Jessica and Samantha are back again to help you wade through the ocean of baby gear to help you find the best, most reliable, safest and most convenient gear to make your life as a new mom as easy as possible. In Part I: Eat, Drink Stroll & Play, Part II: Nursery, Swings, Sleep & More and Part III: Fashion Essentials for the New Mom we helped you assemble the basic and most necessary gear in your new mom arsenal to help you start off life with your new baby. Now that you’ve mastered the first months with baby It’s time to take the baby show on the road. Now that we’ve tackled your travel basics in Part IV: Day-to-Day Travel With Baby, it’s time to really venture out and explore long-distance travel with a baby. In this installments of Lady and the Blog’s A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guide, we’re going to show you all of our top picks for baby gear that makes plane, train and automobile travel with baby as easy and fun as possible.
OUR FAVORITE CAR SEAT: UPPAbaby Mesa
A car seat is a critical piece of baby gear and picking the right one can be a nerve wracking experience for new parents. I must confess, the first car seat I picked out for my son was not a winner. While perfectly safe, he HATED it and there were more than a few car rides I spent with a hysterical little boy apologizing to our Uber driver. That’s why I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to test out the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat, not only does my son love the interior design of the Mesa so much more than his former car seat, but also I love all of the features that the Mesa offers that makes it so much more user friendly.
Some of the best features on the Mesa car seat are the little things to make your life easier. The base installs very easily into the car and has a special SMARTSecure System with tension indicators that change to green when the seat is correctly installed so you have visual confirmation that you have safely installed the carseat. The car seat has a one handed stroller release so it’s easy to pop out of the stroller. The no-rethred harness means that it’s incredibly easy to adjust the five-point harness on the Mesa as your child grows to make sure they are always comfortable and secure. This is especially convenient during the winter when bulky clothes mean baby may be a different size from day to day depending on what he is wearing. The canopy is easy to extend and retract without having to try to simultaneously push buttons and even the carry handle was given conveniently located buttons on the handle to make popping the handle up and down a snap.
Best of all, the Mesa car seat connects directly to the UPPAbaby VISTA and CRUZ strollers without any adapters making changing from your car seat to your toddler seat even easier. This also means that the Mesa car seat is reversible on the VISTA and CRUZ strollers so when you’re out and about you can pull baby up to the table to join you without the stroller bar being in the way!
The UPPAbaby Mesa car seat was awarded the NHTSA’s Five Star rating and the the first car seat to pass their proposed standards for side impact protection and it’s been recommended as the Best Infant Car Seat by the leading consumer testing publications so you can rest easy that you’re not only using a car seat that makes your life easier, you’re also keeping your baby as safe as possible when out on the road. The Mesa car seat is designed for babies 4-35 pounds and up to 32 inches long. Most infant car seats are only usable up to 30 inches so if you have a long baby like I do this means the Mesa gives you several more months before you have to switch to the much less portable convertible car seat. The Mesa includes an infant insert for babies up to 8 pounds which is easily removable when you no longer need it.
The UPPAbaby Mesa car seat comes in four fabulous colors (pictured above) and retails for $279.99.
Why We Love It: Comfortable for baby, incredibly safe, and lots of features to make your life easier, the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat is a must have for parents on the go who want to keep their little one safe and have a car seat that makes their lives easier too.
OUR FAVORITE STROLLER ACCESSORY: UPPAbaby Travel Bag
Pass nearly any mom, dad or nanny in the city and there’s a good chance they’re rolling in an UPPAbaby VISTA stroller. And for good reason, it’s an amazing stroller that adapts and changes so much with your growing kid and growing family you’ll think it was part Transformer. For city parents strollers are a necessity, so what happens when you take your stroller on the road? Have no fear, UPPAbaby has got you covered with their amazing Travel Bag made especially for the UPPAbaby VISTA stroller. The Travel Bag is made out of durable luggage grade nylon and includes exposed wheels for easy rolling. The Travel Bag completely covers your stroller, including the wheels, and can fit the stroller frame and toddler seat or stroller frame and bassinet depending on your travel needs. The Travel Bag has a padded bumper bar pocket and an external luggage tag window so it’s easy to identify your stroller at your destination. Best of all, the bag rolls up incredibly small for easy storage while not in use!
