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).
#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?