I haven’t posted in over a week because we went home to Chicago and we didn’t have any internet or television all week. This was Brooks’s 6th trip on an airplane in his 7 1/2 month old life. Before Brooks was born many people told us to enjoy our travels because they would stop once we had a baby. While traveling with a baby is very different it obviously can be done.
Our first trip with Brooks was to Ohio for his baptism when he was just shy of 3 months old. It’s only an hour flight so it was a good starter trip. We decided to take the stroller with us which turned out to be a mistake. Luckily my husband was traveling with us. While the stroller is an easy way to get through the airport I found the rest of it to be a hassle. When you are going through security you have to take the baby out of the stroller, break the stroller down, put the stroller on the belt, and carry the baby through the x-ray. I have no idea how I would have managed this if I were by myself. Also, when you get to your gate you have to break the stroller down to gate check it. Again, this was fine because my husband did this while I held Brooks but if he hadn’t been with me I would have had to ask a stranger to either hold him or break down the stroller. Meanwhile we didn’t use the stroller the whole time we were home. The next two times Brooks flew it was just the two of us so I had to get smart about how to do it. Here’s what worked for us.
– Use a baby carrier. I travel with the ErgoBaby because it is much more comfortable for me and Brooks will fall asleep in it.
– Check bags. If you are traveling by yourself this is a must. Carrying the baby carrier and the diaper bag becomes taxing enough without throwing extra weight in.
– Get a gate check bag for your car seat and/or stroller (if you choose to travel with your stroller). These bags are inexpensive and they’ll ensure that the area in which you lay your precious baby’s head isn’t covered in filth. You can find these on google.
– Only pack the basics. Babies come with a ton of stuff. I know we get used to using these conveniences so not having them can be scary but generally speaking we don’t really need most of the stuff. When visiting family we no longer bring a stroller and luckily my parents have a pack n play so we don’t have to bring that either. My Mom taught me to use a rolled up towel in the bathtub so that I don’t have to travel with any kind of infant tub.
– Consider renting a car seat, pack n play, and/or a high chair. If you google ‘baby equipment rental’ in the area you are visiting chances are good that you’ll find a company that will deliver these goods. Obviously you need the car seat at the airport so you’ll either have to bring one or rent one with your rental car. You can usually also rent toys.
– If your baby is over 3-4 months old, bring a variety of toys. Our 7 month old needs almost constant entertainment on the plane and he gets bored of toys very quickly so having a variety of stuff is key. Keep in mind that babies love new things so a water bottle or a bag of peanuts may keep them occupied for a while.
– Consider buying diapers when you get to your destination. Diapers take up a ton of space so only bringing what you need in the diaper bag saves a bunch of room.
– Generally my list of what to pack for Brooks includes: clothes (sleepers, day clothes, a sleep sack, socks), a few diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, washable bib, spoons, baby carrier, car seat, car seat cover, blanket, bag of medicine, travel size soap & lotion, burp cloths). Obviously if you are not breast feeding you’ll have to also bring formula. When Brooks was younger I would always travel with a bottle of breast milk as well in case he decided he had to eat when it was inconvenient to feed him. This came in handy several times. Since I am breast feeding I always have to travel with the pump and it’s accessories so that’s also on my list of must haves.
When you are traveling with your baby in the carrier you will keep the baby in the carrier while you go through security. Security will then have you step aside and someone will swipe your hands. This usually takes about 2 seconds. When traveling with milk, keep in mind that security has to check it so this does take some additional time. If you are traveling with a freezer pack, make sure it is frozen or it is considered a liquid and it will not be allowed to be carried through. To my knowledge there is no limit to the amount of milk you are allowed to travel with and this has never been an issue.
Something that I didn’t know prior to having Brooks is that if possible try to feed the baby during takeoff and landing. The change in pressure can be hard on their little ears so it helps if they are sucking. If you can’t feed them, try a pacifier. Don’t worry though if they are sleeping. It doesn’t seem to bother them and you certainly don’t want to wake them up!
Obviously there are other ways to travel and I’m sure someone has a different opinion regarding some of these tips but these are things that have helped make traveling more manageable for us. I hope that you find them useful.