Coming up with what to put on a baby registry is overwhelming. There are so many products out there and so many I thought were necessities that I never touched. Equally, there are several items I wish I would’ve put on my baby registry to begin with which I never heard of and no one told me about. I put the below list of 10 items together that were recommended to me and that I purchased over time that have made traveling with my baby much easier.
I want to shout from the rooftops how much of a difference these items have made in simplifying my day to day life as well as my travels with baby Ava. But, instead of shouting I’m just going to make a list instead and hope I can help whoever reads it.
Willow Wearable Breast Pump –
One of the pricier items on the list but hey if you have a few friends that each chip in this is the #1 thing I’d recommend to anyone who wants to breastfeed and knows they’ll have to pump. Especially if you’re a working mom and especially if you are going to be traveling anywhere.
You can literally just slide the Willow Pump into your bra and voila! You’re pumping with no cords to get twisted up in or ridiculous bottles jutting out from your ta-tas. I’ve spent so many hours of my life and precious time away from my baby I’ll never get back to pump before discovering Willow. Even with the handsfree pumping bra for conventional travel pumps, it was isolating and it made going anywhere daunting and unenjoyable because of the sheer hassle pumping on the go typically is. I’ve even met mom’s who left their careers because they couldn’t handle pumping at work. I don’t blame them – pumping is awful. Or at least it was, until Willow came into our lives.
So, why is Willow a God-send? How does it work?
Willow is an “all in one” breast pump that has no tubes or cords. The spill proof milk bag fits inside the pump perfectly and the pump slides right into your bra. Everything just works from inside your bra. The technology Willow uses for the suction is able to mimic that of a baby which makes it truly mobile. You can bend over, twist, bump into something and the suction remains and pumping goes uninterrupted, happily within the privacy of your bra.
Skip Hop Forma Diaper Backpack
The perfect mix of practical and stylish and is the roomiest one I’ve come across with ample storage and several different compartments for all the little bits and bobs of baby gear you’ll want to situate for easily accessibility while on the go. The main compartment area is extra wide which makes it easy to jam pack if you need to and it allows you to see what you’re looking for when you need to fish something out.
There are a few elastic compartments in there where I like to put bottles and the Ready to Feed premix formula bottles I’ll mention below. The best part of this diaper backpack for me is that it straps onto my stroller and gives my back a break when I’m walking a long way through the terminal, on public transit or exploring a new city on foot.
Infant Enfamil Ready to Feed AND Ready to Feed Nipples –
I switched to formula when Ava was 6 months old and rather than carrying prefilled 8 oz bottles filled with water to then carefully scoop powder formula into while in a car or on a plane I bring Enfamil Read to Feed formula. Even though they’re liquid TSA has to allow you to bring them through security. Anything that’s baby food can go. These bottles need to just get a little shake then either use the Ready to Feed Nipples to screw on top or pour the formula directly into your bottles. No adding water necessary. If I could do it over again I’d ask for as many cases as possible on my baby registry. I’m always out and every time I go to Target or Wal-Mart they’re out of stock. Luckily with Amazon Prime I can get them delivered same day when I’m in a bind.
Tula Free to Grow Carrier –
I tried 3 different and frustrating baby carriers and wraps before a friend told me about the Tula Carrier. Tula makes a few different styles but the Free to Grow Carrier in particular can be used from 7lbs to 45lbs and has allowed me to wear my baby through all stages of her life which I’ll continue to as she enters into toddlerhood. What I love most about the Tula Carrier is simply that I can put it on in less than 10 seconds, without straining, and my baby fits comfortabley secure inside.
Tula carriers come in a wide variety patterns. I have this one Discover – Free to Grow Baby Carrier. No infant insert is required for Tula baby carriers, so you don’t have to mess with that, and they have way less material than other carriers so they’re easy and lightweight to bring with you or store at home. Must also be said that they are machine washable – my little one spit up like a volcano until she was 4 months old and I had to wash it frequently. 10 months later its in as good of condition as it was on day one.
As a travel tip: When I arrive at the airport I’m already wearing my Tula just without the baby in it. Once I get my boarding pass and before security I take my baby out of her carseat/stroller travel system, and smoothly unbuckle it, strap her in, clasp the back buckle with both hands, and I’m on my way. This gives me two hands through the security with a baby shuffle I write about how to master here.
BabyJogger Travel System
My husband and I decided we would splurge on one thing during our baby shopping and it was this. Some people choose to splurge on a nice Glider or Crib and Changing Table. We knew we needed to spend a little extra for what was going to allow us to travel with ease. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT Travel System is in my top 5 favorite items I’ve ever purchased period – baby and non baby related. Let me break down why you need a Travel System and why this one is going to be yours and your baby’s best friend on the road.
The Baby Jogger Travel System combines the City Mini GT Stroller with the City Go Infant Car Seat in which the City Go car seat easily and securely snaps onto the Stroller and can be detached with one single handed fluid motion. The City Go Infant Car seat can be installed in any car with or without a base which makes it ideal for travel as you can easily install in a rental car or quickly strap in and take out of a Taxi/Uber in a hectic city with a line of cars waiting behind you. The City Mini GT Stroller wheels are designed for off-roading with baby and with the front wheel suspension you can take your baby on walks through any terrain as you discover a new destination. I’ve pushed my baby in her City Mini GT deep into the woods in the Latvian countryside and most often through nature parks and trails in my home city of Minneapolis.
