Travel is adventure. Travel is learning. Travel makes children more adaptable and curious. Travel builds the bonds of family. So why wouldn’t you go?
The Best Age to Travel with a Baby
The pros and cons of the various stages of Baby’s first years may help you decide if packing up and heading out will be a pain or a pleasure. With the proper expectations and preparation, many parents share their love of travel with their children at any age.
0-3 Months: Newborns are developing their immune systems and sleep/feed schedules. Some are often colicky. New parents are just getting the hang of managing life with an infant and recovering from childbirth. Although they are easy to carry and have fewer needs (eat, sleep, diaper change, repeat), it is recommended that traveling with an infant be limited to trips that are absolutely necessary at this time. If circumstances dictate traveling with your newborn, then be sure to pack your cozy swaddle blankets to keep your little one secure and comfortable, and try to keep to established routines.
3-9 months: Babies still sleep a lot at this stage. Traveling with an infant who is not very mobile and will likely still be nursing or bottle-feeding regularly will allow for some ease. Travel at this stage is relatively simple and easy-going if you can travel light and resist the urge to pack for every possibility. The comfort of the Woolino 4 season merino wool baby sleep bag will keep your baby at a perfect temperature on a plane; train or automobile.
9-12 months: Baby’s new-found mobility may make traveling a challenge at this age, but schedules are more solidified. A baby carrier can make nap time on-the-go a breeze. Baby’s needs are still simple, and a few well-chosen toys can entertain your little traveler between naps and feedings. The convenient seat belt slot in the Woolino Baby Sleep Bag makes getting in and out of the car seat on road trips with your baby a snap.
12-18 months: The walking toddler is less likely to find a long car ride or a trans-Atlantic flight tolerable unless you have a child who finds the motion sleep-inducing. And while our Toddler Sleep Bags are designed to give your toddler more freedom to move, it may be a struggle at this age to sit still on long trips. Give yourself more time and plan on breaking up your trip with short stops to stretch those tiny legs if possible. Bring plenty of diapers, snacks, books, and toys and be sure to point out all the new sights and sounds along the way.
18-24 months: Fully mobile toddlers rarely want to sit still and are not yet masters of self-control. Bringing out the iPad or cellphone for the purpose of a temporary distraction on longer trips will not make them video zombies in the long run. Road trips with babies give you the flexibility to pack more in an activity bag and swap out various forms of entertainment on your way to each destination. Flying with a baby means more time restrained in their seat. Bringing along your toddler's Woolino sleep bag will ensure they are cozy and comfortable for the long haul. A natural lambskin rug can be easily spread out to create a safe and familiar surface for a quick nap or a brief playtime.
2-3 years: It’s potty time! Potty training can make traveling a challenge, but when prepared with Pull-Ups and portable potties, and the handy two-way zipper and shoulder snaps of your Woolino Sleep Bag anything is possible. Preparation will make all the difference. Fill a small backpack with snacks, toys, and a change of clothes. Add a plentiful supply of wipes and a few Ziplock bags for accidents and you are prepared for almost anything.
Tips for Traveling with a Baby
- To protect your baby’s ears when flying, encourage your child to eat or drink during take-off and landing. This will mitigate ear pressure and dehydration.
- It is okay for babies to nap in their car seat, but many car seat manufacturers recommend no longer than 2 hours at a time and in a position where the baby’s head is not flopped forward.
- How should you dress your baby on a plane? Dressing a baby in layers will ensure they will be comfortable in any situation.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “a visit to a travel medicine provider before your trip can help protect you and your children at your destination. Ideally, your family should see a healthcare provider at least one month before your international trip to get needed vaccines and medicines.” Check with your pediatrician for advice on other ways to reduce your family’s risk of illness or injury during travel.
- Pediatrician & host of The Child Repair Guide Podcast, Dr. Steve Silvestro, MD, recommends “frequent handwashing and sanitation practices as well as healthy eating and sleep habits.” Maintaining routine is important to the health and well-being of your entire traveling clan. Baby’s sleep routine should be maintained, if possible, to prevent over-tiredness, toddler melt-downs, and illness, so don’t forget to pack your Woolino.
- Determine where to get medical help in an emergency. Better to be prepared in advance than frantically searching for a local pediatrician in a crisis.
Traveling with a baby may take a little extra preparation, but with some planning and patience, you will make memories that strengthen the bonds of family and open your child’s eyes to the wonders of the world around them. Happy trails!