Traveling with infant...what to Bring?

Updated on January 06, 2008
W.S. asks from Pasadena, CA
11 answers

My husband and I will be traveling to Germany (Frankfurt, Rothenburg, Nuremburg) for a week in mid-March with our (will-be) 5 month old son. We'll also be traveling to British Columbia in April. Any advice on what to bring?

For getting about locally, I currently have the Peg Perego car seat and the Maclaren Techno XLR Stroller. My husband's looked into the GoGo Kidz Travelmate and buying a compatible car seat. The Sit n'Stroll has also been recommended, but I've heard it may not make it down some airplane aisles. I also have a Baby Bjorn Original Carrier, but it hurts my back so am thinking of getting the Baby Bjorn Active Carrier. For sleeping, we have a Graco Travel Lite bassinet, or should we take our chances on what a hotel will offer? I'll still be breastfeeding, but is public breastfeeding acceptable in Germany. Or will I need to bring my breastpump?

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So What Happened?

Ok, my son is now the traveling pro. Germany was incredible. My son loved it. We've since been to Whistler (loved it too), Yosemite (hated the car), Mammoth (slept in the car), and a few trips to visit Grandma.

Gear-wise we ended up getting a Maclaren Easy Traveller. OMG, I so love this stroller, even just for around home. It's so much lighter than my Techno Stroller. The one bad thing is that any stroller with smaller wheels makes for a very bumpy ride on those European cobblestone roads. Everyone said it would lull our baby to sleep; he seemed ok, but I got nauseous watching him go bump bump all day. And the wheels did get stuck in the streets in Rothenburg. And there are lots of stairs in some places. By the way, there were lots of people out with babies and strollers and almost all of the strollers were the big wheeled types that are so fashionable here now, like the Quinny, Bugaboo, etc.

I also got an Ergo Baby Carrier that I didn’t use too much except when it was raining, but I totally love it now. My husband thought the Ergo too girly so he got the Kelty Kids TC 2.1 Baby Backpack (did I mention he's gadgety) to carry baby and camera gear, although baby was a bit too small so we ended up using it as our day pack anyway. We use it a lot now for hiking anyway. Our travel agent reserved cribs at all of our hotels, but baby didn't like them and ended up getting spoiled by sleeping with us (which he's never done before!) and nursing at will thru the night (don’t want to disturb the other guests). I thought I’d never get him back into his own bed at home, but he went right back to his crib!

Funny how much of the advice I received hit on the breastfeeding issue, which really was only a secondary issue for me. The only reason I brought up the issue was due to my friend in Great Britain who says she gets frowned upon for nursing her son in public.

As far as (us and baby) eating, restaurants were all very baby friendly, with some of the owners even watching and playing with our baby for us while we ate. If it wasn’t our mealtime, but baby was hungry/fussy, we’d just duck into a café for tea and sit in the back while I nursed him. A few times, I sat on a park bench, but it was still really too cold out to do so. I have a "hooter hider" type cover, but my baby really hates it and always ended up throwing it around. So much for discretion. Our hotels were all very centrally located, thanks to a great travel agent, so we could always easily return to our hotel room for a break too.

As far as traveling about the country, we had a very nice BMW 7 Series rental car (we got upgraded!). Driving about at our own pace was really nice with the baby. Funny side note, but we spent 20 minutes trying to figure out the nav system because it was in French, so we had to figure out how to get it into English. Also, next time, we’ll hope for a smaller car as parking a big car anywhere in Europe is a pain!

