Q&A: what to bring to vacation with a baby

Shandra writes:

"My husband and I have a 6 month old, and we're going to a (winter climate) resort in March for 5 days. They'll provide a crib, which I think will be okay even though he sleeps in a co-sleeper, because we can push it up against the bed.  I breastfeed, but he's started some solids - whole grain cereals so far, but by then I expect some fruits and veggies in as well.

My questions are, what should I know about travelling with a baby? Is there anything we can do to prepare? What gear is indispensible and what can we leave behind? We have a Honda Civic so the space question is a big deal. We haven't gone anywhere since having our boy."

I read somewhere that there are two kind of New York City mothers--those who pack everything they could possibly need, and those who pack almost nothing, knowing they can buy whatever they need on the way. I'm the second type, so I tend to pack only the bare essentials.

Since you're able to drive to your vacation destination, I'm assuming you're staying in an area that's going to have the same sorts of products you usually use at home available to you. (Did that make sense? All I meant was that you probably won't have to hunt down things in a foreign language.)

Your big areas are, as always, sleep and food. It sounds like you've got the sleeping thing covered, and the feeding thing should be fine as well. If you use jarred food, just make sure to bring enough along. If you do mostly mushed table food, you're still set.

The rest is all gravy. Depending on what you'll be doing you'll probably want to have a sling or other carrier for him. You may or may not need a stroller, depending on where you'll be walking (and if you'll be walking). If you'll be doing hiking or cross-country skiing or anything rugged like that you may want to borrow or buy a good backpack to put him in.

Are you going with just the three of you, or will you be with other people? If you'll be with others, you'll probably play a lot of Pass The Baby, so you'll hardly have to pack anything to entertain him. If not, you may want to bring the smallest toys that entertain him the most. In other words, no to the exersaucer, but yes to the Skwish. I'd also leave behind the swing or bouncy seat. If he's not used to tummy time, now's as good a time as any to let him get some, because a blanket's easier to pack than a seat is.

If you have a portable high chair (like the kind that hooks to a table) you could bring it, but I'm guessing at a family resort they'll have high chairs. You can stick your diaper bag behind him in the high chair to stabilize him.

Bibs, wipes, diapers, baby soap, clothes, nail clippers(!), baby Tylenol, teething tablets, butt cream, lovey. If he's crawling, bring along a pack of outlet protectors. Toss a roll of duct tape in your bag just in case.

If it was summer I'd mention sunblock, and if you were going on a plane I'd remind you to bring the carseat, but you can't forget that on a car trip anyway.

I can't think of anything else that you couldn't easily get on the road. Someone will remind us if I have.

IME, if you can maintain the same bedtimes and naptimes (within reason), things should go really smoothly, because this is the perfect age to travel with a baby. Have a great trip!