Traveling With A One-Year-Old: What to Bring

          What you need to bring depends, of course, on where you will go, what you will do, how long you will be gone and the season at the time of your travel among others.  But, here are the basics:

A.  Feeding

i. Milk

          For both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding parents, bring your respective feeding paraphernalia.  Zuri was purely breastfed (given breastmilk, never given formula milk) and when she was one year old, all I really needed was my nursing bra and a nursing cover.  Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, Zuri always fed straight from my breast and there was no need to pump milk into a bottle.

ii. Water and Juice

          Always have drinking water ready in your bag.  Put your child’s drinking water in an airtight training cup. It has to be airtight so that you can just put it in your bag and bring it everywhere with you without spilling. If your child still doesn’t drink from a training cup, bring a feeding bottle instead.

iii. Solid Food

          At one year old, most children are already fairly adjusted to eating.  I gave Zuri what I ate. For me, there is no need to bring the child’s own plate, bowl, etc. You should bring your child’s own baby spoon, though, if his gums are still sensitive.  Always bring ready-to-eat emergency food in your bag like baby biscuits or fruits.

B. Toiletries

          One-year-olds still have sensitive skin and should be kept away from harmful chemicals found in products that normally will not harm adults. Don’t let them use the toiletries provided in the hotel no matter how expensive or classy these products are.

          Bring your child’s own toiletries. You will need the following: shampoo and soap/body wash or top-to-toe wash, baby lotion, baby wipes, baby toothpaste, baby toothbrush, baby powder. Zuri had very sensitive skin so all her things had to be extra hypoallergenic. Her skin was also prone to drying so her pediatric derma advised us to give her a quick bath two times a day and to follow this up immediately with a special moisture-retaining lotion/cream. 

          Bring diapers. Diapers are bulky and will take up a lot of your luggage space.  However, it is best to use diapers that your child is already accustomed to when traveling so, for me, the luggage space the diapers would occupy is worth it. Of course, you can just buy diapers where you will be going if you can find the exact same type and brand.  If there is no other option, try another brand.

          The following are also staples when we travel: baby insect repellent lotion/oil/patch, baby sunblock and baby hand sanitizer.  Note, though, that it is best to wash hands with soap and clean water.

C. Clothes

          Your activities and the season will dictate what type of clothes to bring. For Zuri, I make sure we have the following:

i. sleepwear

          Zuri moves a lot while she sleeps and so, though I cover her with a blanket, she manages to get it off during the night. To prevent her from getting cold and sick, I make sure she wears long-sleeved overalls or long-sleeved tops and pajamas during the night.  Another option is to let the child wear a long-sleeved cardigan over short-sleeved or sleeveless top. Let the child wear socks, too.

ii. daywear

          For your child’s daywear, pick something that looks and feels nice.  Most one-year-olds have just started to learn how to walk and are very curious about their surroundings. They would love to roam around to test their newfound skill. Parents, on the other hand, love to capture moments by taking photographs. So, bring clothes that are comfortable to wear and look good in pictures.

          I recommend something long like pants or leggings for added protection against scratches due to falls, insect bites, direct sunlight or cold weather. Onesies are better than tees because tees tend to be pulled up, exposing the tummy, while onesies stay in place.

          While eating, use thick bibs that are big enough to cover the entire front of your child’s shirt/onesies. This will keep your child’s clothes neat and will lessen the number of times he will need to change. This will also protect your child’s nice clothes from stains. When Zuri runs out of extra big bibs, I use lampin (a big piece of cloth, usually of cotton material and white in color, used as a diaper).

          In your bag, always have a cardigan in case it gets cold and a pair of socks in case you stumble upon a playground that will require one. Bring your own socks, too, since adults are also required to wear such in most playgrounds. Bring a hat especially if you will be going outdoors, like to the beach or the zoo.

  iii. swimwear

          I always bring Zuri’s swimwear when we travel. Even if swimming isn’t part of your itinerary, it is best to be prepared. Zuri has different types of swimwear and all of them  are acceptable but my favorite is her rash guard.  A rash guard covers more skin and provides extra protection against direct sunlight. It looks really cute, too. Whether for swimming or just roaming around the park or zoo, don’t forget to apply sunblock. Choose the variety especially made for little ones.