We had airline seats reserved for our baby, so we brought our car seat on board. Oh, this is a story in itself that leads to an entire commentary on various airlines and their responses to babies.... Our overseas and return legs were on American Airlines (AA). No problem getting bulkhead seats, requesting a bassinet (although we never used it and ended up giving it to other couples with babes in arms), installing the car seat on the airline seat. Baby slept very well in his car seat. I did dose him with Benedryl on the way over to help with jet lag (with my pediatrician’s ok and after a trial run at home). I was very lucky to have petite women sitting next to me the entire trip, so breastfeeding on the plane was never a problem (not so with our trip to was on my lap this time and the huge, but kind, woman next to me could barely put arm rest down so my son was constantly kicking her while nursing). The change in air pressure only bothered baby a little bit, but I'd just nurse him. Airline attendants were very helpful with my family and all our gear (Southwest and Alaska Airlines are also exceptional on the help dept here too. I counted at least 10 people jumping to help me on a recent Southwest trip).

Now, British Airways (BA) is entirely a different story (stop reading here if you don’t want to read some major venting). Rear facing seats are not allowed for take off and landing; their version of the FAA only allows forward facing seats. When I called AA about using my car seat, they said that BA had to follow AA rules since that's where I made my reservations. Of course, I wasn't going to rely on this info. BA's website says that they have Britax infants seats available on a first-come first served basis as well, so I thought I could check my Peg Perego and get a Britax for the BA legs of our trip. Well, the horrors of traveling on BA....not a single BA agent had any idea about the Britax seats even when I showed them the printout from their website. If I said something like, "But that's what it says on your website." I'd get a response like, "MY website?" as if we were speaking two different languages. The flight attendants were very confused about my baby and me. They didn't seem to understand that I did indeed have a purchased seat for him. They were confused about bringing my car seat on board and telling me it was not allowed and that there was no room for it. They did say I could gate check it and my stroller, but they would arrive in baggage claim. One would say I could bring my car seat while another would say I couldn’t use it all, and finally one would insist it needed to be stowed for take off and landing but then no one would bring it back to me when we were airborne. They said I could bring my stroller on board, but it would need to go in the overhead bin. I would need to hold my baby in my lap for take off and landing, and use one of their silly infant seatbelts that just loops thru mine, and in case of emergency, would just eviscerate my baby anyway. So, now I'm standing on the jetway alone with a baby and a car seat and my Maclaren, as my husband had gone ahead of me with our carry-ons AND not one attendant would help me. Every single flight attendant just stood there with crossed arms and tell me, "But we're trying to help you" at every request for assistance but not one would lift a finger for me. Then the head steward would come over and say how the other attendant is so distressed about me complaining about him as he was trying to be so helpful to me, but yet he didn’t do a thing to help. So, now I'm trying to get down the aisle carrying my baby, the stroller, and the car seat by myself. My husband finally had to yell at someone to assist me before storming back down the aisle thru various people to help me. This same sequence of frustration occurred with every single attendant on every single plane. Needless to say, this is not an endorsement for BA, but if you do have to fly them, don’t count on any assistance, don’t bother purchasing an individual seat for your baby because he won’t be able to sit in it, don’t bring your stroller unless it can be checked or fit overhead, pack at little as possible (like that’ll happen with a baby) because something will invariably get lost (yes, that happened to us too).

Anyway, my baby is now very vocal, very mobile and very wiggly and can’t sit still anymore. We’ll still try to travel and hope my son continues to love to see the world as we try to teach him to appreciate this wonderful planet we live in.

Featured Answers



answers from San Diego on

We traveled in Australia a lot with my daughter and still do. I would not worry abotu a breast pump, most other countries are more relaxed about it then we are here in the US.

I always brought a stroller and car seat. Most coutries have places you can rent things and you can googel where you are going and see if they do.

Diapers - I would bring a pack of those because I never liked the ones I found in other countries.