My absolute favorite features of this stroller are how lightweight it is and the simplicity of folding it so there is absolutely no hassle in transporting it. The weight of this stroller is noticeably and significantly lighter compared to any other I tested during my shopping process. When you’re ready to store it in a car, on a train or plane there is a strap you gently pull up on with one hand as the stroller collapses and auto locks. As its so light you can easy carry it with one arm to place in the trunk of a car or lift onto the X-Ray belt as you go through airport security.
The cherry on top of the Travel System cake and the Baby Jogger Travel System in particular is that this one product alone makes air travel with a baby easy. You only have so many hands, so by attaching the car seat directly onto the stroller its one less bulky item you have to schlepp through the airport or worry getting banged up checking it through to baggage claim. With the Travel System you simply keep your baby in the City Go Infant Car seat snapped onto the Stroller as you trek throughout the terminal. Once you are ready to board you just need to grab two Gate Valet tags – one for the car seat portion and the other for the stroller and leave them at the end of the jetbridge as you board the plane.
My baby slept through the night from 4 weeks old because of a Dock-A-Tot that we initially used while on the road. Many hotels will be able to set up a baby crib for you but if you’re staying with friends or family or in an Airbnb you may be wondering where will your baby sleep? Where can you safely put your baby while you shower if you don’t have your bouncer or pack n play with you? A Dock-A-Tot is the answer for lounging at home or on the road and while traveling this is the safest way to co-sleep with your baby in bed with you when used properly.
The design of a Dock-A-Tot is engineered to make a baby feel snug, secure and comfortable where the rounded sides act as a barrier between you and the baby if you choose to co-sleep. The most impressive aspect of this product is its multifunctional use that serves many purposes both at home and while traveling including sleeping, lounging, diaper changing, tummy time and easy portability. To keep it clean and even more travel friendly than it is naturally you can purchase the travel bag as an accessory to condense it down even further.
Halo Microfleece Sleepsack Swaddle
My newborn was a little Hulk baby and could bust open even the most experienced nurse’s swaddle. I had swaddling blankets, the Swaddle Me, the Swaddle Up and yes even the Halo Sleepsack Cotton and my baby squirmed her way out of all of them, waking herself up within minutes of closing her eyes. It wasn’t until we were gifted a Halo Microfleece Sleepsack and decided to try one last swaddle product that we realized this material was strong enough to keep our little one snug as a bug and sleeping soundly through the night. Why am I recommending it on my travel item list? Because if you’re taking a long flight – whether it be Trans-Atlantic from the United States to Europe, or even further like my daughter’s first international flight to Asia you will need this item to keep your baby sleeping on the plane as long as possible.
At 3 months old we took Ava on a 16 hour flight from New York City to Hong Kong and she slept for 10 hours of that flight because of the Halo Microfleece Swaddle. We aren’t all lucky enough to fly on an airline that still has bassinets you can request so if you are just in a normal economy seat or the bulkhead row this will be a life saver. Wrap your baby in the Swaddle Sleepsack after you give her a feed. By the time you get to cruising altitude the sweet combination of the sucking, the engine sounds and vibrations, all wrapped in the Microfleece Swaddle Sleepsack your bub while be out like an angelic light and you can enjoy your inflight meal, movie and have a little snooze yourself.
Dr. Brown’s Pacifier and Bottle Wipes
There isn’t much to say about this product other than your baby is going to drop their pacifier all over the filthy airport, airplane, or in other questionable environments several times during any trip. Its inevitable. While I’m by no means a germaphone (my baby has licked the airplane windows and tray table on more than one occassion) I really don’t want to put her pacifier back into her mouth until its sanitized. Soap and hot water on the go isn’t always readily accessible and if we want to keep our babies calm or help them sleep with their paci we need an easy way to clean them. When it comes to bottles, on long flights I will end up needing to clean a bottle or two and I refuse to use the airplane lavratory water to do this, so I prefer a wipe.
Dream Baby 2-Piece Travel System Mosquito Netting
I was so thankful for this product while traveling through SE Asia where there are many insects and especially mosquitos. This two-piece mesh insect netting has elastic edges to contour around your travel system Car Seat and Stroller both separately and together. Allows for quick and easy removal and of course your baby can see out of it clearly.
When traveling in humid and wet mosquito prone destinations – especially those places where there’s a small risk for mosquito borne illnesses like Dengue fever a net is the ultimate protection for your baby. While many of us avoid DEET in our insect repellents the netting is a fantastic alternative to avoiding putting any chemicals on your babies skin and still keep them safe from bites.
Philip’s Avent Natural Baby Bottles
These bottles are meant to be the ideal bottle for mother’s who combine breast and bottle feeding which is why I bought them to begin with. Their shape and design mimics the round feel of a breast and the wider breast like nipple allows for a natural latch. They also happen to be brilliant to travel with because of the minimal parts which are easy to clean and the covers that snap on top of the bottle to protect the nipples from getting unsanitary.
The nipples which range from slow, medium and fast flow to ultra soft to hard are easy to switch in and out of the bottles and clean thoroughly while on the go. The wide brimmed bottles themselves are easy to put your hand in to scrub directly while on the road or in a plane. I’ve had to stop at many gas stations along the way on a road trip to wash bottles with no brush or spunge. I’m able to stick my hand in and give them a thorough scrub down.
There are so many baby products on the market it can be overwhelming to make the decision for you. If you’re going to be traveling with baby often – whether by car or airplane these products have simplified my life and saved me many headaches as I’ve learned along the way.