While travel to see friends and family is a wonderful opportunity to share time and make memories, the preparation can often be overwhelming. In this article, let’s look at some practical suggestions and tips to create a plan for your family. To start, let’s break down the trip into before, during, and after the flight, with special emphasis on families traveling with infants.
Where, what, and how? Making the plan….Apply these questions to a pre-made checklist of your child’s needs.
1. Food items. Where will they come from? Common options might be breast milk, formula, snack items, jar foods, and planned dining. Narrow these choices to prepare what you will need to provide these items, and make a checklist to assure you bring them. A sample list for a formula fed infant would include:
2. Clothing items. Where is the family traveling? To a warm or cool climate, or will there be variable temperatures? When in doubt, layering always provided a flexible dress plan.
3. Sleep. Where will the child sleep? In a pack and play, crib, or bed? What do you need to have available for good sleep hygiene? Decide ahead if the family will keep a schedule similar to home routines, and if so will it be adapted to destination or home time zone? Getting off on the right foot at your destination can set the tone for your time away.
4. Keeping clean. Consider everything from possible unplanned accidents to diaper changes, and keeping that clean baby smell all your relatives will love!
5. Entertainment. Think about a few books, toys, and these days a DVD player, iPod or iPad, and coloring books. It’s all about multiple ways to repetitively distract your child, hopefully with a little development and education thrown in!
6. Health and medications. Always bring any medication in a carry on or diaper bag so there is not a possibility it will be lost or misplaced. This means a parent may have to consolidate bags, bring a cooler bag for an antibiotic, and should plan appropriate downsized versions (3 oz. or less) of standard medications. Remember, these type of medications should be placed in a clear bag that may be easily brought out to go through security, replace, and retrieve from later.
Bonus general medication list. Here is a pediatrician’s standard medication bag to have in preparation for travel:
(Consult your physician for appropriate use of these medications, and dosing for your child)
We’ve purposefully left the “How” idea separate. With all of the above preparation, there are multiple ways to consider how each need will be accomplished successfully.
The key is to keep gear to a minimum, be organized, and plan to have all hands available to care for yourself or your child…not battling bags.
ENJOY YOUR TRIP!