As a parent, you know that two of your most crucial tasks are keeping your baby clean and keeping your baby asleep at night! Those jobs can be challenging enough at home, where you are armed with changing tables, cribs, swings, wipes warmers, white noise machines, ergonomic baby bathtubs, and a slew of other special items. While you are traveling, it can seem like an even more daunting challenge. Today, in the final installment of our series on the best baby travel gear, we’ll look at the items you’ll need for diapering, bathing, and getting some sweet sleep on the road.
Diapering Must-Haves for Travel
Diaper duty: it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!
The good thing about dealing with diapers while you travel is that you have already gotten in a lot of practice. If you’ve ever changed your baby in a public restroom, in the back of your car, or at your great-aunt’s house, you’ve got the skills you need to diaper your baby on an international trip.
You’ve probably already decided which items are diaper bag must-haves. Those items are going to be the key to your travel diaper kit, too! Our top recommendation is a foldable changing pad, which you can easily stash in your diaper bag, backpack, or tote. Just as you are likely to find that foreign restaurants don’t have highchairs, you are certain to find yourself changing your baby in restrooms that do not have changing tables. With a folding changing pad, you can have a clean, padded surface for your baby. You’ll be glad to have it every time you have to change your baby on the floor of a public restroom! Even in your hotel room, a changing pad will allow you to diaper your baby on your bed without worry of accidents.
Many folding changing pads come with a wipes container as an accessory. A wipes box or pouch is an essential item for your travel diaper bag. You don’t want to lug around a whole large package of wipes, but you WILL need wipes while you are out and about!
Don’t Bring: a whole mega-pack of diapers. Bring enough for a few days, and then buy more diapers as you need them. You’ll find that disposable diaper sizing is the same as at home. No need to try to convert baby’s weight to kilograms!
Bathing Baby in Hotels and Vacation Homes
At home, you may have a plethora of items for bathing your baby. You’ve probably got a baby bathtub, hooded towels, bath toys, and a selection of baby-safe toiletries.
Guess what? This is the one area in which we’re going to advise you to go super minimal. The baby travel gear you absolutely need for bathing your baby consists of just one item: baby wash. For the time that you are away, you can make do without a baby bathtub or special towels. Simply bring your baby into the shower with you, and use the towels provided by your hotel.
You should bring a gentle baby shampoo or all-in-one baby wash, as the hotel soap or shampoo is likely to be too harsh for your baby’s sensitive skin. Look for a product that can be used on both your baby’s hair and body. A bar formulation is ideal, since there’s no worry of it spilling in your bag.
Baby Travel Gear for Safe Sleep
We’ve saved the biggest, most important, most challenging topic for last. Sleep. You want your baby to sleep well at night, so you have a chance to get some rest! It’s also critically important to have your baby sleep in a safe environment.
When you travel in the US, you can be reasonably confident that major hotels will have cribs available. These are usually Pack N Plays or similar portable playpens. But when you are going overseas with your baby, you may find that many hotels do not have cribs available. If a crib is provided by your hotel, it may not be one that meets US safety standards. Be very careful, and ask a lot of questions before you rely on an international hotel to have a crib for your baby!
If it isn’t possible for you to bring a special travel crib, and your hotel or vacation home doesn’t have a crib available, you may consider the option of having baby sleep with you. Just make sure to always follow the guidelines for safe co-sleeping.
Gear to Help Baby Sleep Well When Traveling
Does baby have a lovey toy or a special blanket you always use for bedtime? Bring it along… and make sure not to leave it behind on any of your stops!
If your baby uses a pacifier at night, bring extras of the kind your baby likes. Travel is not the time to try to break bedtime comfort habits.
Before you leave home, download a white noise app for your phone. You’ll be glad to have it if you find yourself listening to taxis honk all night!
Finally, one of the most multi-functional baby travel gear items you can bring is a muslin swaddle blanket. These large, lightweight blankets fold up as small as a t-shirt. They’re not just for swaddling. You can use them as a crib sheet, a beach blanket, a towel, a changing pad, a sunshade for the stroller, or even as a scarf or sarong.
What is your must-have piece of baby travel gear? Tell us in the comments!