It can often feel pretty challenging to get baby to sleep in their own crib, so the thought of leaving the familiar confines of home to travel with baby is likely something else entirely—especially when it comes to that first overnight trip. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay close to home for baby’s first year. With a little preparation and the right Fisher-Price gear on your packing list, traveling with baby doesn’t have to be stressful. Read on for tips and tricks that will help baby sleep soundly when away from home.
1. Take along some comforts of home
Finding little ways to simulate your nursery will make a big difference when putting baby at ease in an unfamiliar place. Pack whatever you can fit (within reason) to replicate baby’s sleep routine, such as a favorite toy, blanket or bedtime story. And since a crib isn’t exactly travel-friendly, bring the next best thing: the Fisher-Price On-The-Go Baby Dome, a two-in-one play-and-nap space. Thanks to a sun visor and canopy, it can be used indoors and out—wherever your travels take you—and folds flat for easy storage and packing. To get baby comfortable with sleeping in the dome, use it for a few days while you’re still home to make for an easier transition.
2. Plan ahead for plane and car rides
Facing an epic road trip to Grandma’s? Planning a short flight for a family vacation? However you’re traveling, try to schedule it during baby’s regular naptime so he can grab some good rest along the way. To make the car more sleep-friendly, install a sunshade on baby’s window and clip toys and pacifiers (if you use them) to the car seat. That way, you won’t have to pull over if something strays from baby’s grasp.
3. Buy an extra plane seat
Kids under the age of 2 fly free on most airlines, but it will be a better trip for everyone if you go ahead and spring for the extra seat. Not only can baby sleep better in a car seat than on your lap, it’s also safer in the event of turbulence. If you can’t justify the extra cost, book a bulkhead seat that accommodates a bassinet attachment; many international flights offer these cots for babies up to 20 pounds.
4. Use a travel system
You might be tempted to bring a lightweight umbrella stroller on your trip, and while that’ll take up less room in the trunk of your car, you’re better off bringing your travel system. Depending on where you’re heading, car seats may not be readily available in taxis or at the homes or hotels you're visiting, so having your own will make things easier. Plus, it’s not as disruptive to snap a sleeping baby’s car seat into a stroller. Most planes will let you check or gate-check car seats and strollers free of charge, so you won’t have to worry about getting it on and off the plane yourself.
5. Stock up on overnight diapers
Babies tend to get fussy when they’re in need of a diaper change, so put yours in an overnight diaper—even during the daytime—if you have a few hours of travel ahead of you. This will be comfier for baby and prevent you from having to change diapers in less-than-ideal spaces or at inconvenient times. Because who wants to wake a sleeping baby?
6. Use feeding to your advantage
Feeding baby or using a pacifier during takeoff and landing will help soothe and adjust her ears to the change in air pressure. If you breastfeed and you’re not totally comfortable nursing in public or in an unfamiliar place, pack a nursing cloth that can double as a blanket.
7. Stick to your schedule
Help baby (and yourself, for that matter) adjust to a change of scenery by keeping his daily routine as unchanged as possible. It may be tough when there are people to see and places to go, but mapping out the day’s itinerary more or less the same way you would at home will keep your tiny travel companion happy and well rested.