Baby's first outing: It's a milestone that you don't hear much about because it's more of a feat for the parents to achieve than their infants.
It doesn't matter if you take your baby to the park for an afternoon, to the beach for a week, or clear across the country. You'll need to be ready to feed them. Little ones eat every 2 to 4 hours. You can breastfeed anywhere, but if you will be using a bottle (either for breast milk or formula), you'll need a well-stocked cooler bag.
Luckily, bottle-feeding in a new place doesn't have different rules. Once you've got the hang of it, you can do it nearly anywhere.
“Really, you just need clean water, the powder, and the bottles and nipples,” says David L. Hill, MD, a pediatrician in Wilmington, NC. “Just do what you would do at home.”
Pumped and Bottled
When you travel with breast milk, it needs to be chilled until you serve it.
“There are no clear-cut rules, other than ensure that the baby is well-fed and that any expressed breast milk is safely stored in clean (not sterile) containers and at the right temperature,” says Amy Spangler, RN, author of Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide.
When you travel for any length of time, bring your breast pump to keep up your milk supply. If you stay somewhere without a refrigerator, you'll have to pump for each meal.
“You won't be able to keep breast milk [for] more than a day unless you have a fridge/freezer at your destination,” says pediatrician Ari Brown, MD, author of Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Baby's First Year. “The best thing is to bring [your] pump and have Mom pump for the trip.”
If your baby likes a warm meal, you can heat it up while on the road.
“Run the bottle under hot tap water or immerse into a bowl filled with hot water,” Brown says.
If you use formula, powdered types are simple to measure and mix when you're on the go.
“I always suggest making the minimum -- 1 to 2 ounces at a time -- so you don't waste,” says Sarah B. Krieger, RDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You can make 1 to 2 ounces more as you need it.”
Combine powder with any clean water. Within the U.S., you can rely on most tap water or use bottled water. Outside the U.S., bottled water is best in some countries, if running water isn't from a clean source. (Boiling is another option, but it may be hard to do when you're traveling.)
If you don't want to measure and mix formula on your outing, buy ready-to-use, single-serve bottles of formula.
At the Airport
If you will fly for your trip, you may want to bring a little more baby formula or breast milk than you need in case there are delays, plus ice packs to keep it cool. Just tell the airport screening officer that you have it.
“Going through security, it's just like medication,” Krieger says. “Don't be nervous [that it will be taken away], especially if the infant is with you.”
In a Hotel
When you go away for a few days, take enough bottles to feed your baby throughout the day, then wash them in your sink in the evening. Use dish soap, hot water, and a bottle brush (which you may want to bring with you).
If your room has a refrigerator, use it to store breast milk and refreeze ice packs.
“Don't put anything in the door,” Krieger says. “Put it in the back, the colder part of the fridge.”
When you pack your cooler bag in the morning, toss in hand sanitizer, Krieger says, in case you won't be near a sink to wash your hands when you have to prepare your next bottle.
It really is that simple. So go ahead -- get out there!