dc infant photographer | baby travel essentials gear

With my oldest kids being 6 and 8, it had been a while since I had to pack for a baby when traveling. Older children require much less gear, and I pack as light as possible. But with the arrival of the baby in mid November, I dug out all of my baby travel essentials gear again. We flew as a family of five when the baby was just two months, and I’m happy to share my travel packing list. I previously shared some tips for flying with young children. The key for me when traveling with a baby and young children are routines that can be easily adapted.

Here are my travel essentials and some tips. As an added bonus, I’ve dug up some old photos for you to enjoy :)

Baby Carrier
A baby carrier is a must for me. We usually take a stroller, too, but sometimes grabbing your diaper bag and the baby carrier is so much easier. Strollers can be a big hassle in tight locations with endless steps. Or may not make sense if you’re traveling to go skiing. My favorite baby carrier is the Original Ergo carrier. I’ve tried many different carriers and wraps over the course of having 3 babies, and this one works best for me. Considering my Ergo is 8 years old and has been washed countless times, the quality is clearly long lasting. I love the padded shoulder straps and the attached hood, which I use as a sunshade and as a signal that it’s time to nap. Plus, it’s super easy to put on, and my husband can wear it easily, too.

Mom and dad are carrying baby in the original Ergo carrier with photos by DC infant photographer Stefanie Harrington.

Travel Crib
Another essential travel item for babies that has stood the test of time is our BabyBjorn travel crib. Over the past eight years, our travel crib has flown and traveled numerous times without any issues. It’s very light and so easy to set up and pack up. I always use it as the baby’s suitcase by stuffing clothes, a few diapers and other baby items in its bag. One time we tried using a travel tent, but I found it too awkward to use and our baby slept much better in the crib. 

Adorable toddler boy with white blond hair is waking up in his portable crib.

Car Seat
We always bring our infant car seat instead of renting one locally. That way we know that it works for our baby. It also doubles as our stroller, because we bring a stroller base. For our first, we had a slightly different infant car seat and stroller base, that we changed for our third baby.

I like to bring 2-3 lightweight muslin blankets. They can double as a nursing cover, baby blanket, sunshade, burp cloth. We still have our Adan + Anais blankets from my oldest’s newborn days. For winter trips, I make sure that our car seat stroller is warm with the BundleMe.

A collage of photos showing a baby boy smiling and sleeping in his infant car seat.

Sleep Routine
I’m a huge proponent of having a sleep routine. My kids love to sleep a lot, and so do I. To help them feel comfortable and safe in a new environment, I always bring a few MAM pacifiers (they’re the best, hands down), 2 of the same Angel Dear lovey (one for the car/plane, one clean one in the suitcase for when we arrive), and a portable sound machine. I also have a white noise app on my phone and on our iPad for times when the kids napped in different rooms. 

A few more thoughts on traveling with a baby:

  • I pack diapers for the first 2 days and then stock up locally.
  • I only bring a baby monitor if we are staying in a large house. If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to bring some adapters. 
  • Once the baby is eating solid food, I bring a few spoons and some baby food for the first 2 days. Depending on your destination, it’s usually easy to find baby food locally.
  • When flying, I pack medicine supplies like infant tylenol, infant ibuprofen and a thermometer in our carry on bags. 

Happy travels!!

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