“Have baby, will travel” is the mantra of many new parents these days. Gone are the days of hibernating at home with infants thanks to all of the ways the world is accessible to parents who didn’t trade in wanderlust for diapers. Handy, lightweight carriers let us strap on our little ones and go.
Babies make their way to music festivals and craft fairs, mountain hikes, and family reunions. New moms and dads can still engage in favorite hobbies and pastimes, including travel! While it’s true your adventures maybe a little closer to home in the early years, traveling with babies is possible and less stressful than you think!
Getting out and about, even if it’s just a quick beach getaway a few hours from home, reminds parents that they still have an identity beyond changing diapers and washing bottles. Plus, when you don’t want to miss a milestone event like a high school reunion or a dear friend’s wedding, you don’t have to send your regrets just because you have a little one.
The right gear for traveling with an infant can make all the difference. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or working on a gift registry, you should add a portable baby bed to your list.
“Why, when I was just a tiny little thing, your great grandparents put me to bed on a blanket in a dresser drawer! They dipped my pacifier in bourbon and let me drink coffee when I was seven. And I turned out just fine!”
Every family has these stories, usually spun by an eccentric great aunt who embellishes everything. Clearly, we have evolved when it comes to all things childcare and all baby products —from formula to furniture— are held to higher safety standards now. We have every gadget imaginable to meet the needs of our offspring, from bottle warmers to teething rings, car seats to high-tech high chairs. Before long, these gadgets will probably feed our babies automatically!
Portable baby beds come in a wide variety of designs with choices to suit every budget and every style. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of choosing one and also recommend some of our favorites.
When it comes to choosing the travel bed you will use for weekend getaways with your baby, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Even if you’re tempted by an adorable fabric or budget price point, remember that safety is your top priority when it comes to a portable baby bed. That means no choking hazards, no suffocation risks, non-toxic and flame retardant fabrics, and no sharp or protruding objects that could scratch your little one’s delicate skin or pinch his tiny fingers.
While the portable bed should be steady and sturdy, it should also be lightweight and compact for storage. The last thing you want to do is lug heavy equipment to the car when you’re still weary from missed sleep and a 3 a.m. feeding. The ideal travel bed should be easy for any parent to manage on their own and easy to fold for storage when not in use. Your home will already be overrun with baby gear so items that store easily will quickly become your favorites!
You can almost bet that the same infant who NEVER spits up at home will inevitably regurgitate what seems like 76 bottles while spending the night at your in-law’s house. So you need a travel bed that can be cleaned easily—one with padding and fabrics that can be removed with no fuss for machine washing, while other parts can be wiped clean without a lot of nooks, crannies, or crevices that make it difficult to remove debris.
If you’re ready to set out on your young family’s next (or first!) great adventure, try one of these models to make traveling with an infant a breeze.
Graco is a trusted name in baby gear and the Travel Lite Crib is one of its best products for new parents. It features a space-saving design that makes it ideal for use in smaller homes and apartments as well as travel.
Additionally, this portable baby bed is more than just a baby bed: it works as a bassinet for newborns under 15 pounds, a portable crib for infants, and a playard for little ones under 35” tall.
Weighing in at less than 20 pounds, the Graco Travel Lite Crib has padded sides and a canopy to keep your little one cozy. The mattress can be cleaned with a damp cloth and the airy mesh sides provide ventilation. Wheels make it easy to move within your home, hotel room, or camper. While you do have to order a sheet separately, this portable baby bed does include a convenient travel bag!
Weighing in at only 13 pounds, this lightweight portable crib is a favorite among parents. An incredibly sleek and simple design makes setup a breeze. If a flat tire and rush hour traffic made you six hours late to your vacation destination, you can rest assured this will not add to your stress level or fatigue!
The open mesh sides not only mean good ventilation for your sleeping baby but also make it easy for you to keep a close eye on her. The mattress cover and crib fabric are machine washable and the Babybjorn Travel Crib also meets the safety standards of the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA).
Brica Fold N Go Travel Bassinet While this one won’t last as long as the other portable cribs because it has a 15-pound weight limit, it’s a great, compact option for newborns. Especially easy on the wallet, the Brica Travel Bassinet weighs less than three pounds, has breathable mesh sides, and is so compact when folded it can even fit in a suitcase!