Packing for a Trip with Two Babies.

*Image above via Clek, the carseat I’d definitely buy if we owned a car and/or traveled by car more frequently. Instead, we use this inexpensive and lightweight but very well-reviewed and extremely safe travel carseat for mini. More on that later. But I did buy mini those trendy little flower sunglasses ($11!), seen on the chic pea above.

Also — HAPPY FOURTH!!!!

Now, onto the meat:

Packing for our trip to the Hamptons was lot more complicated than preparing for trips past. And though I wish my bag looked like this, the reality is that I have spent the majority of last week getting organized for a beach trip with two babies in tow. I’ve had a few readers ask for my thoughts on approaching this (I’m flattered!) — so here are some of my musings and purchases.

My first tip is to buy a little notebook (I used one of these) and dedicate it entirely to trip planning and logistics. This was easily the best thing I did. I used a few pages to jot down a checklist of all the gear we needed to bring (…a lot…) and continued to add items whenever they’d occur to me. I used the next page to create an ongoing list of to dos — things as small as “iron mini’s fourth of july outfit” and “decant shampoo/conditioner into travel size containers.” This was principally useful in giving me peace of mind that nothing would slip through the cracks, as I tend to think of little details like what bow mini should wear or whether we’ll have enough bottles while chained to the pump or trying to fall asleep at night. I also use the notebook to jot down activities I’d like to undertake — like berry picking! And catching fireflies! And, oh, all the beautiful and simple pastimes of summer in the sticks. (Though the Hamptons is hardly “the sticks.” But it’s certainly more sticks-like than Manhattan.)

Second, a big caveat: usually, I try to pack as light as possible and buy whatever we need when we arrive at the destination — especially bulky things like diapers, wipes, formula, and even on occasion inexpensive items like bottles and toddler plates and toddler toothpaste and so forth. But this time, since we are driving (I rented the LARGEST SUV ON THE LOT — a Chevy Suburban) and therefore have more space than we would if we were checking bags, and since I am in the midst of breastfeeding every 2-3 hours and therefore want to avoid having to get into town and immediately leave to run errands to stock our house, I attempted to buy everything we could possibly want or need before leaving. Hence:

+I started a special Amazon list for gear and toys and the like and added items to it over the course of a few days, as they occurred to me — things as specific as bug spray and sunscreen — and then placed a big order all at once.

+I placed a large order for pantry staples and snacks from Instacart and placed them in Hinza totes which would permit easy access in the car, with the thought that the Hinzas could also be repurposed as PERFECT beach/pool bags to stow snacks, toys, etc. (More great beach bags here.)

+I also ordered a case of wine from Astor Wines (my favorite place in the city — a great online shopping experience and their “Staff Picks” are generally flawless) and left it right by our door so we would be all set for #roseallday upon arrival. (Well, for Mr. Magpie. I’ll be sipping my glass or two because…#breastfeeding.)

+I ordered diapers and wipes for both children (including swim diapers for mini) — always bring/buy more than enough. My nightmare is getting somewhere and realizing I don’t have enough diapers or having to run out to the store two or three times to re-stock said diapers. Just buy more than you think you could possibly use. The same goes for children’s clothing. Trust me: the one time you try to go light, you’ll go through three changes of clothing in an afternoon.

+We decided to buy a bunch of backyard toys and activities for mini as we’d like to keep her busy busy busy so we can enjoy some vacation time ourselves. The house we’ve rented has a large backyard and pool and so, a few items we found for her:

A KITE

BUBBLE WANDS AND BUBBLE GLOVES

T-BALL SET (MINI LOVES WATCHING BASEBALL WITH MR. MAGPIE AND HAS ASKED IF SHE CAN PLAY MULTIPLE TIMES — HOW SWEET?!)

TOSS & GRIP SET

DECORATE-YOUR-OWN WOODEN PLANE

POOL FLOAT

SMALL KICKBALL

MINI’S MONOGRAMMED PUDDLE JUMPER (GOES OVER THIS)

BEACH TOYS FOR BEACH DAYS

A BABY BEACH TENT FOR MICRO

+I also stocked up on little activities for indoors / car / restaurants for mini — a few puffy sticker sets, stickers/coloring books and crayons (which I keep in a little travel bag), Sesame Street figurines, this magnet set (also packed this one, which she already owned and loved). I put all of these into her own backpack that we can tote with us whenever we’re out / in the car.

