Packing for Grandma’s House – Baby Essentials – Driving Edition

Travel Essentials

1. Cosco Umbria Stroller  2. VTech Safe & Sound Digital Audio Monitor  3. Graco Pack ‘n Play  4. Fisher Price Booster Seat  5. Fisher-Price Comfy Time Bouncer  6. Goodnight Moon & Time for Bed  7. Skip Hop Studio bag  8. Medela Storage Containers  9. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Wide Neck Bottle  10. HALO Sleepsack Wearable Blanket

We recently headed up to my in-laws home to visit our new niece!  She is precious, and our little girl already has a cousin! Lucky girl.  I didn’t have any cousins growing up, so she’s ahead of me already.

Going out of town is so challenging with a baby.  Our car fills up fast!  But, we’ve traveled up to the Grandparents’ house several times now, and we’ve got the essentials down to a science.

Travel and Outing Essentials
You need to have items that you can use if you have an outing somewhere, like to the zoo or a park. This is the hardest park for me to pack for, because I get this “What if?” complex!

1. Stroller – This was a tricky one for us.  We love our Britax B-Agile stroller for longer day trips.  It’s more substantial, and has a basket and cup holders for the adults.  But if we know we won’t have time for a longer outing, we opt to bring a cheaper, smaller umbrella stroller.  That way, we save trunk space.  If I was in the market for one now, I would get the Cosco Umbria or the Kolcraft Lite Sport. They both have a canopy, and a small storage basket.  But we have a hand-me-down like this one.  It serves it’s purpose.

2. Baby Carrier – This is such a small item and takes up no space!  So toss it in the car. We have the Baby Bjorn and we like it!  I used it on this last trip for a 2.5 mile walk in an arboretum.  Bring whatever you have, whether it is a structured carrier or a sling or wrap.

Feeding Essentials
This varies depending on how you are feeding your baby.  We are a pumping/bottle feeding family, and supplementing with some formula.  So what I need may be different from you.  If you’re breast feeding, you may only need a breast feeding pillow and that’s it!  Lucky you!

1. Pump – My pump comes with a carry bag, so I toss all the eating essential in that.  But I bring my pump motor, attachments, and four Medela storage containers to pump into.  I sometimes bring the charging cable, but I didn’t this time. I hate pumping when we are at someone’s house.  You have to cower in a bathroom, and leave the conversation.  So I’m actually lazy when we’re out of town and pump only twice (instead of my normal four).  My supply doesn’t really suffer too badly.

2. Bottles – I only bring two bottles with us when we’re out of town, since I hand wash everything once we’ve used it.  We use the Dr. Brown’s wide mouth bottles. I bring a larger 8 oz. bottle with a storage cap and a 4 oz. bottle with storage cap.

3. Formula – I just end up bringing the whole container of formula with us.  It fits well into the pump bag.

4. Storage for Formula – If we’re headed out on an outing and need to bring formula with me, I actually store and travel with them in a Medela storage container.  It holds 8 oz. of formula (powdered) perfectly, and the formula dispenses cleanly in to my bottle when I’m ready to prepare a bottle.  Plus they are small containers and don’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

5. Solids feeding – We aren’t quite on the solids every day train yet, but when we are, we’ll probably travel with some puree pouches and some soft spoons.  Maybe a bowl or plate, but probably not.

6. Bibs and Burp Cloths – Tons and tons and tons….

7. Travel High Chair – If the Grandparents don’t have a high chair there, then you may want to look into a travel high chair.  When we’re ready to make that investment, I’m considering the Fisher Price Deluxe Booster Seat.

Suitcase/Packing Essentials
Obviously, you’ll need clothes.  So I won’t waste your time with that.  Traveling somewhere with a washing machine obviously means you don’t have to bring MASSIVE amounts of spare clothing. You can always do a wash.  But beyond clothes, I make sure I bring a few other items.

1. Grocery bag for dirty clothes – one for the baby and one for my husband and myself.

2. Ziplock bags for ickies – in case of a blowout or nasty bib.  It can also hold a smelly diaper until you can toss it.

3. Overnight bag for baby – I like to pack my daughter’s items in a spare diaper bag.  I use my Skip Hop Studio bag (it has a broken top zipper, and Skip Hop sent me money to replace or purchase a different bag.  I purchased a different bag.).  I realize not everyone has a spare diaper bag, but I think it’s worth picking up an inexpensive one.  Bottom line is the pockets!  I tried packing my daughter’s items in a suitcase once.  It provided a ton of space, but I felt so disorganized!  Everything she needs fits perfectly in the diaper bag, and stays neat and organized.  If I was buying a separate diaper bag for travel, I’d consider this Eddie Bauer version or the Ecosusi Roomy Diaper Tote.

Sleeping Essentials
It’s important that your baby feels at home, no matter where you are!  I’m convinced that keeping a consistent bedtime routine insures your baby sleeps as normal.  BUT I don’t think you have to pack a million items!

1. Pack n Play – Whether the Grandparents have one at their home or you need to bring one, baby needs a place to sleep!  We bought a Pack n Play without a ton of bells and whistles.  It goes up and comes down easily, is fairly light weight, and compact enough.  It’s also sturdy.  But, if we were big travelers, and went out of town every weekend, I’d seriously consider investing in a Pack n Play that was more compact and lightweight, like the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib.  It’s expensive, BUT if you travel a lot, it’s worth it.  Cruise Craigslist!

2. Sleep Sack or Swaddle – Whatever your baby is using at home, bring it!  We used the Summer Infant SwaddleMe up to one month old.  Then we moved to just an Aden + Anais swaddle blanket.  Now that we are not swaddling, we use an HALO Sleepsack.

3. Night Time Books – bring 2 -3 of your favorites, depending on your space.  Our two favorites are Goodnight Moon and Time for Bed.

4. Noise Machine – we bought a noise machine that doesn’t shut off until you turn it off.  It’s small enough that it’s easy to travel with.  I tried one time to just use a noise machine app on my phone, but hated having my phone hidden away in my daughter’s room.

5. Baby Monitor – if you have a fancy video baby monitor, I’d recommend purchasing an inexpensive audio-only monitor for travel.  I’ve had friends mention that during travel, their video monitor broke!  Gah!  Horrible!  We have this baby monitor at home, and bring one parent unit and the main monitor.

Your baby will need some toys or other entertaining items to play with.  Even if Grandma has tons of toys stockpiled, you may want to bring a few favorites.

1. Bouncer Seat – if nothing else, it’s a place to put the baby down!  That baby can’t be held 100% of the time.  We have a small, compact seat at home, so it is really easy to toss into the car.  We even bring the toy arch.

2. Receiving blanket for floor/tummy time – I bring one just in case there is spit up.  And there is always spit up.

3. Toys – Bring just a few of your favorites.  You don’t have to bring a million toys, just a few.  We travel with Sophie the Giraffe and Bright Starts Snuggle & Teethe Elephant.

Are there other items you have to have?  What is different when you travel by plane?  We haven’t done a plane trip yet, and I’m sure this packing list will be slightly different (can’t bring a bouncer seat on the plane!).  Share what else you would bring!

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