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm going to address the plane issue. My kids always had problems with pressure in the ears. So, be prepared to nurse (breastfeed or bottle) or have a pacifier on hand for take off and landing. And, if it's ok with your ped, I highly suggest Benadryl. It helps with the pressure, and as a added benefit, makes them drowsy. the one time I forgot it, my son was in so much paid, he cried so hard, he threw up on me! My kids all had problems with sinuses and I wasn't taking any chances!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi W.,
What a great mother you are. You are thinking about all the right things. I would recommend to get a sling or a wrap for your travels. It will cover many of your worries. YOU can bounce your baby to sleep in it. You can breastfeed your baby in it, you can cover yourself if you need to. I have a feeling that people in Europe are more accepting of Breastfeeding than people in America. Please feel free to contact me and If you are local I would love to show you how to wear a sling. I am a doula and work with clients all the time on sling wearing and that freedom that comes with it. theother thing you may want to take with you is a light blanket in case you want to cover up. I personally breastfeed without covering up, but that is a preference. YOu may want to invest in shirt that will allow easy breastfeeding....I always wear strechy or vneck shirts and offer a breast from the upper opening of my shirt as opposed to lifting up my shirt from the bottom.
Welleda is a wonderful line of baby care products made in Germany, so you do not have to worry about diaper creams, oils, and baby care products.
YOu should bring with you some teething toys and make sure to breastfeed at take off and landings.

For traveling with a little baby I like the travel systems, because the car seat fits in the stroller, so you do not have to shlep so much with you and you can bring the whole thing up to the gate. Keeping it light is important too, especially for long trips.
For your US travels, you can order stuff from this website and it will wait for u pon arrival

Hope this helps
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answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hello W.,

I live in Frankfurt Germany and I am german. Have a 3 year old dauther and travel alot cuz I work for the airlines.
In Germany breastfeeding is normal. Nobody is going to look at you if you even do it in public. Just put a towel or something like that over your shoulder and your baby boys head so you feel more comfortabel and he wont be stressed. But even if you dont have that, nobody will say something cuz here it is normal and europeans handle nudity in general alot diffrent then in the US.

You dont have to buy any additional car seats or stroller. THe car seat that you have in the US will work and your stroller aswell. Keep that money and spend it on something else.
The stroller you can take all the way to the airplane and just before you get on you give it to the groundhandling staff. Just make sure you tell the check in lady at the ckeck in counter that you would like to check in your stroller aswell, but take it to the plane, this way you get the baggage tag for the stroller.
Try to check in as early as possible. On the planes they usually have blocked aisles for babies. After take off and before landing they will install a "bed" for babies, unless you bought your son a regular seat?

Usually the hotels have baby beds. If I was you, I wouldnt bring an extra baby bed. And in case one hotel might wont have a baby bed, just let him sleep inbetween the two of you.

My daughter always travelled with me/us. The only thing that I recommand is maybe nosedrops for the baby. Just in case. Other then that, you are good to go. And in case something should be missing and you really should need something...we also have toys `r us and walmart and stuff like that :-) Whatever you use at home is good enough, dont bring too much cuz this way you wont loose nothing and makes travelling easier.

Oh, you should bring warm clothes. Kind of cold out here right now. We might get some snow in the next couple of days. And spend the strollermoney on something else.

Have a nice trip.




answers from San Luis Obispo on

Travel as light as possible, a baby sleeping bag for the room, breasts, a few disposable diapers. Breastfeeding is 100% ok in europe and in BC. Only Americans have the phobia. You may use a sling or a front pack for your husband to carry if it gets heavy. No need for strollers under the age of a year old. I have traveled extensively with one two and then three children under the age of 3, and believe me, that baby paraphanelia gets to be the real burden. Go light but go warm, it is quite chilly for baby in those months in both places. Have fun.They rent car seats there and make them at a better standard than our own.



answers from Los Angeles on

I traveled Europe for 5 months with my oldest when she was an infant. Infants are extremely easy to travel with. She is also my hardest baby so believe me when I say it was easy. All you need are your boobs, diapers, blanket and a couple toys. If he/she is eating baby food you can bring some with you. The plane will also have baby food. I did not take a pump. I hate pumping so I just nursed when I needed to wherever I was and never had a problem (The Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy). Infants will fall asleep a few times due to the humming the of the plane. We did not take a crib with us since we were mostly located in an apartment in Amsterdam and hotels have cribs when we traveled to other places. We took the train mostly so no car seat. I also did not put her in a car seat when in a taxi or town car. I would just hold her for the short distance. You will find that this is normal in Europe. It is ok to hold the baby unless you are traveling in a car a lot. It's probably not the law but we did it. I was mostly on train, bike (baby seat for bike) or foot. I did have a Zooper stroller that was terrific.

