First Published: Sep 8, 2015 6:01 PM
Whenever you have to waver from a baby’s routine life can become challenging. Babies also often have a lot of extras: toys, clothes, diapers, burp cloths, layers in case it’s chilly, car seats, etc. Babywearing helps simplify traveling and allows extra hands to carry the extra items your baby needs to be comfortable. Some of these tips may also help.
Traveling by Car
- Plan an extra day or several extra hours to get to your destination. It will be worth it to take a lot of breaks rather than trying to power through. Consider doing the longest stretches while baby is napping or sleeping. Possibly consider traveling overnight if you can get enough sleep to make up for missing the sleep during the night.
- Plan breaks in towns with a park or somewhere you can all get out and stretch your legs, walk around, and play for a few minutes. Packing a frisbee or other toys that you and your children love to play with and chase will help everyone get some fresh air and exercise and make the time in the car go more smoothly.
- Plan for plenty of snacks and drinks. This will make everyone have to go to the bathroom more often but having plenty of water will keep everyone from getting dehydrated.
- Leave a place next to baby if possible so if you’re tag team driving with your spouse or another adult an adult can sit next to baby and play peek-a-boo and sing songs if baby is bored.
- Try to make nursing feel as much like home as possible-be sure to pack your nursing pillow if you use one or something else that will remind baby of home.
- Babywear and snuggle as much as you can to make up for the skin to skin time baby is used to. You can wear baby as soon as you get out of the car and during bathroom breaks and then play together and stretch legs. Follow your baby’s cue. Many parents find that if they wear baby as much as possible in the hotel or when they reach their destination it will help baby feel better and the car ride will go more smoothly. Start this a couple of days before your trip if possible.
- Bring plenty of extra clothes and diapers. Sometimes babies get upset tummies in the car or have extra messy diapers when traveling.
Traveling by Plane/Train/Boat/Bus
- Pack plenty of treats and snacks for the diaper bag. The TSA allows enough snacks and fluids for the flight (check their website for current information).
- If possible pack a few toys and books that your baby has never seen before or hasn’t played with in a long time to keep them entertained. Freecycle.com is a great place to find these or a local virtual garage sale page. Trading baby toys with friends for your trip is also a good idea.
- Pack some funny things like bubbles (be sure to check fluid amount guidelines) to play with while waiting for the plane/train/boat/bus, etc.
- Try to stretch little legs and parent legs as much as possible right before your flight. Getting all the wiggles out will help many babies settle before boarding and buckling up.
- Consider getting baby their own seat for their car seat or gate check baby’s seat. Sometimes if there are extra seats and you gate check they will let you buckle baby in their seat at no additional charge (depends on the airline though). Gate checking often keeps your car seat safer too.
- Babywear as much as possible for a few days before your flight. The extra skin to skin contact will help “charge baby’s batteries” especially if baby won’t be a “lap child.”
- If possible, nurse during take off. If not possible, offer a pacifier or clean finger (with short nails) pad side up to the roof of baby’s mouth. This will help little ears from feeling too much pressure.
- Pack extra diapers and clothes. Sometimes babies get upset tummies or have extra messy diapers. Sometimes flights are delayed.
Carriers usually aren’t allowed through security (the TSA says they are not allowed on their website as of this writing but check their website for current information) but you can wear baby up to security and after. Buckle carriers and ring slings allow for quick ups and downs and make this go more smoothly but woven wraps are also quite lovely if you have long layovers, you may consider putting one in your carry on though or waiting to wrap until after you get through security and can get off to the side somewhere.
Have a happy trip!
What are your favorite tips for parents traveling with babies?
First Published: Aug 10, 2015 5:05 PM
Posted with permission of Dr. James A. Lang, PhD
First Published: Aug 7, 2015 6:01 PM
We’re deep in to summer right now but I wanted to share some tips for babywearing in the heat and sun. Oregon heat is different than most of the U.S. but I am from Utah (and moved during the summer when my second was over 8 months) so I have some experience with good old all summer heat. The past two summers have been exceptionally hot in Oregon and most people do not have air conditioning in their homes so when the temperature has reached 106* and several 100* days a lot of parents find it hard to cope. I hope you all find these tips and tricks helpful. Please share your tips and tricks in the comments as well!
