Feeding Your Traveling Bundle of Joy
You've got your baby all packed and ready to go on vacation … but what are you going to feed him while you're out? If baby is on formula and cereal or has graduated to finger foods, you are in luck. All you have to do is pack enough bottles and snacks to feed baby during your trip. (Just be sure to keep bottles on ice until you're ready to feed; then ask an eating establishment for a cup of hot water to set the bottle in for warming.) Of course, if you're breastfeeding, packing baby's food will be a breeze!
The best news about formula is that you can now buy it ready-made, in small, use-as-you-go sizes (eight-fluid-ounce containers) or prebottled. It doesn't get any easier than that. If baby prefers nice, warm bottles, you can purchase a bottle warmer with a car adaptor.
What about breastfeeding your baby while you're on the road?
If you're breastfeeding, you need not feel like you are doing something indecent if you have to feed him in a public place. Wear a loose, comfortable shirt and a nursing bra, and bring a light blanket to cover up so you can nurse discretely.
Preparing special foods for baby while you're traveling can be a bit of a challenge, but with some good planning it's still entirely possible. Plan to stay in a hotel with a kitchen in your room, and pack any small appliance you might need (since most hotels with in-room kitchens only provide the basics).
Some parents recommend bringing along a food grinder to mash food into tiny, baby-size pieces at restaurants. This is rarely necessary unless baby will eat nothing else but pureed natural foods. Otherwise, a good knife can be used to cut baby's meal into bite-size pieces. If you're in a restaurant, you can also request pureed food; most chefs will be happy to accommodate your little eater.
Breastfeeding while traveling can also be somewhat challenging — although less of a challenge than pureed food. Look for family restrooms in large shopping areas, as most of these now include breastfeeding rooms with privacy curtains.
If you feel uncomfortable feeding your baby in the middle of a busy restaurant, you can go outside or even back to your car (if you're traveling with one). Or gently place a napkin over the baby's head to shield your breast area from exposure to the general public. You don't need to go into the restroom at a restaurant or gas station (which can often be unclean or uncomfortable) to breastfeed your baby.
Most important, if you are nursing baby while on vacation, stay well hydrated yourself. Travel can take a lot out of you — and, indirectly, the baby — if you don't get the proper food and rest.
Pack Things That Aren't Easy to Find
Finally, pack the things you aren't sure you can find while out on the road; however, you can leave some things to chance. For instance, if baby likes bananas for a snack, you can easily locate one at a deli or supermarket. There's no need to pack a week's worth at one time. Snack items that do pack well (and stay fresh longer) include crackers, string cheese, cereal (such as Cheerios), apples, pretzels, and rice cakes.