Traveling Over the Holidays With a New Baby: How to Keep Everyone Happy and Healthy

posted: 11/27/17
by: Katie Morton
Dad holding his baby daughter during flight on airplane going on vacations. Baby girl drinking formula milk from bottle. Air travel with baby, child and family concept.

If you've recently added a new baby to your family, then the holidays are the perfect time to show off your new bundle of joy to family and friends. Unfortunately, the bustle of busy holiday travel can be stressful, even when you don't have diapers, bottles, and nap times to contend with. We've got some pro tips to help you get over the river and through the woods (or through security and on the plane) with less stress.

Staying Happy and Healthy Before You Travel With Your New Baby

1. Check In With Your Pediatrician About Your Baby's Needs

Depending on your baby's age, your pediatrician may have guidelines about car or plane travel. If you're traveling internationally, you'll want to make sure you and your baby are up to date on the necessary vaccinations and aware of any health precautions. The U.S. State Department website maintains a current list of all travel warnings, including health concerns to be aware of.

2. Scrub a Dub, Dub, Dub

Travel crowds + cold season + a new baby means that you want to be especially diligent about hand hygiene. According to the CDC, properly washing your hands is the best way to reduce your risk of infection during the winter. While soap and water is best, in a pinch, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help reduce the risk of illness from many common germs.

3. Get Your Flu Shot

Traveling during the holidays means that you're traveling during peak cold and flu season. Hand washing goes a long way, but it's also important to take other steps to protect yourself and your family from winter illness. Since the flu vaccine is not recommended for infants under the age of six months, the best way to protect your young baby from the flu is to get the vaccine yourself.

4. Check In With Your Airline About its Policies

You can stave off day-of travel headaches and hassles simply by checking in with your airline ahead of time. Each airline has different rules and policies about children, carry-on luggage, and car seat requirements. Check out their website, and if you have any questions, call their customer reps to clarify.

5. Be Security Ready With the Proper Documentation

TSA regulations "do not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18."

However, it is recommended that you travel with a back up of your baby's important documents, in case of emergency. Travel with a copy of the baby's birth certificate, any vital medical documents, vaccination records, medical insurance card, copy of prescription information, and your child's passport (if applicable).

Important Note: Everyone needs a passport to travel abroad--even infants--so visit the US Passports & International Travel site to learn how and where to obtain one for your child.

Staying Happy and Healthy in Holiday Transit With Your New Baby

1. Know What You Can Carry On

Airlines will let you bring a reasonable amount of food and water for your baby (see below for more details). You can check strollers and car seats for free, either at check-in or at the gate. If you're concerned about X-raying your baby food and water, security can hand-check your diaper bag. However, be sure to allow extra time. For an updated list of what's allowed and what's banned, check out the TSA Liquids Rule. And for practical tips on what to pack to keep Mom, Dad, and baby happy during the flight, read 10 Ways to Survive Plane Travel with Young Kids.

  1. Bring Nasal Rinse With You
    Dry cabin air can make an adult's skin feel like the Sahara. Imagine the impact it has on sensitive baby skin? One way you can help is to bring a nasal rinse and nasal aspirator on the plane. Rinsing of the nasal passages not only helps to moisturize the sensitive skin inside the nose, it may also help prevent colds during travel by reducing germs.

3. Equalize Ear Pressure During Takeoff and Descent

Takeoff and landing are when your ears feel like they're "popping" as your inner ear equalizes to the changes in air pressure. Realize that this can feel painful for babies. What can you do? Doctors recommend that you either nurse or provide a bottle during takeoff and landing. If baby is swallowing, the movements of their mouth and jaw will naturally help stabilize inner ear pressure and reduce pain.

4. Be Prepared for Messes

Know that diaper blowouts and spit-up accidents can (and will!) happen. Be prepared with a change of clothes (or two) packed in the diaper bags. Also, stash some small trash bags in the diaper bag to keep soiled clothing or diapers away from the clean stuff.

Ensuring a smooth trip over the holidays with your new baby is possible--it just requires some extra prep on your part. With our travel tips, you'll have a happy, healthy first travel experience with your little one!