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Babies love visiting their grandparents’ house for all the pure affection, cuddles, great food (and free rein) they offer. The challenge is traveling to their place with a baby who cries and poops a lot.
Mark my words. There will be times when you will inevitably forget packing a few baby essentials you noted down on your travel must-have checklist. It happens to the best of us.
Packing for a baby is a mammoth task. For the sake of your sanity and convenience, keep the following items at grandma’s house and thank me later:
A playard is basically an enclosed piece of furniture where babies can play safely. Also known as pack n plays, these things are foldable, making them an amazing option for travel.
Folded playards are lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space when stored away.
So if your grandchildren are going to visit you every weekend and your house isn’t baby-proofed, keeping a playard stashed in the closet would be a good idea.
Pack and plays are safe for outdoor use as well. Even when you are occupied with other things, you can rest assured that the baby is out of harm’s way.
Diapers and Diaper Bag
Babies need diapers, lots of them throughout the day. It’s better to keep a bunch of them on hand.
You see, in the past, I made the daring attempt of trying to calculate how many diapers my 1-year-old granddaughter would need for a 3-day staycation at my home.
Admittedly, I miscalculated and it didn’t bode well for me. Although their parents are most likely to bring enough diapers with them, sometimes, they can forget to pack them.
When buying diapers, make sure to pick a product that doesn’t contain any well-known diaper rash-causing chemical.
Organic, non-toxic, perfume-free disposable diapers are a good alternative to cloth diapers, which albeit safer, takes a while to fold the right way.
Along with diapers, you should also get an affordable diaper bag that can hold a multitude of baby essentials such as diaper rash cream, bibs, fresh clothes, and snacks.
If you ever plan to take your grandkid to a zoo or park, having a diaper bag with you will save you a lot of headache.
Diaper Pail and Changing Pad
Along with fresh diapers, you will also need a clean and safe spot to change the diapers at the grandparents’ home. While you can always use the bed or table, the mess it’s going to make is not worth the trouble.
Do yourself a favor and get a changing pad instead of buying a whole new changing table for just a short vacation. The former is inexpensive, therefore, makes financial sense if your grandkids are only going to stay at grandma’s place occasionally.
Also, don’t forget to add a diaper pail to your cart while you are at it. A large pail can hold a week’s or 10 days’ worth of diapers. For grandparents’ house, in particular, I’d suggest buying a diaper pail with a foot pedal for hands-free use.
If your mother-in-law is going to babysit your kids 5 days a week, you need to arrange a safe place for the baby to sleep in the grandma’s house.
Instead of spending too much on a standard crib that they will outgrow pretty quickly, opt for a portable crib for grandparents’ house.
These sturdy and yet lightweight cribs can be folded down in a snap and tucked under the bed or away in a closet. It’s a safe, efficient, and affordable option if the grandma’s house is short on space.
Wi-Fi Baby Monitor
Baby monitors are a must-have baby essential, no matter where your baby is going to crash at.
Analog baby monitors have a decent audio quality but the lack of data encryption in this day and age makes it kind of unsafe. Most Wi-Fi monitors use three types of data encryption on routers to minimize the risk of hacking.
Lollipop Baby Monitor
Moreover, a Wi-Fi baby monitor can do a lot more than just watching and hearing your baby. It allows you to track the baby’s sleep and grant access to the recorded video to the parents and pediatrician if needed.
There are several other useful features on digital infant monitors such as talk-back, motion sensors, a built-in nightlight, push notification, lullaby player, and so on.
In short, a baby monitor is a definite must-have baby gear to keep in grandma’s house, if the baby is going to stay there for a couple of days every week.
Although strollers and prams can be checked for free at the airports, checking them in is still a hassle. It will be a tad easier to travel with a baby (and a bag full of baby essentials) if there’s one less heavy-duty thing to carry.
When choosing a stroller for grandparents’ house, eye for a model that offers a quick folding and unfolding system. A lot of old people have arthritis issues.
Trailing and tossing a bulky stroller in the car trunk can be quite difficult for them. So keep the weight of the stroller in mind as well when browsing through your options.
Although grandma or grandpa can always bathe the baby in their own bathtub, bending over the tub can be quite taxing on their back and knees. A lot of senior citizens struggle with bad back and knees.
To make their lives easier, invest in a tall infant bathtub. It’s safe and convenient for both the baby and the grandparent caregiver.
Models like this one can easily fit over a large single or dual sink. These tubs usually come with newborn support that offers adequate inclination for an infant.
They can also grow with the baby and double up as a spacious toddler tub when the time comes. And when they outgrow it, you can use the platform as a convenient step stool.
It’s smart to keep an extra baby bottle handy as a backup at grandma’s home. When shopping for a feeding bottle, make sure the model you’re eyeing for naturally-shaped, slow-flow nipples. Made of silicone, these nipples closely mimic the natural flow of breastmilk.
Baby bottle nipples like these are specially designed to reduce colic and spit-up issues. Also, for easy cleanup, choose a dishwasher-safe bottle. If there’s no dishwasher or manual washing is more preferred, look for a bottle featuring a wide neck.
Unbreakable Baby Plates
Do you know what makes grandmas really grumpy? Broken dinner plates, especially if they are expensive china which she saves for special occasions.
It’s not unusual for a baby to toss his plate in the air just for fun. Broken plates create a big mess. To avoid all that trouble, grab a couple of unbreakable, easy-to-wash baby plates and keep those at the grandparents’ house.
There are lots of designs to choose from, some of them look just like regular plates, so they won’t clash with your mother-in-law’s sense of style.
Portable High Chair or Booster Seat
A portable high chair will allow your grandchildren to join the entire family at the dinner table at home or a restaurant.
Look for a space-saving high chair that can be easily folded down single-handedly when not in use. Factor in the height and weight of the baby when weighing your options.
Kids who can sit up straight without any assistance should sit on a booster seat instead of a high chair. However, that transition doesn’t take place until they are 18-24 months old. For kids up to 2 years, a high chair is more preferred for feeding.
It doesn’t matter whether you are traveling to nana’s house by car or flight. What matters is that the lesser things you have to carry with you, the better.
Having a bunch of unwieldy, heavy-duty items like a stroller or crib at grandma’s home is the only logical thing to do if you are traveling by road and your car doesn’t have enough space for these items.
About the smaller things, although you can carry them easily, keeping an extra pair of those things at granny’s home as backup won’t hurt.