Thursday, March 8, 2012

4 Favorite Products when Traveling with Baby

How can a baby this small need so much stuff?

Over the last decade, the number and quality of baby products has exploded--Moby wraps, Bumbos, Baby Einstein.  Because I like to pack as light as possible, including my diaper bag, I keep my must-have list to a minimum. Obviously baby will need extra clothes, diapers, perhaps baby spoons, bibs, and a blanket. Beyond those common diaper bag items, here are my 4 favorite products when traveling with a baby.

#1--Umbrella Stroller.  A stroller is always necessary, but why do I like the $20 version the best?  It takes up practically no room in the car, shuttle, or subway.  It is so lightweight you can pick it up with baby inside and carry it up a flight of stairs (you would be surprised how often that happens).  Many come with a basket and sunshade (which can also be purchased separately).  They are cheap enough that a rainstorm or a muddy camping trip are not a big deal (not to mention that you do not have to worry about someone taking it).  They are also surprisingly strong--we have frequently had a preschooler hold a toddler on his lap during day trips to the zoo or amusement park.   Of course, for certain trips or with two very young children, a double stroller may be necessary.  Once again, I look for a relatively inexpensive, durable, compact stroller.  My favorite is the sit n stand type which often sell between $80-$120 (designed for two children of different ages).

#2--Baby Sling.  I prefer a sling to any other carrier for babies between 5-12 months.  The sling is essentially a double folded durable piece of fabric that securely holds a baby in an upright position on your hip.  I have worn one for hours and was less sore than with any other carrier (I have to use one longer than 3 hours before I even begin to feel sore).  I own two from  They are inexpensive if you use a sales code such as valpack.  They also fold flat so you can slip it into your diaper bag (unlike most other carriers which are too bulky).  For younger babies I prefer Baby Bjorn.  Baby carriers allow you to be hands free and take a baby where strollers cannot go (such as hiking, the beach, restaurants, or crowded locations).  They also are great for babies that tire of the stroller or has an older sibling that is monopolizing the stroller.

#3--Snack Trap.  This is a miracle idea that keeps baby entertained for hours (6+ months).  The snack trap prevents cereal pieces from being broken into crumbs, prevents spilling, and provides your baby with a puzzle box.  Toddlers love trying to fit toys into the cup and exploring how the lid works.    

#4--Pacifier (and be sure to pack a few extras).  I will never forget watching my baby's pacifier slip through the mesh on a sky ride.  I had an extra one back at the motel, but none in my diaper bag.  Never made that mistake again.  I also keep an extra in case one needs to be washed.  Even if your baby does not usually take a pacifier, you may want to consider one for plane rides (it helps with ear pressure) or as a teether.  And the styles now available are almost endless--cute sayings, buck teeth, animal prints, sport themes, you name it.

What is your must-have baby item?


  1. Great idea on the baby sling..Never tried one but seemed really helpful especially when passing through crowded places.

  2. My 20 month old never took s pacified and is out of diapers. We're flying from Oakland to Dullles tomorrow with a tight layover. My essentials will be 2 extra outfits for the toddler (one for an oopsie and the other for "oh crud our plane didn't didn't land on time and now I'm stuck in Chicago overnight", the back pack style car seat carrier in case there's an extra seat on the plane--lugging a heavy car seat any other way is awful!, the aquadoodle, and the original iphone I have that no longer has phone service but has "kids doodle" on it.
    My last essential is an extra pair of pants for me. Let's face it--if my daughter pees her pants she'll likely be sitting on my lap when it happens!!

  3. Smart Planning. I agree that lugging a carseat is obnoxious and flying through Chicago is always an adventure--a staggering number of passengers get to spend the night. Happy travels.

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