packing – everything but the kitchen sink
Babies seem to need an awful lot of stuff. But, take it from us, having all those necessary bits and bobs to hand makes life a lot easier. Write a list of all the little essentials, from baby wipes to snacks and infant paracetamol.
Pack them all in a separate, baby bag and keep it close by. If you need to pull into a service station for a quick nappy change, you won't want to be digging through your suitcases with a smelly baby sat in the car.
If you’re leaving home for a few days, it’s worth checking what your hotel already provides. They might well be able to let you have a high chair and steriliser. Depending on where you’re going, you may still want to take your own travel cot. At least then you’ll have the reassurance that it meets all the necessary safety requirements.
Not sure if you can fit everything in the boot? There are so many inventive ways to cut down your baby baggage. For example, a sling takes up a lot less room than a pushchair (and it makes for easy cuddling access!).
plan your journey
Plan plenty of pit stops in for feeds, changes and to check in with your little one. While you might want to have a rough plan of when you’re going to stop, your baby may well have other ideas, so give yourself plenty of time to make the trip.
Colourful little toys that clip to your baby’s carseat can keep them entertained on a long journey. A travel mirror also allows you to make eye contact with your baby when they’re facing away from you. There are even story or nursery-rhyme CDs that can help to keep your little one amused (although you may not enjoy Row, Row, Row Your Boat on repeat quite as much as they do).
Try to make sure your baby has a full tummy, a clean nappy and a sleepy head before you set off. Equally, it's best not keep them awake in the hopes they’ll sleep for even longer later – an over-tired baby can find it harder to drop off for a nap.
A comfortable baby means a happy baby (and a happy parent). Babies are experts at kicking socks off midway down a motorway, so a babygro can help keep their toes toasty while also being wiggle-proof. If it’s cold, a travel sleeping bag will keep your baby warm without you having to ramp up the heating.
You’ll need a baby passport before you go abroad, so give yourself enough time to order one. You can do this by post, or take advantage of the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send Service for a few extra pounds. They’ll make sure you’ve ticked all the right boxes and have everything you need. The rules for photographs are a little on the strict side (they should try getting a wriggly baby to sit in a photo booth), so make sure you double check them beforehand.
Pop in to see your GP a few weeks before you go to see if your baby needs any vaccinations. If you’re flying, try to make sure you have everything your little one needs in your hand-luggage, including a few small toys and a blanket. You’ll want to make sure they have plenty to eat and drink on the journey. Breast or bottle feeding during take-off and landing can help stop their tiny ears from popping, and therefore can help prevent any tears.