Packing for your baby before vacation can be overwhelming! I have put together a list of the best organic and non-toxic baby travel and vacation essentials to make your vacation super simple and fun!
I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert when it comes to road trips with young babies. Over the last three years, we have taken nine road trips from our home in New Jersey down to South Florida (23 hours worth of driving…not including breaks) and then back again. This is a list of the best non-toxic baby travel essentials and organic baby vacation essentials that I pack for every trip. I also made a free travel checklist printable for you so you can make sure you have everything you need for your vacation.
I think this list works well for any time of year and just about any vacation location. But as a full disclaimer: This is just a generalized list your baby may have different needs depending on where you are going and how far you are traveling for.
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Organic Must-Haves for a Road Trip With Baby
Non-Toxic Car Seat
The single most important thing that you need for a long road trip (or even a short road trip around town) in a Non-Toxic car seat. A non-toxic infant car seat is one that is free from flame retardants, PVC, lead, VOCs or any other toxic substances present in any standard car seat. In 2017 right before my fourth baby was born UPPA Baby released their Mesa car seat in Henry. A completely flame retardant free car seat. UPPA Baby also now has a version, Jordan, which is a charcoal color, as opposed to the blue Henry. These car seats are naturally flame resistant through the use of wool. Per UPPABaby.com “Merino wool’s natural flame resistance makes it a powerhouse. With its high-grade Merino wool blend bonded to foam, the HENRY and JORDAN MESAs are the first car seats to meet federal flammability standards without any fire retardant chemicals at all — making them naturally flame resistant.”
This is the only organic baby car seat that I use and would recommend to anyone with a baby or expecting a baby. You can buy it here.
Organic and Wood Car Seat Toys
The easiest toys to travel with are the ones that attach directly to the car seat handle. Anytime you don’t have to dig in your diaper bag for something is a big win! I have these attached to my baby’s car seat. Sometimes it is enough for them to just kind of bounce in front of your infant’s face. Other times, especially for an older baby, it is better to unclip them and let your baby play with them for a little while before re-attaching them back to the car seat. I also pack a small wooden rattle because the noise tends to be calming and can relax a baby that won’t stop crying (an absolute nightmare on a long road trip-as you can imagine).
Portable/Manual Breast Pump
If you are a breastfeeding mama I strongly suggest bringing along a breast pump whether you normally pump at home or not. It is very helpful to be able to pump and then feed your baby from a bottle while traveling, instead of having to stop every 2-3 hours to nurse. I will admit that I have avoided breast pumps for my entire breastfeeding “career” because I never liked the idea of my breast milk (aka liquid gold) coming in contact with a bunch of toxic chemicals and plastics only to have my infant drinking in those chemicals with the milk. Thankfully, Haakaa makes a really cute all silicone manual pump that I just love and bring with me on all of my road trips now.
Whether you are going to be pumping and then feeding or formula feeding make sure you don’t forget your bottles. I love these bottles from Lifefactory. These are all glass bottles made in France and they have a silicone cover that comes in a variety of colors. If you prefer stainless steel I also use these ones from PuraKiki that are completely plastic-free!
My best tip for traveling is to have as much prepared ahead of time as possible. If you formula feed your baby have a few bottles prepared ahead of time. If you are nursing but you are going to be pumping during your trip and feeding out of bottles or pumping ahead of time and then feeding from bottles you are going to need a bottle cooler. This way you can keep the contents of the bottle cold for the duration of the road trip. This bottle cooler is completely safe and non-toxic and comes in very cute patterns. It also doesn’t require the use of ice packs which makes life so much easier.
Organic Baby Food/Organic Snacks
Obviously this only pertains to babies who are at an age to be eating solids, but the best travel snacks and food for your baby is anything that is completely portable and where you can keep any kind of a mess as contained as possible. While I usually prefer more of a baby-led weaning diet, it is not easy to follow in the car or on vacation. This baby food from Serenity Kids has been my go-to food for my youngest (and even my older boys enjoy snacking on them from time to time). He loves all the flavors and I feel confident that he is getting all the extra nutrition that he needs. Just so you know how amazing this family-owned company is, all of their products come unsweetened and unsalted and even better Serenity Kids states that their baby food is “mindfully made to mimic the macro-nutrients of breast milk”. I don’t think you could find better pre-packaged baby food if you tried!
Organic Burping Cloths
I would bring as many burping cloths as you can because there is nothing worse then a baby spitting up and not having any way to wipe it up. I also use them as washcloths when bathing my babies throughout our vacation.
