What to pack when traveling with a baby?

Traveling light with a baby

Say no to strollers!
Baby Cloths
Toys
Medicine
Food and diapers

We have been traveling with Lia for just over a year now; we started our Trans-Siberian railway journey  when she had just turned 5 months old.
Before our departure we packed her little backpack and while the months went on, Lia was growing in size while her backpack was remaining the same. You will be as surprised as we were at the beginning how little stuff babies actually need. In fact all they need is you, your time and your love.
Now when seeing my friends with children I am horrified by the amount of stuff they think they need for their kids! I believe that just the idea of carrying around the ridiculous amount of junk puts off many parents from traveling. Sad, isn’t it?
So here I am to disperse the fears that babies need a lot of stuff on the road. This is all we had during our trip and still it was probably too much.

 Say no to strollers!

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If you plan to go somewhere different than Europe and longer than two weeks vacation-forget about strollers!
There are a few reasons for that:
• Strollers are bulky
• In many countries (majority of the countries) there are no special ramps for the strollers and it will be a difficult task to get anywhere with your stroller
• You wont be able to visit most sites with your bulky stroller

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Instead use a baby carrier; they are light, comfortable and easy to use. We took Lia in her baby carrier everywhere we went. Hiking in the mountains, riding motorbikes, riding horses and elephants, kayaking, discovering caves and so on. I’m sure you won’t be able to do it with your stroller.

Baby Cloths

Bring the minimum! Your child just doesn’t need dozen of dresses (if a girl), shirts, pants and so on.
What we have:
2 dresses (1 is really light, another is a little bit warmer)
2 pairs of shorts
4 shirts (short sleeves)
2 long sleeves shirts
2 pairs of pants
1 jumpsuit (in case it gets really cold)
2 pair of shoes (sandals and sneakers)
2 hats

We always try to have everything in pairs in case something gets lost. We lost dozens of hats, pants and even shoes. So it is really nice to have an immediate backup.

Toys

What about toys? Fewer quality/educational toys the better…and lighter! ☺ There are endless of studies/experiments/opinions proving that having fewer toys will actually benefit your children in a long run. I especially liked this article on the matter.
While having few toys on the road was partly for practicality, I am sure when we finally settle down we will keep it the same way.
Throughout the year we have had several toys, some were lost in a hotel room or in the bus while others were replaced with more age appropriate toys.
This is the list of the toys we chose to travel with:

  • A rattle (when Lia was 5 months old, lost eventually
  • A singing book (was destroyed eventually)
  • Little stuffed animals (mostly gifts from other people and lost eventually)
  • Plastic pyramid (teach stacking and colors)
  • Plastic puzzle cub (new favorite, leans shapes and hand/eye coordination)
  • A small hard-back book (in Armenian… but mostly we name the things in the pictures)
  • Stuffed doll Alex (a gift from Almaty, Kazakhstan)
  • A ball for kicking around (Lia’s favorite since she started walking)
  • Digital games on parents’ devices (really helps in transport)
  • Educational shows, we use Disney’s Baby Einstein series

Lia’s toys also include everything she sees around her, from plastic bags to remote controls, and of course people interaction is the best entertainment and while traveling she has it in abundance.

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Medicine

While there are pharmacies and hospitals everywhere, it is always wise to have an emergency kit.
What we had:

  • Thermometer
  • Snotsucker nasal aspirator
  • Baby teething gel (didn’t use at all)
  • Fever reducing rectal suppositories
  • Antibiotics (amoxicillin in small mg sizes for babies)

Read our article Getting sick on the road where I talked about Lia getting sick in Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

Food and Diapers

I think food and diapers have always been the bulkiest part of Lia’s backpack.
What we always try to have with us:

    • Big pack of diapers
    • Baby formula (I didn’t breastfeed during our trip)

Usually if it is a good deal we buy few extra cans of formula before moving to another country.

  • Instant cereals
  • Baby food jars
  • Baby wipes
  • 2 plastic bottles

Finding jars of baby food was the hardest. Many countries just don’t have good products, so we were always stocking up before moving to another country. We would often cook for her if possible or share what we were eating, the jars are for “emergencies” or when on the road.

Another practice that makes traveling on the road with a baby easy is pre-mastication, or basically chewing up food for your baby and feeding them like a bird (well with a spoon not mouth to mouth…) this practice is thousands of years old and still used in most of the world without blenders affordable by the public. Without knowing until writing this article this actual has many benefits for your baby, which can read about here. I know most in the west are disgusted by this, but like many things regarding a baby, without reason..

So that’s pretty much it. As you see it is quite a handful of stuff we carry with us and still sometimes we feel it is too much. The heaviest ones are diapers and baby food jars, so we are looking forward to the times when Lia doesn’t need them…our bags will be so much lighter!

Comment in the section below what you bring with you when you travel with a baby.

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