Helpful Hints for Travel with Your Baby

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Taking a trip is stressful. With its expenses, time changes, cooped-up conditions and rigid schedules, travel can be a stressful and exhausting endeavor. Now add a baby to the mix.

"As with everything regarding a baby, travel can be fatiguing," says Penny Warner, co-author of "365 Baby Care Tips" (Meadowbrook Press). "But it doesn't have to be miserable."

"There are many things you can do to minimize the stress of taking your infant with you," says co-author Dr. Paula Kelly. "You can even make it fun."

In their book, Warner and Kelly offer scores of ideas for making sure your trip with your tiny one goes well. So make the journey an adventure, not a chore. Here are some of the best:

Preparation

Regardless of how far you are traveling or by what method, there are several steps you can take to ensure that things go smoothly.

"The first thing to remember is that unexpected delays have a way of happening when it comes to babies," Warner says. "So allow plenty of time for packing and travel."

Make sure that the baby's diaper bag is well stocked and accessible. But don't get so caught up in packing for the baby that you forget your own needs. Bring along snacks for both of you, and dress yourself and your infant appropriately for the conditions.

If possible, feed and burp your baby before you go. Having her take a nap before departure time is a good idea too. When you're ready to leave, take along some toys or stuffed animals to keep your baby entertained.

Of course, avoid traveling with your baby if she appears ill or isn't feeling well.

Traveling by Air

Ask for bulkhead seating because that area tends to be roomier. If possible, travel with another adult who can help you with your baby's needs during the flight. During takeoff, give your baby something to suck on to normalize the pressure in his ears. Nursing him or giving him a bottle or pacifier is also a good idea.

Ask the flight attendant to warm your baby's bottle. Just be sure to check its temperature before giving it to your infant.

Walking your baby up and down the plane's aisle (when it is safe to do so) will break up the monotony for both of you. In addition, your fellow passengers will appreciate seeing an adorable, well-behaved infant among them.

Be sure to pack a changing pad and plenty of extra diapers. You never know if you're going to be stranded at the airport or circling for hours.

Traveling by Car

The most vital thing to remember is to strap your baby into an age-appropriate, government-approved car seat. Always wear a seatbelt yourself as well.

Make sure that all fingers are out of doorways. After closing the doors, lock them and check to see that children cannot open them without your permission.

Before you hit the road, verify that objects in your car are secure and won't fly around if you have to make a sudden stop. When you're driving, keep your eyes on the road. If your baby needs attention, pull over rather than try to fix the problem while driving.

The goal is to make travel as easy on your child as possible. And you will certainly appreciate less drama along the way, to say nothing of the relief of any fellow passengers.
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