Non-Toxic Disposable Diapers and Wipes
The convenience of using disposable diapering products while traveling is well worth it. I have always used disposable diapers for my boys and these are the best non-toxic diapers that I can find. They have a perfect fit and they don’t leak at all. So while I am ashamed to admit that I have never gotten the hang of cloth diapers, I do use reusable cloth wipes when I am home. If you want to learn how to make your own homemade reusable baby wipes, I have a post about it here. Unfortunately, I can’t find any way to replicate that while driving on a road trip and while away on vacation. And there is no way I will be collecting and storing a bunch of dirty cloth wipes to clean when I get home…yuck! These are the wipes that I rely on while traveling. They are also perfect for wiping sticky hands and faces and the various messes that occur.
Organic Travel Changing Pad
Speaking of diapering products an organic travel changing pad is a really good item to have. Trust me when I say it is a necessity. Where you choose to change your baby on a long road trip is up to you. Whether it is on the seat next to you (if you are lucky enough to have the space), in the trunk (also if you are lucky enough to have the space), on one of those pull-down changing tables in public restrooms, or on your lap (like I do) having a layer between your baby and their changing surface is always a good idea. I actually just found this organic version right before my last trip. While it is not waterproof, it is washable and made from certified organic cotton. This organic changing pad is so stinking cute and believe it or not I actually (kinda) enjoy diaper changes since I could pull this out and show it off.
Regardless of whether you are going on vacation in the warm weather or the cold weather you are going to need plenty of blankets. My favorite is these organic muslin swaddling blankets. They are lightweight, pretty and a great size! While they are perfect for swaddling your baby at night (try my super simple swaddling technique!), they also make the perfect nursing cover, blanket for sleeping in a cooler car, a pillow for traveling when all rolled up and about a million other uses!
Organic Baby Vacation Essentials
Obviously all the items listed above are important for the actual vacation as well. But here are a few other things to make the actual vacation part of your vacation easy and more enjoyable.
Of course, a stroller is a must on vacation. Little legs tend to get tired easily. Plus it is so much easier to keep track of where everyone is when you have one (or more) children in a stroller. Besides if you don’t bring your stroller where do you put all of the extra stuff that doesn’t fit into the diaper bag. 😉 I highly recommend this double stroller (if you have a lot of little ones-like me) or this single umbrella stroller if you only need space for one.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like dealing with a stroller and it is just easier to carry your baby around in a baby carrier. I think I usually use my baby carrier more than my stroller just because it is quicker and it always keeps my little man quiet (after all babies just love to be close to their parents). I have this carrier and can’t say enough good things about it. It is very comfortable for me and for my baby and it never gives me backaches. I have also heard that this one is really good, but I have never had any need to try a different one.
A travel crib is, of course, a must for a vacation-after all your baby needs a safe place to sleep at night and for naps and possibly for playtime. I avoid playpens and pack and play type things because they can contain lead, PVC, phthalates, flame retardants, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and VOCs. I have the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib that my two year old still sleeps in and I also have the Lotus Crib/Bassinet from Guava Family that my youngest sleeps in. I love both and recommend both as safe non-toxic options. If your baby is under 6 months old I would give a slight edge to the Lotus just because it has a bassinet option so your little one will be up higher and off the ground. Also, don’t forget a sheet. I just use a standard crib sheet and just make sure to wrap it extra tight, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that both companies sell sheets made specifically for their mattresses.
Organic Baby Clothes
This probably goes without saying but lots and lots of baby clothes. If you have a washing machine and dryer where you are staying then you can probably get away with fewer outfits, but if not I seriously recommend at least 2 outfits per day. Also, you want to be sure to bring some light layers and at least one heavier layer even if it is just a light sweatshirt. You never know when there will be a weather change and you need something warmer or cooler for baby to wear. If you are looking for some affordable organic baby clothes you can read my post about how to get Hanna Andersson clothes on a budget, there are lots of really helpful tips in it!
Some Final Baby Travel Tips
- As I mentioned before having as much prepared as possible before your actual trip makes life so much easier when traveling. Especially in regards to food. It is so easy to spill and make a mess when in a smaller cramped space and while a car is bouncing around. So if possible have as much pre-made as you can.
- Keep everything that you are going to need within reach. Make sure your diaper bag or tote bag where all your organic travel essentials are going to be kept is up in the front part of the car with you-preferably right by your feet. If it is buried in the trunk under travel cribs and strollers you may not be able to get to anything during your trip and trust me when I say that is a real nightmare!
- Whenever you take any kind of breaks whether they are eating breaks or potty breaks be sure to take your baby out of their car seat even if it is just for 5 minutes. Car seat manufacturers recommend that babies spend no more than 2 hours at a time in a car seat during a 24 hour period. Obviously, while you are traveling your baby will most likely be in their car seat for a lot longer, but any breaks outside of their car seat will be beneficial.
Hopefully, this list of organic baby items for travel and for vacation helps to make your packing easier and less stressful. It should help you to choose the best non-toxic items possible for your infant.