Our co-founder Henley travels with a junior entourage from ages 9 months up to 11, so she’s got family packing down to a fine art. She recently chatted with the pregnancy and parenting experts at Well Rounded about her travel gear essentials, including the ultimate lightweight stroller and the white noise machine of our sweet dreams. Read on for the packing list highlights.
A must for mess-free feeding on planes. These spoons click into baby food pouches and allow you to dispense the food onto the spoon by squeezing. It’s a game changer to be able to feed with one hand while keeping the other free to hold baby, wipe baby’s face, or catch a toy hurled at a neighboring passenger.
Weighs almost nothing, so tiny it can be crammed into any spare corner of a suitcase, and yet it creates the same white noise you get from a much bigger machine at home. I wish I’d found this years ago. We would have had better sleep on many a trip!
I’ve never liked traditional diaper bags, but after a couple trips digging through my handbag to find what I need for the kids, I realized I needed something actually built for traveling parents. The Hanover Deluxe is a simple black backpack I’d carry under normal circumstances, but it’s got pouches for everything to make the extreme circumstances of flying with three children more organized. Now I can immediately locate the wipes for the baby, the iPads for the big kids, and my wallet so I can buy myself a drink after getting my crew through security. I’ve started using it just for being out and about in the city as well as on the road.
You don’t need these, until you do. I don’t sterilize bottles at home, but when we were going to an off-the-grid island in Mexico with an infant, I wanted to be extra careful that her sensitive newborn tummy wasn’t exposed to any unfamiliar germs. Milton’s tablets are easy to use – just add to cold water, let the bottles and parts soak for a few minutes, no need to rinse. NB: these are usually sold in the UK, so plan ahead as shipping takes a while.
5. Pink Chicken
The cutest and softest dresses and rompers for baby. I put Nola in the dresses for flights to make diaper changes in tiny airplane bathrooms easier, and I always have an extra one rolled up in my backpack for a quick change if she spits up.
A big part of making flights easier with baby is making sure the big kids are happy as well. Buy an audio splitter so they can share one iPad if they are both keen to watch the same movie. Saves double downloading so you can load up more content on two iPads and extends battery life if you only use one at once, for at least part of the time.
One of the biggest shocks of traveling with a baby again is the amount of gear we need. I’ve tried to eliminate anything that isn’t necessary, but car seats are a must. So instead of hauling a full booster for the big kids, I’ve switched to the BubbleBum. It takes up no space, weighs just a few ounces and inflates quickly for use in the car.
8. Baby Carrier
There are so many great baby carriers on the market, and most parents feel loyal to one brand. The only mistake to make here is not bringing one when traveling. Even when I have baby in the stroller, I often through the carrier underneath for when she gets fussy and bored in the stroller and needs a change of scenery. It’s also essential on the beach where a stroller gets mired in the sand.
If you have to pump on the go, be sure to have a stash of these wipes in your bag. Use them to wipe down pump parts when you aren’t somewhere that you can wash them – no rinse required and everything is ready to go for the next pump. They’re great to have at work if you pump in the office, too.
I bought one of these when my first baby was born 11 years ago, and I bought another when my last was born this year. Face palm for ever parting with this essential piece of equipment. Not much has changed; it was perfect then, and it’s perfect now. This is the on-the-go changing pad needed. I especially love how good it feels to toss this to my husband and send him off to change the babe.
11. Lightweight Stroller
Need more infant travel advice? Read our interview with NYC pediatrician, Dr. Vicki Porges.