Jack is a social butterfly. He loves meeting new people, and the Ticas of Costa Rica absolutely adore him! Traveling with a baby is daunting, but I couldn’t do it without my baby travel essentials!
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Having a baby is an amazing conversation starter. This makes for great free babysitting when we go out for lunch; someone is always wanting, and willing to hold and coddle him! Even when language barriers make something simple like ordering lunch very hard (we are learning!); having a baby really helps to break that barrier! We really lucked out with such a travel savvy baby. But even if he wasn’t, I have compiled a few of my favorite baby travel essentials for traveling with a newborn baby, or infant.
1. Ergobaby carrier:
This has hands down been a dream with Jack. The Ergobaby carrier is number one on my baby travel essentials list for great reasons. When he was super tiny, we had the Ergobaby infant insert. This allowed him to fit snug and safely in the carrier. Brett and I can easily both wear this carrier. Although not a lightweight carrier, it is built to last many years, and is durable for long trips. I have a Beluga Baby carrier as well, which is a lightweight wrap, and is perfect for short-term, or daily wear. However when it comes to planes, trains, and any other travel; I highly recommend getting an Ergobaby. Click here and use my code: jo8KbuYBBM for 10% off the entire website (plus free shipping!) before September 30th, 2018!
We have the 360, and I know that it will last us FOREVER, and is compatible with several different styles of wearing. Such as front facing, chest facing, back wearing, and even side wearing! When we were on one of our longer flights; a red-eye, Jack slept comfortably in the carrier, almost the whole time! I even got to rest my eyes for a bit. A couple that was sitting a few rows back from us complimented us after our flight, on how quiet and well behaved Jack was!
Next on my list of baby travel essentials is my best tip when navigating the airport! When we were traveling through airports; I would keep my Ergobaby in the stroller. As soon as we got to our gate, I would strap Jack into the carrier, and we checked our stroller upon boarding. We’ve traveled once before where we checked our stroller in at check-in. We will never again make that mistake. Solely because it is so much easier to traverse through the airport with baby in a stroller. Most airlines will allow you to check a stroller, car seat (and base), a pack and play, and a diaper bag carry on, for all of your baby travel essentials, FOR FREE. All on top of whatever else they allow for each person flying. This is AMAZING! Coming to Costa Rica, we brought all of the above mentioned.
Our stroller and pack and play were purchased knowing that we would be traveling. So they are compact and easy to move. You can get our stroller here by Peg Perego; it was such a hard decision to make when selecting our stroller. We loved this one because it folds up compactly in seconds! It also came with a car seat and base, and everything is FOOL PROOF to assemble and disassemble. It has been dragged through wet sand, pushed through Edmonton snow with ease!
We also love our GB Lufta pack and play for similar reasons. It comes in a golf club style bag, so it is easily carried. It makes a perfect bed for jack right now, as he can’t pull himself up yet. But when he can, it lowers down completely, to a play pen! You can even remove the cot part to use as a makeshift bed flat on the ground. It also comes with a removable change station, a music box that has a couple different sounds, a nightlight, and displays the current temperature! Every single one of these functions and features have been extremely useful for us!
3. Get their passports young:
The younger they are the better. Jack was 5 months when we got his photos taken, and believe me, there were 3 other families in line waiting to get photos. Jack sat like a stunned little prince for 5 minutes while his photos were taken. I cannot say the same for the other children, and I don’t mean at all that they weren’t well behaved. They were older, even by a few months, so they had better eyesight, depth perception, and cohesion, meaning their distraction level was higher. And specifically for a passport photo, it needs to be done perfectly, or you risk rejection if the photo is not correct. Or worse, sitting for over an hour while some poor photographer tries to settle your child. So for this reason, I dread getting Jack’s 5 year renewed. I wasn’t confident getting a 10 year passport at such a young age! Whose to believe a 5 month old’s passport photo is legit when a 9 year old is trying to travel! The things that keep me up at night, let me tell you…
4. Keep up with routines:
If you remember my last post about the first few months of parenting, and what we learned, I talked about routines. Routines can be adapted and adjusted, but they can always be maintained. This will make traveling so much easier with a baby. Which is why, red-eye flights are so great for long flights. I’d much rather have a sleeping baby, and give up sleep myself (lets be honest, moms never sleep anyways!), than have a crying baby. But the key is to feed them either right before take off, or during, and also during landing. You have to remove baby from any carrier during take off and landing, as per all airline policies, but you just have to cradle them. This is perfect for feeding.
If you feed during take off, you will almost guarantee that they will fall asleep soon after. With the change in altitude, babies cannot pop their ears like we can, so nursing or bottle feeding helps them pop their ears! If they can’t do that, they will become very unhappy. This happened once, when we were delayed and sat on the tarmac, and Jack was hungrier sooner than our delayed take off.
5. Over pack baby travel essentials:
This is probably not the best tip, because no one likes packing heavily. Brett actually said to me that this is a horrible travel tip! However, I do not regret one bit of over packing baby travel essentials, so Jack has the comforts he is used to. We came down with our favorite baby travel essentials such as wipes and diapers, months worth of clothes to grow into, creams, toys, etc. Expect the unexpected, and prepare for the worst! He doesn’t have the luxuries we had in Canada; no jolly jumper or vibrating musical chair. However, we brought anything we could fit into an oversized suitcase.
