Travelling with your little one - tips on the go

Travelling with a baby doesn't have to be tough. We know that the thought of travelling with an unhappy baby can be enough to make us rather stay at home. We have compiled some helpful tips on how to approach a holiday season with a formula fed baby so you can actually enjoy your time off. 

There are two rituals of a baby’s everyday life that can get easily interrupted during travel: feeding and sleeping. But there are a few ways to prepare that can help make feeding and sleeping be as hassle-free as possible, so you and your family can fully enjoy your time away from home.

Travelling with baby: feeding tips

Whether you are flying or driving to your holiday destination, for those using formula, a formula dispenser is going to be super handy. It provides pre-determined amount of formula that can be easily poured into the bottle. Don't forget to pack an extra bottle of freshly boiled water for mixing on the go.

You can get formula dispensers from most retailers that sell baby formula. Our favourite ones are those stackable ones, with pre-measured formula for each feed, as they don't take much space in your nappy bag/backpack.

  • Available through Takealot

TIP: Pack an extra formula feed for your trip in case of any flight/travel delays. If you are packing for the flight put formula, bottled water, snacks, baby jars and feeding accessories into one clear ziplock bag so it's quick and easy to get it through security checks.

TIP: We suggest packing one change of clothing for the baba, an extra top for a mom and/or a big muslin cloth for these burps and unforeseen accidents on the go. 

Feeding during the flight:

  • Space can be limited but try to pack at least two bottles, especially for a long-haul flight
  • Have the bottles washed and/or sterilised before getting on the plane. If it's a long haul flight (although not likely in our current Covid reality), your baby is under a year old and will have more than two bottles during the flight you can also pack travel steriliser to sterilise on the plane. They come with sterilising tablets that dissolve in water
  • If possible try to plan feeding times for take-off and landing, since the swallowing motion will help ease pressure that can build up and irritate little ears. If your baby refuses to feed around these times using a pacifier can also do the job as the sucking motion does help them pop their ears. Don't forget to pack your dummy steriliser for on the go cleaning
  • If baby is eating solids, pack all the snacks! You can’t possibly bring enough. Stow them in your carry-on for easy access. You’re also allowed small jars of baby food – just don’t forget to pack the spoons in your carry-on
  • If baby’s a little older, it’s smart to bring an extra bottle or sippy cup and ask for bottled water on the plane. Flying dehydrates us, and baby will appreciate the extra fluids
  • If you want to warm the contents of the bottle, just ask your flight attendant to warm it up in a cup of hot water. Do the wrist-test to check the temperature before feeding baba
  • TIP: Get your baby used to room temperature bottles. Room temperature bottles mean you can truly feed anywhere and everywhere. 

Feeding on the road:

  • If baby is eating some solids, it’s best to avoid anything that can stain. In fact, consider avoiding the jar-and-spoon combo entirely. Squeezable packs are perfect for every twist, turn and pothole
  • Small-sized snacks are great for road trips
  • Baby wipes and bibs with food catcher are your best friend, for mess-free feeding on the go.
Available through Babybeads

Feeding in a hotel (or your holiday accommodation):

  • Make sure to pack a bottle brush and natural dish soap in a travel-size container to clean bottles in the hotel room sink. It might be a good idea to hit the sink and counter with a quick scrub to disinfect the surface before and after every cleaning. Use a separate, clean towel to let the bottle and parts air-dry
  • If you have access to a microwave at your destination, pack microwaveable sterilizer bags. They’re great for cleaning bottles, teats, pacifiers, sippy cups etc and take up very little space in a suitcase or bag
  • Stick to solids baby knows since any additional changes to their routine may be disruptive. Now may not be best time to introduce new food, which probably means your bag will be a bit heavier heading out – but at least heading home will be a lot lighter.

Formula storage  

To reduce the risk of infection, it's best to make up feeds 1 at a time, as your baby needs them.

However, as per the 'Feeding Sense' book a bottle of prepared formula can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours and must be used within that period of time. Once reheated, you must discard whatever is left over after the feed. You can only heat milk once after preparation. 

If formula has been at room temperature for more than 1 hour, throw it away. And if your baby doesn't drink all the formula in the bottle, throw away the unused portion — do not save it for later.

Use freshly boiled drinking water from the tap to make up a feed.

Using bottled water for formula is not (usually) necessary at home, but if you are travelling sometimes you might have to use it.

You may need to use bottled water to make up a feed if:

-your drinking water has been contaminated because of flooding
-you’re travelling abroad and drinking the local water is not recommended

We found the above information at the UK's NHS website - when choosing bottled water to make up a feed, check the label to make sure that the water contains:

-less than 200 milligrams (mg) a litre of sodium (also written as Na)
-no more than 250mg a litre of sulphate (also written as SO or SO4)

Traveling with a baby, especially one still little and portable, can be a really fun and rewarding experience for everyone. Doing your best to keep to their normal feeding schedule, no matter if you’re in flight, hitting the road, or in the hotel room, will go far in keeping baby happy and fuss-free. A little prep ahead of time will pay off – and help guarantee a great vacation for the whole family.