So all in all you do not need much and I was there for a long time. It is get s harder when they are toddlers. Oi vey!

Take care and enjoy,



answers from San Diego on

My husband is Swiss and our son was born in Switzerland. We came back to the US a few months after he was born. We did a good bit of traveling in Germany and Austria during that time and breast feeding is far more accepted in Europe than it is in the US. Don't give that a second thought. Can't help you with the stroller or car seat, but we used a sling with our son and it was fantastic, much more convenient and comfortable than other types of carriers, and better for the baby, too, since he has a wide range of possible positions as well as napping and feeding. Enjoy your trip! Germany is wonderful!



answers from Los Angeles on

Some tips I learned from experience.
A baby wrap (I have the Maya Wrap) on the plane is great, bec. you can keep baby in the wrap and be mostly hands free, otherwise you are literally holding baby the ENTIRE time and it hurts your arms.
A change of clothes, not only for baby, but for you. Spit up can get all over you and its hard to clean while holding a baby in those small airplane bathrooms.
Extra, extra, extra diapers for the plane ride, you never know where you can stuck for an overnight or delay and being short on diapers is a nightmare.
Sanitary pads/tampons for you just incase your period decides to make a dramatic appearance during travel. (yes, this happened to me and I was NOT equipped, I'll leave it at that).
A couple bottles of pedialite, you never know when/if baby will get sick and get diahreah, and if you can't find something with electrolytes fast, it could get serious.
I roughed it and forewent the stroller (yes, I was in eastern europe with a 5 month old). And I'm glad I did. I brought the Bjorn and thats all I used. I had a car seat (no base) too and used it in taxis.
I do like the Bjorn Actve, but honestly, its only a LITTLE batter on the back.
I hope this helps.



answers from Milwaukee on

I was nursing our oldest exclusively when we went to Belgium, Netherlands & Germany when he was 4 months old. No problems nursing in public - I just did so discreetly - in the back of restaurant booths, at playgrounds, in the back of the car, etc.

I'm not sure about the baby bjorn active, but carrying our son around in the regular was definitely back breaking work. With our second, I got a sling and found it to be much more comfortable as he got bigger & heavier (but didn't try a Europe trip with it).

As for strollers - just beware of cobblestone streets (and steps with no attached ramps, elevators, etc.) in old city centers. They are really tough on most strollers available in the US, unless you have a jogging stroller - something that is designed to go over bumps. And speaking of steps - if you plan to take public transportation, the carrier will be easier than the stroller as elevators are not always available.

One final note - the time change will wreak havoc on baby's schedule the first few nights, so you might want to plan on some extra nap time (for all of you) in the first few days.

Good luck & have fun.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi W.;

I heard about your concerm, I done traveling while I am breastfeeding. Always bring some towel/cloth to cover yourself and you child while breastfeeding. You never know which place or country you will be when your son would like to drink his mom's milk. I breastfeed my 4 children for 1 1/2 years. They're healthy and turn to be a good children. Two in adults and one is married and had 17 mths old grand daugter and two teenagers. The comfort and bonding is breastfeeding your son. He will be a good son. Good luck.




answers from Los Angeles on

I have traveled to Europe a lot with both my kids now 2 and 4. My favorite is the sit n stroll if you get a seat for your child. and then I checked my Mc Laren with the luggage. For the airports I always had a sling. I always preferred taking my own portable crib.Have fun !

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