Brett and I are adaptable; we can live minimalistically, babies cannot. We’ve used up our favorite aveeno eczema cream and won’t be able to find that here, so one adaptation that I’ve made is Coconut Oil for his skin. Mind you, the coconut oil we get here, is homemade bought locally! The salt can be harsh, and the sun and chlorine are drying. Even though the salt water has cleared up his horrible eczema, I still find that I need to make sure he is moisturized and comfortable at the end of the day. And a baby massage was always apart of his routine at home, after a bath. So it is important for us to maintain that routine at bedtime here. Otherwise Brett and I will not be sleeping.
6. You can travel with a supply:
If you are EBF, pumping, or formula feeding; you need to research your specific airline when traveling, as to what you can bring with you. I have taken an insulated lunch bag, with 3 or 4 frozen 5 ounce bags of pumped milk on airlines. I have also taken single serving sizes of powder or ready made formula, 5 ounces or less. Jack was always EBF until we started traveling to Vancouver more frequently. Now that we are traveling abroad, it just became easier to supplement with formula because sadly, I couldn’t bring my 100oz freezer stash! WestJet has always been my favorite airline for traveling with Jack, they make you feel so comfortable and accommodated from start to finish! And remember, that you get priority security check, and boarding when traveling with infants!
7. Invest in comfort items:
If you are traveling like we are for an extended period of time, and when you get to your final destination; I highly recommend making one or two “luxury” purchases for baby. On top of the baby travel essentials you’ve packed.
Our first one was a miniature high chair. We can fold this up and bring it to restaurants, the beach, wherever, and Jack can sit with us. Especially if you live in a rural area like we do, and can’t always push your stroller or bring your car seat, having something like this is so handy. Now that he is starting baby lead weaning and some purees, we needed something practical to travel with us. What would have cost us maybe $30 Canadian at Walmart, cost us about $80 at a private toy store in Liberia.
We also invested in a bug net that fits over his pack and play, and over his stroller. It also duos as hours of entertainment for him, because why wouldn’t a bug net be super entertaining? And based on the 3 scorpions Brett and I have killed (IN OUR HOUSE), the clouds of mosquitoes, and the giant black wasps; I don’t want any of those getting anywhere near my baby!
8. Rashers and swim diapers:
I could never bring myself to cloth diaper when we were in Canada. It just wasn’t for me. But here I am, with my child who is in a reusable swim diaper almost every single day. AND IT IS NOT THAT BAD! We currently have 2 swim diapers. And with all of Jack’s stuff, beach towels, and swim suits, we usually do a load of laundry daily anyways.
The initial clean is not something to be desired, but you get over it. Bringing Jack in the pool and ocean makes it so worth it. They are less $10 on Amazon too! And I have just officially received my first Amazon product, all the way in rural Costa Rica. So, I might even consider getting cloth diapers, or a bunch more swim diapers now that I can order them!
I highly recommend getting a couple swim rashers as well to add to your list of baby travel essentials. You can get my favorites like this adorable set from Carters or Walmart even sells them too. They have UV protection, which just makes me feel so much more comfortable taking Jack out in the sun. Even though he gets a thick slather of sunscreen every time we go out, I just like knowing that he has an added layer of protection! Plus they are so cute!
9. Bring a Breastfeeding pillow:
Ah the breast feeding pillow. Baby travel essentials? More like mama travel essentials! While it serves its purpose for assisting when feeding baby, it is also an amazing pillow FOR YOURSELF. ON THE PLANE, seriously. While Brett was comfortably asleep during our longest flight (the red-eye), I sat cramped with a 5 month old baby in my arms, who was also happily asleep. My only comfort during that entire flight was a glass of red wine with a chocolate bar, my isle seat, and the breast feeding pillow around the back of my neck. As I couldn’t really sleep with Jack strapped to me, or cradled, it was so nice having just a bit of comfort to rest my head on. These pillows are also great little supports for baby to sit up and play, supervised of course. Jack gets quite frustrated being on his tummy or back now that he has discovered he can sit up. Although he is not quite able to sit up on his own yet.
10. An amazing camera:
This seems like a no brainer, or filler point. But it is not, because nowadays everyone has a smart phone with decent camera. And that is great. Some of the phone cameras these days are top notch! Not to mention all of the photo editing apps and programs such as Adobe there are out there now. What I am referring to is something of high quality. I seriously don’t know what I would do without my Sony A6000! (Actually I do, because I have lost my data transmitter here. I am probably one of the first customers Amazon has had since they just came to Costa Rica. I’m secretly hoping it is a drone that drops off my package to our not-really-an-actual-address house. UPDATE: It was not a drone, womp-womp.)
It takes amazing photos, and I am not a photography pro by any means. The quality is incomparable to that of my Google Pixel 2. For us at least, we want to capture every single moment of this journey we’ve taken Jack on. He won’t remember the time his parents took him on a crazy adventure through Central America. I want these photos to last, and capture every moment with him perfectly, so he can enjoy these photos for years to come. He is the coolest little 6 month old I know, rolling around in the Costa Rican sun, eating fresh picked bananas, and chit chatting with howler monkeys in his backyard.
I hope some of these baby travel essentials and tips are positive suggestions for any traveling you might be taking your kiddos on. As always, what works for us as parents might not work for everyone. We simply want to share the joys we have found in traveling with Jack, and what has worked for us. Or what hasn’t (I’ll save that for another post!). Let me know in the comments what have been some of your favorite products, tips or tricks for traveling with a baby, in the comments!