Airplanes, road trips, hotel stays – oh my! Tis the season for travel, and through all the excitement and vacation-mode mania, for many, there’s one big difference this year. They’ll be accompanied by baby.
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 turbulence-free as possible, so you and your family can fully enjoy your time away from home. In part one of this two-part series, we’re focusing on feeding while on the go. Check out these tips on how to travel with formula or while breastfeeding, and learn how to pack baby bottles for road trips and planes. And be sure to read our follow-up article, Travel Tips for Baby: Sleeping on the Go.
Feeding Baby While Flying
- If you’re flying with Dr. Brown’s bottles, remember to remove the internal vent system before getting on the plane; a plane pressurizes as it goes into the air, which counteracts the vacuum-free vent system and can actually pull milk out of the bottle. Seal the bottle with a screw-on travel cap, and once the cabin is pressurized, you’re good to put the parts back in and use the bottle as normal.
- 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 putting the parts in and feeding baby.
- 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 baby is eating solids, pack all the snacks! You can’t possibly bring enough. Stow them in your carry-on for easy access. Our Tummy Grumbles Reusable Snack Bags are perfect for air travel; they save space, are clear so you can see what’s inside, and sit up on their own, so you don’t need two hands to help feed baby. 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.
Feeding Baby on a Road Trip
- For those using formula, a formula dispenser is going to be a very good friend to you. It provides pre-determined amount of formula that can be easily poured into the bottle. The same can be said for long flights. Either way, don’t forget to pack extra bottled water for mixing.
- If you’re breastfeeding, build in some extra time to your road trip to stop and feed baby. Alternately, some moms choose to feed baby a bottle of breastmilk while on-the-go, and pump in place of that feeding. If that’s what you choose, pack a small cooler full of ice, some spare bottles and storage caps, or breastmilk storage bags, to protect and store that pumped milk.
- 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 like puffs are great for road trips. Pack them in the Dr. Brown’s Snack-A-Pillar™ stackable snack cups, which can be used as four separate snack cups, or stacked together to save space. They’re also great for portioning out snacks for different legs of the trip.
Feeding Baby in the Hotel
- 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.
- Because traveling brings about a whole slew of new germs, consider throwing some microwave steam sterilizer bags in your suitcase so you can sterilize bottles and pacifiers when you get to the hotel. If you don’t have a microwave in your room, most hotels have a communal microwave in their breakfast area or restaurant.
- Try to book a room with a mini-fridge to keep bottles and breastmilk cold. If that’s not possible, pack a cooler that stays in the room and keep it well-iced.
- If breastfeeding, try to take it easy, take lots of naps, and stay hydrated so your milk supply doesn’t run low. Use the microwave sterilizer to clean your sterilizer-safe pumping parts each time you pump in the hotel room.
- 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.
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. For questions on any of the Dr. Brown’s products mentioned in this article, visit us online or contact us today!