That first Christmas with your little one is more magical than words can describe. Many of us want to share that joyous feeling with friends and family, visiting newly titled grandparents, godparents, and loved ones.
However, travelling with a newborn isn’t easy. Feeding, nappy changes, naps – all with the added challenge of being in a car, or even on public transport. How do you fit all of your baby essentials into a travel bag? How do you keep your little one entertained for long periods? Don’t worry, we’ve put together some top tips to help your Christmas holidays go smoothly.
Packing the essentials
The main thing to remember when packing for a trip with a newborn is that you’ll need certain things readily available on your journey. There’s no use having your changing mat buried at the bottom of the suitcase when your baby needs changing right now. Whether you’re in a car, train, or other transport, keep the essentials to hand in a separate bag and plan for the worst case scenario, like a poonami!
In this bag, you’ll want to make sure you have things like:
- Baby wipes
- Plenty of nappies and nappy sacks
- Changing mat
- A change of warm clothes (or two)
- Milk and bottles
- Don’t forget a few toys to pass the time!
Of course, you know your little one’s daily (or hourly) needs better than anyone, so pack what you think they’re likely to need in a pinch. If you can’t fit it all into an easily accessible bag, just make sure they’re on the top of the rest of your luggage so you can still reach them in an emergency!
Prepare for the weather
As much of the country has seen recently, winter weather can be difficult and unpredictable. Not only do you have to plan for the logistics of road closures, public transport delays and slippery surfaces, but you also need to consider the low temperatures.
According to the NHS, newborns are more susceptible to the cold. They have a large body surface area in relation to their weight, […] little subcutaneous fat,’ and they are ‘not able to shiver’. It’s important that you make sure your little one is safe and warm while you travel this holiday.
The temptation is to wrap your newborn up in outerwear or a thick blanket before placing them in the car. However, this can impact the performance of your car seat in the case of an accident. Thick layers of clothing/blankets prevent proper function of the harness, meaning your child is more likely to slip out. Instead, lay a blanket over the top of the belt to keep baby warm. For more advice on staying safe on the roads this winter, check out our previous blog.
Allow plenty of extra time
Travel with a newborn is just as predictable as the weather – you never know when you’re going to need to stop for a nappy change, a feed, or a rather urgent change of clothes. While your sat nav may tell you it only takes one hour to get to your family’s house, you will almost definitely need more time to account for your newborn’s needs.
If you’re going to be on the road, plan for this in advance by scouting out any services, petrol stations, cafes, or other suitable places to stop on your journey. Knowing the nearest place you can stop will make things a lot less stressful on the day of travel. Or, if you’re journeying by public transport, try to get seats near the restrooms or baby changing facilities.
Don’t put yourself at risk by rushing – allow plenty of time, let friends and family know you may be late, and be prepared for a number of stops along your journey.
Enjoy the memories you’re making
Travelling is always stressful, particularly with young children, but try to take a moment to enjoy this special family time. It’s your baby’s first Christmas – a memory that will stay with you for years to come. Perhaps it’s also the first time they’re meeting certain loved ones. It’s an incredibly special moment for the whole family, so take a minute or two to really appreciate it.
If you can, use this time to sit beside your little one and enjoy a moment of bonding. Take some photos of your journey to look back on in the future, or share with friends and family. The stress of travelling will be long forgotten when you look back on this precious memory of your newborn.
For more parenting tips and advice, check out our blog.
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