Top tips for travelling with little ones

With the summer months upon us, long warm days and short nights often bring about lots of travel, visiting family and friends near and far. This article outlines my top tips for travelling while pregnant and with a young baby.

  • Stop often and move around
  • Stay hydrated
  • Be organised

Travelling while pregnant

If you have a choice, the best time to travel is in your second trimester when the morning sickness of the first trimester has usually worn off and before your belly gets too large to travel comfortably. If you do choose to travel in your third trimester, most airlines have travel restrictions on pregnant women but some let you travel nationally up to 38 weeks and internationally up to 36 weeks. You may need a doctor’s certificate to confirm your due date and that it is safe for you to fly. You should always check with your airline before booking tickets.
It is especially important while travelling that you stay well-hydrated, wear your seat belt low underneath your belly and don’t sit for too long.

If you are travelling by car, make sure you have plenty of breaks to walk around and stretch your legs. If you are travelling by plane, it is recommended to get up and walk around the plane for a few minutes every hour to help get the blood pumping around your body, especially through your legs. Pregnancy hormones can put you at increased risk of getting blood clots, so you might like to wear some compression stockings on long-haul flights.

If you are travelling overseas while pregnant, consult with your doctor about immunisations and vaccinations that may or may not be suitable for you. Always drink bottled water and be careful about what you eat.

Travelling with a young baby

It is best to wait until your baby is over six weeks old and has been immunised before travelling, especially internationally. My number one tip for travelling with a baby is to be organised! Plan your trip well in advance, know exactly how long it is going to take to get to your destination and plan accordingly. Have plenty of changes of clothes, nappies and wipes in case of spills and number two explosions – pack what you think you will need and then add a little extra. It is a good idea to pack a few changes of clothes for yourself too. If you are using bottles, make sure you bring enough formula and have access to clean boiled water. You might like to take a thermos with you or if travelling on a plane, your flight attendant will be able to provide this for you on request.

For airline travel, you can request a seat with a bassinet. Bassinet seats can be a life saver for your little one to (hopefully) sleep or play in or give you a few moments hands-free. Bassinet seats are not always guaranteed and airlines have different weight and age limits, so check with your airline before booking.

When travelling by car, try and limit the amount of time your baby spends in a capsule, take frequent breaks when on long-distance car rides and take baby out of the capsule when you do. Babies can also get very hot in their car seats while travelling, so make sure that the inside of the car stays at a low temperature. To help keep the temperature down inside the car, put a window shade up on the window closest to baby so that the direct sunlight is not blaring down on him – you don’t want him to get sunburnt either. Some people find that it is easier to travel at night time.

Babies can get very dehydrated, especially in the summer months, so make sure you offer them a breast or bottle-feed more regularly than usual – another good reason to stop frequently. Most of all don’t rush, and enjoy the journey. Take time to make memories with your family that will last a lifetime!

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Attend a Toolbox parenting group

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The four Toolbox groups – Early Years (0-6), Middle Years (6-12), Tweens and Teens (12-18) and Building Awesome Whānau (0-12) are available throughout the country. In an informal, relaxed and friendly environment (often someone’s home) participants are equipped with practical skills and strategies that can be immediately put to use. Over six sessions, key parenting principles are explored and participants are encouraged in their parenting. Find out more and register here.

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About Author

Grace Nixon

Grace Nixon, BHSc (Midwifery), otherwise known as The Baby Lady, is an Auckland-based newborn specialist. Using her skills and experience gained both as a midwife and nanny over the past 10 years, she helps new parents prepare and adjust to life with their new arrival. She also runs Practical Parenting Antenatal classes that focus on both birth and life at home with a baby. See more at thebabylady.co.nz or practicalparentingantenatal.com.

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