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Tips for Traveling With an Infant

The open road might appear to gain a few additional roadblocks and detours when your co-pilot is a few months old. Traveling with your infant requires more packing and planning than you might be used to, but it's typically plenty safe and comfortable for your little one. A few tips and tricks will make a family reunion or a weekend escape feel like a joy instead of a hurdle.

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Pack Two Bags

When your baby's diaper springs an unexpected leak, rummaging through a stuffed carry-on wastes valuable time. Try a two-bag system: Pack one suitcase with all the gear your infant needs for the trip, plus a second bag holding a single day's worth of supplies. Replenish that bag with fresh diapers, spare outfits, clean pacifiers and toys at the end of each day. Keeping this smaller bag within reach lets you attend to all of his needs quickly.

Leave the Bulk at Home

It's tempting to pack up everything in the nursery, just in case. Instead, bring a limited supply of diapers and formula, suggests pediatrician J.J. Levenstein, and a three-day supply of clothing -- which will probably include at least a dozen outfits. Plan to shop and do laundry at your destination. And consider leaving the bulky pack and play, baby bathtub and high chair at home. Many rental companies will deliver baby gear to your destination. Your hotel might also supply cribs and similar items.

Schedule a Pre-Trip Check-Up

Once your trip dates are planned, schedule your infant's next check-up to precede your travel. Air travel is typically safe for infants, says pediatrician Jay L. Hoecker of MayoClinic.org, though premature babies may be advised to avoid planes until age 1. Your doctor can advise you if you want to medicate your baby for the flight. No matter where you're headed, talk to your pediatrician about giving your infant a flu shot, suggests Levenstein, to protect him against the germs you'll encounter during travel.

Be Quick with a Bottle

Travel's hectic, but your baby has to stick to his normal feeding routine to be happy. Setting timers on your phone will remind you when it's time to feed. On a plane, sucking will help prevent ear pain from changes in air pressure, says HealthyChildren.org, so nurse or feed him during takeoff and landing. If you use formula, measure the powder into bottles at the beginning of the day to make bottles easy to mix on the go. A travel bottle warmer can come in handy if you're keeping bottles of milk or formula cold in a cooler.

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More Tips to Try

Wearing your baby in a sling-type carrier is ideal in an airport or on a plane, writes pediatrician and author William Sears, and it's also an easy way to enjoy some close contact during stops on a road trip. Your infant might have a hard time sleeping in unfamiliar places. Get her used to a sound machine or hang a mobile over her bed at home, then bring these items along to make her hotel crib feel comforting. And don't forget to take care of yourself with plenty of drinks and snacks. Traveling can be dehydrating, which is especially to be avoided for a breastfeeding mom.

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