D. Shoes

          When traveling, it is best to bring shoes that your one-year-old is already used to. Although it is tempting to buy a new pair of shoes just for the occasion, remember that one-year-olds are just beginners in walking and/or running, so they will need some time to adjust to their new shoes. To give you and your child one less hurdle to tackle, just stick to your child’s old walking shoes.  Bring also a pair of rubber sandals or aqua shoes for water play. Hotels don’t provide slippers for the young ones, so bring your child’s own.

E. First-Aid Kit

          The contents of your first-aid kit should be tailor-made to the needs of your child. It is best to consult your pediatrician before going away. The pediatrician can also advise you about certain precautions you should take like what shots/vaccines are necessary prior to your travel and the like.

          In Zuri’s case, her first-aid kit consists of the following: Paracetamol drops, Kool Fever, Cetirizine drops (Allerkid) because she is prone to allergies, Calmoseptine ointment for rashes, Mupirocin (Bactroban anti-bacterial ointment) for insect bites and scratches, Iodine solution (Betadine) and her vitamins.

F. Toys and Books

          Bring a few (less than 5). Choose toys and books that most engross your child. These can help keep your one-year-old entertained especially during plane rides or long car rides.

G. Camera

          If it’s just you and your child who will be going out together most of the time, it is advisable to bring a small, lightweight camera. Expect that you are going to have your hands full and a big, bulky camera will only add to the load you will have to carry all by yourself.

H. Umbrella and Fan

          Make sure the umbrella is small, lightweight and easily foldable with just a press of a button. Use a black-colored umbrella for maximum protection (black shields the most amount of UV rays). Always bring a fan in your bag.

I.  Umbrella Stroller

          Don’t make the same mistake I made on our trip to Bangkok. Do not neglect to bring your child’s umbrella stroller! Unlike your regular, heavy-duty-looking (bulky) stroller, umbrella strollers are lightweight (Zuri’s umbrella stroller weighs only 2 kilograms) and very easy to use.  I don’t recommend bringing a bulky stroller that is hard to lug along, especially if you are alone. Choose a reclining umbrella stroller so that your one-year-old can comfortably sleep on it anytime.

          Regarding baby carrier, it is up to you if you think using a baby carrier makes things easier for you.  I personally did not like using a baby carrier because it just added more weight and bulk. (We bought a Chicco baby carrier for Zuri and used it three times and never again.)

J. Lightweight Backpack

          Bring a backpack instead of your usual diaper bag. A backpack distributes weight evenly between the shoulders and doesn’t swing forward when you bend down. Use the lightest backpack you can find.

In summary, the ideal scenario when Zuri and I go out is this:

– I’m comfortably dressed (nursing bra underneath my shirt) and wearing socks and rubber shoes for maximum comfort and longer walking power.

– Zuri is comfortably dressed in nice, long clothes and familiar shoes, protected by an insect repellent patch and sunblock and seated on a trusty umbrella stroller.

– In my backpack are the following: nursing cover, extra clothes, extra socks, big bib, big lampin, 2 diapers, baby wipes, sunblock, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, Cetirizine drops, Calmoseptine, Mupirocin ointment, drinking water in an airtight training cup, baby biscuits, a toy or a book, foldable umbrella, fan, my wallet, my phone, my camera and our passports in a ziplock plastic bag if we are out of the country.  My wallet contains my identification cards, ATM card, credit card, money and the hotel keycard.

During a plane ride, my carry-on bag contains the following:

nursing cover

extra clothes

big bib

big lampin

2 diapers

baby wipes

a ziplock plastic bag no bigger than 1L in volume containing the following in separate 100 mL or less packaging: hand sanitizer, Cetirizine drops, Calmoseptine, Mupirocin ointment

100 mL drinking water in a 100 mL feeding bottle

baby biscuits

a toy or a book

my wallet (identification cards, ATM card, credit card, money)

my phone

my camera

our passports and plane ticket

Important: Before traveling in an airplane, check first the current regulations regarding carry-on baggage, especially regarding liquids and baggage size.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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