If you can find a balance between routines and relaxing, everyone will have more fun. When visiting friends or relatives, plan the foods that you need for your child, so that you are prepared and do not impose on your host. Check to see if the host has special equipment, such as a high chair or blender, or space in the freezer or refrigerator for your baby’s food. Be clear and considerate when explaining your needs.
Consider your child’s sleep and eating routines when planning the departure and arrival times for your excursions, trips, and social events. You may schedule his naptime for the ride across town, car trips, or an airplane flight. For birthday parties, holidays, and social gatherings, you can either plan the event to match his routine, if you have control of the time schedule, or adjust his nap so that he is rested and fresh for the event.
Take extra care of your child’s health before going on a trip. Make sure that he gets plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy foods beforehand, so that he will be strong and can adjust to the different schedule. Kuzu with brown rice syrup makes a calming pudding that travels well and can help relax your little one.
One of my travel rules that has developed from my own experience of leaving many things behind is: “Wasuremono wa nai desu, neh!” which means, “No forgotten things!” I try to keep the habit of looking behind me while getting up from a restaurant, airplane, or taxi seat, or when checking out of a hotel room. When you are traveling, you usually need everything you have with you, or you would not be carrying it.
If you are on the move, retracing your steps to look for something can take time and may not be an option. Once something is left behind, it may be difficult to recover. I have never gotten back anything from the airlines that I have lost, including sweaters, glasses, e-readers, and telephones. The inconvenience of losing one of your basic essentials is difficult when traveling, along with the hassle of trying to replace it while on the road. Remember to always “look behind.”
Equipment Essentials for Being On The Go
There are many options for equipment that make traveling and on-the-go experiences with your baby easy and convenient. Below is a list of items that you may need for excursions.
Eating—Bottles with nipples if using formula or pumping and storing breast milk, breast pump, bottle brush, bowl, spoon, bibs, burp cloths, wipes, sippy cup, food mill or mini food processor, food scissors for cutting and mashing food, insulated bag, ice packs, dry snacks, frozen food cubes, jars of organic baby food, powdered formula (if using formula), disposable or reusable place mats, high chair cover, cooler. You can store frozen food cubes in an insulated food bag for 8 to 12 hours, or in a cooler for up to 24 hours. Make sure that they are not stored without refrigeration or insulation for over 4 hours. If you are overlapping breast-feeding with solid foods, you may rely more on breast-feeding during travel.
Sleeping—Crib sheet, blanket, pack and play (if going by car), night-light, sleeping bag.
Diapering—Diaper covers and cloth or disposable inserts or disposable diapers, wipes, changing pad, bags to hold dirty diapers.
Bath time—Nonskid bath mat, bath or beach towels, washcloths, soap.
Health and safety—Toothbrush, toothpaste, herbs, remedies or medications, lotions, oil, sunscreen, electrical outlet covers, tissues, bandages, ointment, first-aid kit, essential oils for calming.
Clothes—Two or three outfits per day, jacket, hat, mittens, raincoat, pajamas, sunhat, sunglasses, swim diaper, swim shoes, cover-up, beach towel.
Carrying—Sling or carrier, stroller, car seat, head support.
Toys—Teething rings, books, favorite toys that have multiple uses for bath, pool, and sand, toys with loops that fasten and are interchangeable, music player and headphones.