One of the best features of the UPPAbaby Travel Bag is their TravelSafe program that guarantees your VISTA during air travel. When you register your travel bag online UPPAbaby will cover any damaged caused to your stroller during air travel for the first two years when your stroller is under warranty.
The UPPAbaby Travel Bag for the VISTA retails for $119.99 and fits both the VISTA Legacy and the 2015 VISTA. Have the awesome UPPAbaby G-LUX stroller we reviewed yesterday? Have no fear, UPPAbaby has got you covered too with a G-LUXE travel bag that retails for $49.99.
Why We Love It: This Travel Bag is a must have to keep your precious stroller safe during air travel and the TravelSafe program ensures you can travel without being worried about damage. Plus the bag is small to store when not in use which is always a huge plus!
OUR FAVORITE CARRIER: Mamas and Papas Classic Carrier
An extra set of hands is something that every parent needs and the Mamas and Papas Classic Carrier gives you just that, a hands-free way to keep your baby close and safe that you’re both going to love. The Mamas and Papas Classic Carrier is a soft carrier that can be easily adjusted for front or rear facing position. It’s so easy to adjust that I will often leave the house on a walk with my son facing out so he can explore the world and when he gets tired and ready for a nap, I can quickly adjust and turn him facing in even while out in the park. The plastic connectors on the Mamas and Papas Classic Carrier make it the ideal carrier for travel. Because the carrier has no metal parts, you can go through the metal detector with the baby in the carrier which can be a lifesaver when juggling all of your gear and trying to get a car seat and stroller through the x-ray machine.
One of the best features of the Mamas and Papas Classic Carrier is that the front panel easily unclips from the shoulder harness. This means that you can unclip a sleeping baby out of the carrier and lay them down without disturbing them. Even better, this means that when traveling by air, you can easily unclip the baby for takeoff or landing, as required by the TSA, without disturbing the baby or trying to remove the whole carrier in a tiny airline seat. This also means that it is a snap to unclip the machine washable front panel and give it a good cleaning after a long day of travel or just a long day of drooling. The Mamas and Papas Classic carrier comes in black or red and retails for $79.99.
Why We Love It: Comfortable for baby and for mom or dad, this carrier is convenient for day-to-day adventures with the baby and a must have item for airline travel. Add to that machine washable and the easy unclip front panel and you have every parents dream travel accessory. A must have for parents on the go.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL CRIB: Angelcare journeyBee Portable Crib
A great portable crib solution is a necessity for travel with baby and the Angelcare journeyBee crib designed for parents, by parents is here to make your life traveling with baby a breeze. Weighing in at an impressively light 12 pounds, this crib could literally not be easier to assemble. My husband got the crib up and ready in 90 seconds on his first try and disassembly is just as easy and the storage bag and travel straps make transport easy too. Not only is the journeyBee crib incredibly lightweight, it’s also amazingly compact. The crib folds down so surprisingly thin that on car trips we can actually store the crib in between the car seat and passengers seat leaving lots of room in the rest of the car for all our other gear. But the journeyBee crib is about more than just convenience for mom and dad, the crib is also a snuggly place for your little one and includes a soft mattress pad, cozy fleece sheet, large mesh panels so baby can see out and you can see in and a handy iPhone pocket so playing lullabies is easy too.
