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Aahh summer. It is full of family reunions and various trips/vacations. Three months of crazy fun (and sometimes not-so-fun). Remember back before you had kids and you only had to pack for yourself? Remember when you could fit all you needed in a little duffel bag?
Well, packing with a baby involved requires a lot of thought, planning, and space. It actually does get better with the older children, but for a baby, you basically need almost as much space for a one night trip as a one week trip!
How do you pack the right amount of stuff? You don’t want to over pack, but you don’t want to under pack, either.
Packing Tip #1. My number on packing tip, whether you are packing for yourself or a child, is to close your eyes and walk yourself through your day. What do you use? Write those things down. Here is an example for me doing that with McKenna.
I would close my eyes because I am visual and it blocks out distractions. Then I think through her entire average day. The dialog would be similar to this:
“Okay, I go in her room and get her up from bed. I check her diaper and change her if needed. I need a diaper, wipes, and diaper ointment.” Pause to write those things on my packing list. “I might need some plastic bags to put dirty diapers in.” Write it down. “Then we go to breakfast. She sits in her highchair. Where is she going to sit to eat while we are there?” Write down anything needed. “She drinks from her sippy cup. I will probably want a bib. I will need spoons and bowls. What food do I need to pack for breakfast?” Write these things down. Continue for your entire day. Don’t forget to think through sleeping and things like pillows, beds, and special sleeping friends.
Packing Tip #2 is to think through your worst case scenarios. Your baby isn’t sick right now, but she could get sick, right? I always like to pack along Tylenol, maybe a bulb syringe, etc. Now, for some vacations, you might find it easier to purchase those items if needed rather than pack it all there and back. That is for you to decide based on your preferences, familiarity with the area, and easiness to reach the store.
For Brayden’s first Thanksgiving, we were in Wyoming. He and I both got colds. I couldn’t take what my grandmother had on hand because of nursing, and we had nothing for Brayden, so my husband took off on Thanksgiving day to find us medicine. Well, in many parts of the United States, this would be an easy task. But in Wyoming, they still believe in shutting down the stores–even gas stations–so family can be together. Fabulous, right? Absolutely. But my husband ended up driving 45 miles before he found the lone gas station open that day. Not the picture perfect holiday you would hope for. So think through these things and be prepared as needed.
Packing tip #3 is to pack as you get ready the day you leave. The day I leave to go somewhere, I pack as I get ready so I don’t forget stuff. So let’s take the example of getting ready. I wash my face and lotion up, then put that in my travel bag. I get dressed, then pack enough under garments and clothes for the trip and put them in my suitcase. I do my make-up, then put it in my travel bag. I do the same for the children.
Packing tip #4 is to envision your trip and pack accordingly. You have envisioned what you use in a day at home, now you need to envision what you will need on a your trip. What will you be doing? Will you be swimming? If so, envision getting your children and yourself ready. What will you need? What will you want while you swim? What will you need when you are done swimming? Remember to pack accordingly for weather changes. If you are like us and go camping in the Rockies, you will need summer clothes for the day and winter clothes for the night.
Packing tip #5 is to pack extras. There is an excellent chance you will need extra clothes for your kids. I usually pack enough pairs of underwear for the children for each day, plus 1-3 extras. Same for socks, shirts, shorts, etc. Do keep in mind that often, you can have them wear things more than once in a pinch, so you don’t need to bring the entire closet. But kids can be messy so I think at least one extra of things is a good idea.
Packing tip #6 is to pack some books and toys or activities. Even when we go camping, I bring McKenna’s little tote of toys. It comes in handy randomly throughout each day. I also bring a little Melissa & Doug Deluxe Farm in a Box Puzzle kit that Kaitlyn tends to play with like crazy, and all the kids like books. Just bring things that can keep your children busy when needed. And don’t forget to pack for the drive or flight there!
Wow, I am tired just thinking about all of this. Packing for a family is a big job.
If you have any packing tips, please share!
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