snugglebundl and your little one will stay as cool as if they were lying on a playmat!
Snugglebundls have a wide range of priceless benefits for you and your baby, but the parent favourite is being able to lift your sleeping baby out of their car seat, pram or cot without waking. The unpredictability of travelling and being away from home will inevitably disturb your baby’s sleep routine. At home, you can often plan your life around your little one’s naps, but when you have places to be at specific times, it’s tricky to ensure your baby gets the sleep they need, meaning you are likely to end up with a grumpy tot. Having a Snugglebundl means more precious sleep for your baby and more peace for you.
When it comes to travelling with a baby, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Having a handy list of tips and items to take on journeys will help to make your day as stress-free as possible. You don’t need to be scared of travel with your newborn, but by keeping the above in mind you should be well prepared for your journey.