Why We Love It: Cozy for baby, incredibly easy to pop up and down and compact and lightweight to transport, who could ask for more? This crib is a perfect item for anyone who needs an easy crib solution on-the-go.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL CRIB TOY: Fisher-Price Shooting Stars Soother
A gentle soother that won’t make Mom and Dad crazy, the Shooting Stars Soother is a must-have when traveling with baby. Lightweight and portable, it can be attached to most cribs, as well held in hand, or in the diaper bag, for trips away from home. The mesmerizing light show with glowing beads is gentle enough to relax anyone, as it offers a variety of soft lullabies and white noise. Parents can choose from different settings for the length of time it stays on, to the volume or music it plays, allowing baby to have a custom experience. The Fisher-Price Shooting Stars Soother retails for $40.
Why We Love It: The large tiger button gives the growing baby power to turn it on with a simple touch (within the parameters of your settings) whenever they’d like. The gentle music and light show that emanates from the Shooting Stars Soother is so pleasing to the ears and eyes, it’s certain to be a welcome addition to anyone within earshot, and will assist baby in feeling at home, no matter where they are.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL CRIB ACCESSORY: Wonder Bumpers
With all the buzz now about the risk of using a crib bumper, parents are now going bare on the crib more than ever before. The end result for active sleepers means an occasional bump to the noggin, and even though moms and dads are doing what they need to do to reduce the risk of SIDS, there’s a new way to have it all, and it includes thinking vertically. Wonder Bumpers creates a soft and stylish alternative to the traditional crib bumper that removes the risk of suffocation and entanglement, not to mention climbing attempts from within the crib, as well protects baby’s head and body, while maintaining air flow. Wonder Bumpers individually wraps and zippers on to the bars on the crib, giving not only a safer and sweeter experience. Worried about how the look might cramp your crib style? There are plenty of colors and designs to choose from, and we guarantee you’ll love the soft minky feel of Wonder Bumpers. Wonder Bumpers retail for $99.
Why We Love It: Wonder Bumpers understands that not every crib has the same number of bars, so they offer a variable number of bars, getting you just what you need. If you’re planning a trip to Maryland or soon Chicago, you might be interested to know that traditional crib bumpers are no longer legal. This is a safe and soft alternative, and you don’t have to worry about baby’s tender face and body against the hard bars.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL TOY: Tiny Love My Nature Pals Stroll Arch
Finding a toy that your child loves and that will consistently entertain them is a huge parenting win and a must have item for long distance travel with baby, that’s why I was so excited to discovery the Tiny Love My Nature Pals Stroll Arch. This toy has got it all: there are six different baby-activated toys for lots of fun and stimulation without input from the parents. The different toys including a mirror, spinning ball and crinkle animals keep baby entertained and delighted. As baby grows, they also learn to pull the handle and make the spinner spin which will not only entertain them, but also teaches them valuable developmental lessons about cause and effect. However, not only is this toy a ton of fun for babies, it’s incredibly convenient for parents, especially for travel. The arch can clip onto just about anything including car seats, strollers, high chairs and bouncers and the flexible arch bends forwards and backwards and up and down to put it in perfect reach of your baby no matter what you’ve clipped it on to. As an added bonus, the articulated joints mean the toy can fold up surprisingly small and fit into your diaper bag when not in use. This is one toy you won’t want to leave the house without and a must have item for keeping baby entertained during long distance travel without packing a lot of extra stuff.
The Tiny Love My Nature Pals Stroll Arch comes in three styles (pictured above) and is designed for babies 0-12 months was designed to stimulate cognition, senses, imagination and creativity. Plus babies LOVE it and never tire of playing with it. The Tiny Love My Nature Pals Stoll Arch retails for $22.99.
Why We Love It: This toy clips on to anything and is easy to fold down and toss in the diaper bag for play on the go. It’s not hard to see why this is a favorite toy for mom and for baby. A traveling must have!
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY TOY: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Laptop
A fun, compact, and customizable toy in one, the Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Laptop is perfect at home and on the road. Three levels meet baby we’re they’re at, whether exploring first words and sounds, simple directions, or imaginative fun and role-play. 30+ sing-along songs means baby is unlikely to ever get bored with their very own portable laptop, and the LED screen displays fun images and patterns that are reflective of the Fisher-Price brand image. The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Laptop retails for $20.
