Family road trip in Europe: Baby packing lists

What do you pack for babies for a long road trip? With a home of six square meters and two babies growing bigger each day, our road trip family needed to plan their baby packing lists carefully. Here’s Part 3.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Twin babies Lovisa and Matilda play on a blanket outdoors.
The happy “Supermagicalunicorntwins” Lovisa and Matilda love to chill out and play on a blanket outdoors.
Photo: Christian Göran
The story so far: After a difficult and uncertain pregnancy, Juli and Christian wanted to spend as much time as possible with their Supermagicalunicorntwins. So they swapped their apartment in Berlin for a camper van and set off on a road trip lasting several months.  From Germany, they drove slowly but surely northwards through Denmark and Sweden. Now they’re heading south through Norway. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.
Wonder why they’re called Supermagicalunicorntwins? Read the info box at the end of the article to find out.

Made detailed packing lists

We’d be the first ones to admit how challenging it was to keep the lists as short as possible. At the same time, we knew we’d be passing through towns on the road trip where we could buy clothes if the kids outgrew any item.

When we were in the most northerly parts of Norway, we bought them the long-sleeved bodysuits in merino wool that are sold everywhere.

Clothes

The children’s clothes we brought along were generously sized to allow the babies some growing room. We planned on finding a campsite for the night once a week where we could do our laundry. Most camping sites have coin/card/token-operated washing machines and driers.

This is what we took for one baby to (hopefully) last for a week:

7 assorted short and long sleeved bodysuits
5 pairs of thin socks + 5 pairs of thick socks
1 cozy all-in-one in merino wool
1 cozy romper in merino wool + 1 for outdoor use
3 sweaters
1 sun hat
2 warm hats
7 neck warmers
2 pairs long johns

Care & hygiene

1 hooded towel
1 wash cloth
A few terry towels
Giant packs of diapers, wet wipes, etc.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Happy baby in the tub gets washed by dad.
Splashing in the bath is always fun.
Photo: Christian Göran

Feeding

Our twin girls were only six months old when our road trip began and we’d just started weaning. So we needed all this:

Bibs + aprons
Cups + spoons (the BabyBjörn spoon is the best that we’ve tried by far)
1 foldable high chair
Feeding bottles
1 thermos for hot water for baby food
1 manual breast pump
1 nursing pillow

BABYBJÖRN Magazine - Mom Juli and one of the twins outside in the woods.
The family spends a lot of time outside.
Photo: Christian Göran

Outdoor equipment

Blankets and a sun tent have been indispensable items for us. We don’t have too much space in the bus, so it’s super to be able to spread out the blanket in the tent and let the girls play around outside as soon as the weather permits.

Solar-powered outdoor nightlight
A picnic blanket (with one waterproof side)
Sun tent
Baby carrier
Sulky
Blanket for sulky
Cozy down-filled footmuffs that we also use as sleeping bags
Rain cover
Mosquito net

Toys

We tried to not bring too much and use what we have instead, such as empty boxes, spoons or plastic bottles. Letting them grip one object in each hand. They love this and start clapping them together immediately. But we did take:

Baby mobile
Cuddly toys/blankies
Various plastic and wooden grip toys
Rattle
Teething rings
Toy that makes a cool rustling sound

Pharmacy items

Caraway helps to ease the symptoms of tummy ache. Lovisa had colic when she was younger and these Carum Carvi suppositories really helped. Cooled fennel tea is good for digestion. We make our own anti-mosquito/tick oil by mixing 200g coconut oil with a few drops of essential lavender and citronella oil.

Vitamin D drops
Belly oil
Caraway suppositories for trapped wind
Fennel tea
Tylenol (acetaminophen) suppositories
Homemade mosquito/tick oil
Tick remover
Baby nasal aspirator
Sea salt nasal spray
Hot-water bottle
Baby thermometer
Zinc barrier cream
Olive and coconut oil for bathtimes
Violet root to chew on to ease teething pain

Vaccinations and general examinations

We follow the general (German) vaccination plan – as little as possible, as much as needed. Before we started our road trip, we went to our pediatrician to have a general check up, and discuss how to fit the vaccination and examination plan into our travel plan.

We agreed on stopping by again on our way back from Sweden before continuing down to Southern Europe. The measles vaccination would have been recommended for the girls this winter, but as we’ve decided they won’t be starting kindergarten before they turn one and a half years old, it will be OK to delay that one until spring next year.

Our pediatrician gave us this advice: As we’re delaying vaccinations for our babies, e.g. the measles, for travel reasons but don’t want to run any risk of them getting sick, we should check the vaccination recommendations from the Robert Koch Institute for the countries we will be visiting. If there should be cases of e.g. the measles registered, we can get the vaccination done while traveling, just to be on the safe side.

So when we get back to Germany in October, we’re going to stay a while and do all the necessary examinations. Besides the general ones, there will also be some preemie-specific ones, including heart doctor, eye doctor, developmental test and an examination of Matilda’s lungs.

Tips! If you’re planning to go on a longer road trip in Europe, it’s possible to have all the vaccinations and standard examinations in other EU countries with the European Insurance Card (in Germany you find this on the reverse side of the German Insurance Card). You then only have to pay for the vaccines.

xoxo
Don’t miss the next part about the challenges of establishing routines in our daily camper van life :)
supermagicalunicorntwins-roadtrip-about-us
 
Photo: Christian Göran

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Follow Juli and Christian and their twin daughters Lovisa and Matilda on their road trip: @supermagicalunicorntwins and @christiangoran

Why “Supermagicalunicorntwins”?

These are Juli’s and Christian’s words:

“Early in the pregnancy, in week 12, we got devastating news from our doctor. Our twins were suffering from TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome). In short, this means that blood from the placenta does not get evenly distributed between the twins. Depending on how TTTS develops during pregnancy, the babies might die inside the uterus or survive with a high risk of fetal damage.

In week 18 we got the next shocking news. One of the babies had a lung cyst which shifted her heart to the left. Every week during the pregnancy, we went to the hospital to check up on both TTTS and the development of the lung cyst. This was a tough and scary period with lots of worrying, but we did our best to stay positive and keep our spirits up.

Family and friends supported us during these difficult times. One day, a close friend of ours told us that she was convinced our babies were super magical unicorn twins and started to sing about them. We burst out laughing, and it felt so wonderfully liberating! We’ll never forget that joyful and reassuring moment.

This short jingle stayed with us through the rest of the pregnancy, and helped us stay positive and believe that everything would turn out right. And it did.

That’s why we call our daughters the Supermagicalunicorntwins or Smuts. To us they really are our Super magical unicorn baby twins.”