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To get the most from family travel, let your baby set the agenda and the pace. Here are some tips to get you started:
If you're nursing, your baby's all set. But bring extra water for yourself, since traveling can leave you parched. And if you're formula feeding, use bottled water to mix formula — or better yet, pay a little more for the convenience of ready-to-feed formula.
Infants shouldn't go out on the water. If you're planning on boating with an older child, bring a life vest that you know fits — don't count on finding the right size when you get to your destination.
Baby wipes are essential on trips. They're great not only for diaper changes but also to clean everyone's hands, which reduces the risk of passing along infections.
Before and after diaper changes in a public place, be sure to wipe off the changing area.
Have your baby sleep in her portable bed for a few nights (or a few naps) before you leave so she can get used to it before you go on the road.
Plan lots of down time and rest periods for you and your baby.
Enjoy all the gushes and admiration your baby inspires, but do your best to keep her away from people with colds or other infections, as well as from those who are smoking.
"There is nothing so amazing as the development of a child," says Suzanne Dixon, M.D., a behavioral and developmental pediatrician who was one of the founding members of the Pampers Parenting Network. "Every day is a new adventure when you have a child around you. I never get tired of learning from the children who have been a part of my life, professionally and personally."
Suzanne Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., was born and raised in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota, School of Medicine. She did her pediatric training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and then completed a fellowship in Child Development at Boston's Children's Hospital. Dr. Dixon joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, and did patient care, teaching, and research for 20 years. She ran a large newborn service, performed research in early child development, and was involved in many community outreach activities in maternal child health. Throughout her entire professional life she has maintained an interest in cross-cultural activities, living and working in many parts of the world, including Mexico, India, Kenya, Indonesia, and several countries from the former U.S.S.R.
Dr. Dixon is the author of numerous research articles, review articles, and textbook chapters in pediatrics, child and family development, and public health. Her textbook, written with Dr. Martin Stein, Encounters With Children: Pediatric Behavior and Development, has become a classic in child health education and is in its fourth edition. She is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, an international journal of high standing in the professional world. She also has served as an associate editor for Infant Mental Health and currently reviews for several major pediatric journals.
Dr. Dixon is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and served in national positions in that organization. She is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, the Society for Research in Child Development, the American Public Health Association, and the Executive Council of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She serves as consultant to several national and international organizations and has received an award from Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.
Dr. Dixon continues to lecture and consult worldwide on aspects of maternal, child, and family health. She practices behavioral and developmental pediatrics in Montana and works with local advocacy groups on education and women's health. Dr. Dixon has been married for over 30 years and has three sons. She and her husband travel frequently, are outdoor enthusiasts, and enjoy being amateur anthropologists