Why We Love It: Perfect for babies 6 months through 3 years, this interactive learning laptop is the perfect toy to keep baby entertained during travel, possibly leaving Mom and Dad some time to check on their grown up laptops too!
OUR FAVORITE PACIFIER ACCESSORY: Chewbeads Pacifier Clip
A great way to ensure that baby’s pacifier never gets lost or tossed on the floor again, Chewbeads has taken their signature 100% silicone beads, and applied it to an adorable and fun pacifier clip. Available in a variety of shapes and colors, from stars to butterflies, this handy little accessory contains no BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead, or metals. The Chewbeads Pacifier Clip retails for $15.
Why We Love It: The Chewbeads Pacifier Clip is easily cleaned with soapy water, so stains are of no concern. We especially love the glow-in-the-dark beads, so there’s really no way to lose baby’s beloved pacifier.
OUR FAVORITE ACCESSORY FOR MAKING BOTTLES ON-THE-GO: Mixie
For babies that are formula fed, this bottle is a must-have for traveling. The Mixie bottle is brilliantly designed to store water and powder formula separately, so that when you need it most, with the press of a button, you can have a fresh bottle prepared in seconds. Available in 4 ounces and 8 ounces, the Mixie meets baby’s bottle needs, and the collection includes varied slow silicone nipples as well, for all of baby’s stages. The Mixie retails for $20.
Why We Love It: We all know hunger has no patience, and this bottle is a lifesaver to parents, babies, and their travel neighbors. This bottle can get a fresh bottle ready in seconds with no effort required, and no need to run around seeking water, or scooping out formula. Simply fill the water and powder in advance, and when you need it most, just press the button, shake, and a fresh bottle is waiting.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL SNACK: barkTHINS
We’ve covered a lot of things to keep the baby happy during travel, but what about Mom and Dad? Enter barkTHINS an amazingly delicious new snack that will perk you up through even the most hectic of holiday travel. barkTHINS are thin slivers of chocolate packed with delicious snacks like pretzels, coconut or pumpkin seeds to created the most delicious snack that’s great for on-the-go. barkTHINS are made with Fair Trade chocolate, contain no GMO ingredients or preservatives and all of the flavors except for the ones that contain pretzels are gluten free. These little slivers of deliciousness are so good you won’t wont to put them down, but if you do they come in a convenient resealable pouch so you can toss them in your bag and not pull out a mess later.
barkTHINS come in a ton of great flavors: Dark Chocolate Almond, Dark Chocolate Pretzel, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed, Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel and Blueberry Quinoa.
Why We Love It: They call it a snacking chocolate but it’s so good you’ll want to make it a meal. Delicious and easy to take on the go, it’s a must have snack as a travel treat or to keep in the diaper bag when you need a little nosh.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL PLAYSPACE: Fisher-Price Woodland Friends SpaceSaver Jumparoo
The Fisher-Price Woodland Friends SpaceSaver Jumperoo is the most fun a baby can have in an activity center, as well the most portable flat-folding entertainer of its kind, making an ideal item for travel. Baby will have the best time with their rainbow light-up piano, wiggly-jiggly froggy teether to chew on, colorful ring bar, and clicking caterpillar. Baby will have a blast jumping up and down with their natural movements, and no doorway is required. Machine-washable padding means a fearless clean-up, so there’s nothing left but to have endless fun. The Fisher-Price Woodland Friends SpaceSaver Jumperoo retails for $70.
Why We Love It: Whether traveling near or far, or even just staying at home, we love that this great activity center that has it all can also fold flat and be stored away as needed. Another great item that grows with baby, there are 4-position height adjustments, so baby can enjoy for longer.
Want to know more about the best baby gear for a new mom? Check out A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guide, Part I: Eat, Drink, Stroll & Play, A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guide, Part II: Nursery, Swings, Sleep & More and A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guide, Part III: Fashion Essentials for the New Mom.
Samples provided for review. Opinions expressed solely ours.