- It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the carrier you are using a baby is hot! You are wearing a little heater and no matter what it will feel hot. Some carriers are better than others and some work better for some parents than others so experiment.
- Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Breastfed babies do not need extra water when they are under 6 months especially, make sure you offer the breast often and choose a carrier that is easy to do that in. Carry a water bottle with you. I’ve tried several and personally LOVE the Hydroflask because I can fill it all the way up with ice in the morning and keep adding water from a drinking fountain throughout the day and have really cold water.
- Wear a hat and have baby wear a hat. The hat will help keep sun off of each of your faces and keep you a little cooler. If your baby is over 6 months be sure to put sunscreen on because sun burns will make you feel even hotter.
- Plan to spend a lot of time in the shade. Also plan your activities whenever possible to have a cool area to go to if you’re starting to feel tired. The sun drains you and it’s good to have a place to have a break from the sun and heat-even if it’s driving around in your car for a little bit to cool off.
- Wear lightweight clothing. Looser shirts help air circulate better-100% cotton will help breathe and absorb the sweat and allow it to evaporate better which will help cool you off.
- If you live in a dry climate using a spray bottle with cool water can help cool you off, especially if you can mix that with a personal fan.
- Wearing baby will help you to know when baby is getting too warm because you will feel it (especially in lightweight clothing). When you feel like your baby is getting too hot-escape to the cooler place you planned on or the shade and continue to drink lots of fluids.
What carriers are best in the heat?
This really depends on you! No matter what though, 1 layer of fabric is probably the most you will want over you. You can make nearly any type of carrier work in the heat. I will talk about how to make each type work for you but you know your body and baby best. If one is too hot for you try another. Most people (at least in the States) have a babywearing group within reasonable driving distance and many have a lending library or carriers to try out.
- Ring Sling: A ring sling is pretty nice in the heat and sun. You can use the tail to shade you if you need to or let it hang down. You could always wrap it around the rings to make it not hang down as long. Ring slings are really supportive for newborns but can be great for toddlers too, especially if they are made of thicker material or linen or converted from a woven wrap. Another option is to hop in the pool with a mesh water ring sling.
- Woven Wrap: Single layer carriers are best in the heat. Cotton and linen fabrics are cooler usually than others. Kangaroo is really breezy around your underarms and breasts. A simple Rucksack or a a Reinforced Rucksack (especially stick to the reinforced with a seat popper) is a great back carry with one layer. Front Wrap Cross Carry is doable but has more fabric which means a little less air circulation. I will discuss these carries in later posts. You can always hop in the pool with a water wrap though and some may work outside of the water as well. Gauze wraps and hybrids may be breezier but may be better suited for babies under 20-25 lbs because at that point many parents find that they become diggy in the shoulders no matter how careful and tight you wrap.
- Soft Structure Carrier: Many of these are great in the heat but especially ones with mesh panels. I love my Kinderpack with cool knit in the summer but I have also worn Ergo, Beco Butterfly (which has a panel between you and baby which can help absorb some sweat but it also makes it harder to feel how hot baby is-this carrier has been discontinued but still can be easily found new or used online), Boba, Onya Baby, etc. There aren’t huge differences between them in the heat but some do find mesh panels make a difference or using a lighter or sport version helps.
Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!
- Mei Tai or other Asian Inspired Carriers: Don’t discount these. Like a soft structure carrier these have one panel over baby. If you stick to one with ties that are just long enough for you (rather than long enough to do fancy tie offs) you may find these are great for summer. One tip though, stay away from Minky in the summer. It’s super soft but feels like you’re wearing a blanket (I found this out the hard way).
The information and opinions provided on this blog post (or any blog post on this blog) are not a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a qualified medical professional; nothing contained on this website shall be presumed or shared as medical advice at any time.
What are your tips for summer and hot weather babywearing?