Travelling with baby: sleeping tips 

You don’t have to let travel interrupt baby’s sleeping patterns – including naps! Use these tips to help baby catch the ZZZ’s you all need for a happy vacation.

Sleeping baby during the flight:

  • For long haul flights try to catch a night flight. A tired baby may be more likely to sleep on the plane – just try to keep some elements of their night-time routine the same
  • Bring baby's cuddly (soft toy, blanket, tag cloth etc) for an extra dose of comfort while they go through the unfamiliar experience of flying. Don’t forget to attach their pacifier so it doesn’t roll around while the seatbelt sign is on
  • If you use a baby carrier, be sure to bring it along. Not only does it make getting through airport security a lot easier, but baby can snuggle up close to you during the flight, which should encourage sleep. (The flight attendant will likely make you take baby out of the carrier for take-off and landing but strap that baby right back in once you’re in the air)
  • Download a white noise app and play it for baby on the plane. White noise, on low volume, will help drown out all the other sounds of air travel and calm baby down
  • Dress baby in layers; the cabin can get pretty cold higher up. If baby gets too hot, you can always remove some layers. Consider changing them into pyjamas before take-off, as you would for their nightly ritual, signalling to them that it’s sleepy time.

Sleeping baby on the road:

  • Some parents swear by driving through the night if they have to go on a long car trip with a little baby. This is a great option if your baby is a good car-sleeper. You’ll arrive at your destination with a rested baby who got a good night’s sleep. Just make sure you have someone to lend a hand with baby once you arrive, so you can get some rest too!
  • If you’re traveling on a sunny day, consider investing in some good quality sunshades for your back windows to keep the bright sun out of baby’s eyes. Bright sunlight in baby’s eyes may make it hard for them to nap or suddenly wake them up from their car snooze
  • Prepare ahead of time by packing and filling up the night before and begin your trip before baby normally wakes up so you can take advantage of a few sleepy miles. Start the car and get the interior cooled off or warmed up before placing baby inside. Get baby cozy by covering them up with a familiar blanket once you get baby securely buckled into the car seat
  • If traveling during nap-time, about 30 minutes before it’s time, pull over and do your sleep rituals. Change baby into pyjamas, feed, change nappies, and anything else that’s part of the ritual
  • If your baby is struggling to fall asleep during the drive tune in to some soothing music or white noise to calm your little one down
  • Make sure baby’s soft toy (and again, attached dummy) is ready to help soothe them into sleep during the car ride; bringing a familiar, comforting object from home can put baby at ease 
  • Plan for long stops so baby can stretch, crawl or walk around and burn off some energy. Being stuck in a car for hours is hard on everyone, so give them a chance to stretch their little limbs and wear themselves out for better naps.

Sleeping baby in a hotel

  • Try to keep any bedtime ritual items hidden before it’s bedtime. You don’t want baby seeing their favourite bedtime book beforehand. Stash bedtime items high up, out of their reach
  • If you’re able to bring a camper cot make sure to bring a set of baby’s sheets along, too. The texture and smell will go a long way in making a strange place feel like home. TIP: Many holiday accommodation options offer complimentary camper cots for baby to sleep in; call ahead to check availability
  • That white noise app you used on the plane will do wonders for hotel sleeping. Turn it on and up to help block out the hustle and bustle noises common to hotels
  • TIP: If the hotel’s curtains don’t block out enough light, try using black rubbish bags with painter’s tape to create make-shift blackout curtains
  • Vacation has a magical effect of helping you forget time, which also means you might forget nap-time. Set alarms on your phone for t-minus 30 minutes (or so) until baby needs to get back to the room for a nap
  • Try to place baby’s cot in a quiet area where there are less distractions. That can be tricky in a hotel room so you may need to get creative!

A baby that hasn’t slept is a baby that’s wrecked – so use these tips and your own creativity to find out what works for your little one to get the sleep they need. And if you have an adult travel partner, try to split up nap-time duty so you don’t miss out each time baby has to go down – or hog all the nap-time.

If you find the above information and tips useful please share some of your travelling hacks and tips with the rest of our community. Please head to our IG and FB pages and comment. 

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. MyMilkClub reserves the right to its opinions and fully supports the notion of promotion that breast is best in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) infant feeding guidelines. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life, and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods for up to two years of age. Breast milk is the best food for infants. Good maternal nutrition is essential to prepare and maintain breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not possible, an infant formula may be used according to the advice of registered health professionals. Preparation and storage of any infant formula should be performed as directed on the tin in order not to pose any health hazards.