Traveling with a Baby for the Holidays

Mother buckling infant into car seat in a vehicle.Thanksgiving and Christmas are a busy time for families. Add a newborn to that picture and they can be even more hectic. Mom needs time to stay home and recover with a new baby but that can be difficult during the holidays. Making the rounds to the relatives can be exhausting for mom and exposes baby to the germs of the cold and flu season. So what is mom to do? Here are some suggestions for you.

If you have a premature infant, the best advice is to keep that baby at home and limit visitors to close, healthy family members. Even though a baby is breastfed, a full-term baby can still catch viruses and become ill. A healthy adult can “just have a cold” but they can be carrying the RSV virus which is a much more serious respiratory infection. If a preemie or newborn is exposed to this person’s cold, they can become extremely ill and even need hospitalization due to the effects of RSV on their lungs. Limiting exposure to other adults and children is the best way to keep your baby healthy.

A good way to keep baby close to you and shield baby from other people is to wear your baby. Breastfeeding Support & Supplies has Moby Wraps and Sling E Zee baby carriers which are comfortable for you and baby and helps protect baby from potential germs from other children and adults. When you are wearing your baby, no one touches your baby without your permission.

Older babies and toddlers who have established routines with feedings, naps and bedtime will benefit in keeping to their normal routines as much as possible. If their naps are shortened or skipped and they do not get the normal amount of sleep at night, they can become so crabby that you are not going to enjoy the holiday activity anyway. Another option is to have one parent stay home with the baby while the other joins in on the family activities.

When traveling by car, little ones will benefit from breaks every hour or two. Get them out of their carseat and take them for a little walk. You will both be more refreshed when you get back in the car. Try to travel during their nap and bedtimes so they will spend most of the time in the car sleeping. You  cannot breastfeed while everybody is buckled up so you can either use your break to nurse baby or you can pump and bottlefeed breastmilk to baby while in the carseat. If you need to pump while in the car, Breastfeeding Support & Supplies has the car adapters to plug into your car lighter for all of Medela’s double electric pumps including the hospital grade Symphony.

If you are traveling by plane, it will be up to you if you want to buy a seat for baby and use the carseat or if you choose to hold baby the whole way. Either way, it will be very helpful to nurse baby when the plane is ascending and descending and you can feel the change in air pressure against your ears. Your baby cannot chew gum to help the ears, but breastfeeding will help to keep their ears more comfortable. Anyone sitting next to you will be much happier to have a content nursing baby nearby rather than a screaming baby whose ears are in pain.

Here are some additional resources that you may find useful for flying as a breastfeeding mother:

When you are out and about while breastfeeding or just sitting around with the relatives, you may want more privacy while you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Support & Supplies has Bebe Au Lait and Hooter Hiders nursing covers. Both styles have rigid necklines so you can look down at baby but still shields the two of you from unwanted attention.

Everybody wants to see the new baby during holiday get togethers. This can put extra stress on mom when she needs to get her rest and recover from her delivery. It can be helpful to have dad set guidelines with the relatives and let them know when they will be able to visit in order to make sure mom gets time for her naps. Moms are more susceptible to getting ill at this time if they are sleep deprived and not eating well. Keeping visits and outings to a minimum during the holidays will help everybody recover from the birth experience faster and better.

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Diane Erdmann RN BSN IBCLC is a board certified lactation consultant with over 40 years of experience working with breastfeeding families. For lactation questions and more advice on traveling with breastfed babies, contact Diane at (402) 707-1696 or


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