+Though I’ve raved in the past about these packing cubes (and still stand by their utility and quality — they compress clothes and make finding things very easy), I went out on a limb and ordered two sets of these (in the blue for micro and the pink for mini) to help with sorting their gear and clothing. You can’t beat the price (less than half the price of my EZ Packing Cubes!), and they get such strong reviews! I also liked the various shapes and sizes they came in. I’ll be using them to keep their belongings ordered in their monogrammed Lands End tote bags. I have one for each of my children in the XL size and they are INCREDIBLE. Very durable, machine-washable, and beautifully oversized. I also like the pocket that lines the interior to help with organization. Personally, I like the fact that they are open top specifically for taking car trips — it means I can reach around in there to find whatever I need (bib, diaper, change of clothing, toys) without having to unzip anything or maneuver around in the car too much.

+In terms of gear, we brought:

THE COSCO SCENERA TRAVEL CARSEAT FOR MINI

THE NUNA PIPA CARSEAT FOR MICRO

THE BABYZEN YOYO TRAVEL STROLLER*

THE YOYO ADAPTERS FOR THE NUNA PIPA CARSEAT

THE BABY BJORN MINI CARRIER

THE NUNA TRAVEL CRIB**

THE BRICA FOLD N’ GO BASSINET

THE BOPPY LOUNGER

INFANT OPTICS MONITOR AND ADD-ON CAMERA

PUJ TRAVEL TUB FOR MICRO

*We decided not to bring two strollers / our full-feature Bugaboo stroller, which has the little kickstand attachment for mini. This may be risky but our thought is that we can carry micro in his Baby Bjorn carrier and push mini in the stroller. Or, if mini wants to walk, we can just put micro in the Nuna carseat and snap it into the Yoyo base. There may be a time where we wish we’d brought two strollers or owned a double stroller, but we’re taking that risk to keep things lighter.

**Our AirBnB has a crib on the premises that we plan to use for mini, as we think that she might have outgrown the Nuna travel crib at this point. And thank God for that, as our other option would be to have her sleep in a twin bed there and I just don’t think we’re ready to introduce that to the mix. Micro will sleep in the Nuna travel crib. We are also bringing the tiny Brica fold n’ go bassinet because it’s an easy place to put baby down if we’re all hanging out in the backyard or family room. It’s very lightweight and folds small enough to pack into a large suitcase. I’ve used it on past trips for overnight sleeping, too, but I’ll feel more comfortable keeping micro in the Nuna, though, as it’s more secure from prying toddler hands and the two dogs we’ll have with us!

Whew. That is a lot of gear. Will keep you posted on what we ended up loving / not loving about all of this. We could probably pack lighter if need be but this seemed to cover all of the bases.

P.S. More notes on the best baby travel gear.

P.P.S. Eight things I never travel without.

P.P.P.S. Affirmations.

4 Comments

  1. I hope you had a lovely time in the Hamptons! I love that Melissa & Doug crab toss set … so cute! I’m looking for some gift inspiration for my bestie’s 2.5-year-old and this seems PERFECT. Love it! xx

    1. Ooh, perfect! She thought they were so fun, and the “mitts” are super “sticky” so it makes even uncoordinated toddlers capable of catching the ball.

      xx

  2. Some questions about the Yoyo–we are considering adding it to our collection (we also have a Bugaboo, the Bugaboo Fox). Do you have to remove the seat of the Yoyo to clip on the Pipa? Looking for a travel versatile stroller but on some flights we have bought him his own seat and need to bring the Pipa on board…so want to be sure it can clip into our stroller without having to also lug another thing (the seat) around? Or if you do have to take the seat fabric off, is it big/bulky?

    Does (or did) Mini nap well in the yoyo? On trips to urban areas (i.e. to Rome) we might not be at the hotel during his nap time, so having something he can comfortably nap well in would be great! Thank you in advance–I overthink all baby gear and what to bring on each trip!!!

    1. Hi Kate! You can clip the Nuna Pipa into the Yoyo with the adapters without removing the seat. I’m not sure if the instructions make it seem otherwise, but we definitely are able to snap the carseat into the stroller without removing anything. (Otherwise, I’d literally never use it. What would be the point?) It’s the perfect solution for airport travel IMHO.

      For napping — mini has never really been a stroller napper, but she did take a number of naps in it while on vacation last summer. You can actually almost fully recline the seat of the Yoyo, which is crazy for an umbrella-style stroller! I’d say it’s very friendly for stroller naps. The one downside is that the sunshade does not pull down very far, so if your child is sensitive to light, you might need to jury-rig something, i.e., put a swaddle over the top or whatever.

      I overthink all baby gear too, so happy to answer these questions!

      xxx

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