Have baby, will travel? Yep! Make it much easier to leave your home with these tricks for feeding your baby when you’re out and about. Whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding or if your kid more of a snacker, our list of helpful hacks promises to make your park trips, errands, road trips and flights go more smoothly. Keep reading to see it all.
Hacks for Nursing & Bottle Feeding
1. Get an inflatable travel nursing pillow to keep in the car, and pop it in your carry-on when you travel by plane. When you’re not in transit, that pillow can give your baby a cozy, supported spot to sit or lay on.
2. No need to cry over spilled or spoiled milk. Just bring more formula or pumped breast milk than you think you’ll need. On active days, especially warm ones, your baby will likely be more thirsty than when you’re chilling at home, and a change in routine can also mean a change in feeding habits.
3. Pre-portion formula into small, snack-size plastic bags and fill clean bottles with the amount of water you need. Mix and shake, and it’s bottle time! Bring along additional water in case of spills or if you need more water for drinking.
4. While at home, get your child used to bottles made with room-temperature formula or breastmilk in case you aren’t able to warm bottles while you’re out. With powdered formula, water must be heated to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooled until it’s safe for baby to drink.
5. If your babe isn’t going for the room-temperature beverage, there are ways to get hot water to heat your formula bottles or breastmilk bags. Fill large-mouthed travel mugs with hot water before you leave the house, and they’ll keep the water hot for hours. When it’s time for feeding, place the formula bottle or breastmilk bag in a bowl or empty travel mug and pour the hot water into it. Gas stations and coffee shops will also give you hot water (usually for free!) if you tell them you’re using it to warm up your baby’s bottle.
6. Keep pumped breast milk cold with an ice cooler or freezable lunch bag until you can refrigerate it.
7. Wear a nursing tank under your top so your stomach isn’t exposed when you’re breastfeeding. It also keeps you warmer on chilly days.
8. A swaddle blanket isn’t just for tucking around your baby when it’s chilly or covering the car seat during naptime (leave some of the car seat uncovered so it doesn’t get too hot under there). A swaddle blanket is also handy for slipping over yourself if you’d like some privacy to breastfeed.
9. This is a game-changer for road trips and car outings: If you pump milk, buy the accessories so you can pump in the car. Get an extension cord that plugs into your cigarette lighter, and you can even pump in the backseat!
10. Bring soapy water that you can use to rinse out formula or breastmilk from bottles. Give the bottle a shake to clean them out, and you’ll remove most of the liquid and smell. Pack a clean plastic bag or another container to keep them in until you can wash them properly.
11. Changing your routine might change your focus while breastfeeding. To remember which side you last nursed on, place a hair tie or ring on that hand. Move it after each nursing session, and you’ll always know which side to start nursing on.
Hacks for Baby Snacks
1. When you’re out and about, whether you’re in a stroller, car seat or sitting outdoors, snack cups with lids that allow little ones to reach their hands in are the key to less mess. The cups are fairly spill-proof, and your child will love the autonomy of grabbing their own snacks.
2. Have you seen those plastic pillboxes they sell near the pharmacy at drugstores? Pick up a large one and pack it with a variety of small snacks, like puffs, Goldfish crackers and dried cranberries. Kids will love having an array of options, and you’ll be glad not to have to pack big containers of snacks. Open all the compartments for a baby buffet or just one at a time to contain messes. When kids get older and hungrier, switch to a larger container with small compartments, like a crafting box or a tackle box.
3. Freeze applesauce pouches or yogurt pouches before you leave the house, especially on hot days. They’ll act as ice packs for veggies and sandwiches when you’re en route, and then you can give your child a cool, slushy treat.
4. Bring along sandwich bags filled with folded paper towels (wet towels in one bag, dry towels in the other). The towels can wipe up any spills, and you’ll have a baggie for food wrappers and other items you’re throwing away.
5. Coffee liners make handy snack plates you can throw away—one less thing to lug around.
6. If your child is just starting solids, bring along foods that don’t need to be heated, just mashed, like bananas and avocados. Just bring a spoon to mash them up and a knife to cut the avocado.
7. If you’re going on a longer outing, like an all-day or multi-day trip, save some new snacks for the trip home. If your child is over the traveling, a different snack will perk them right up.
8. Looking for a healthy, filling meal you don’t need to heat up? At home, mix raw eggs with finely chopped veggies—roasted or raw. Pour the mixture into mini muffin cups and bake to make a toddler-size treat you can bring with you anywhere.
9. Bring plastic wrap and straws with you if you’ll be getting food from restaurants. If a restaurant only has plastic or paper cups, wrap plastic wrap over the top and pop a straw through. If the cup gets knocked over, the mess will be mostly contained.
10. If you frequently travel by car, a portable car vacuum can keep your car, including the car seat, from getting covered in crumbs. Get the kind that plugs into the cigarette lighter, and you won’t have to worry about it losing its charge.
11. In your kitchen, keep a dedicated snack drawer or shelf with baby-approved store-bought snacks so you can grab and go when you’re in a hurry. Keeping all the kid stuff together also makes it easier to see when you’re running low.
—Eva Ingvarson Cerise