Oh, to travel with a baby.
My comfort zone became a thing of the past during our two week “vacation” to California last month. Vacation is in quotes because according to the dictionary a vacation is an extended period of leisure, and while certainly extended, I wouldn’t exactly describe our trip as leisurely. But, I learned to go with the flow and though it wasn’t always pleasant, I think it’s a skill all parents should learn.
Since River has been on a few flights already, I feel good about giving this advice and hopefully these tips and tricks will help out moms and dads with their future travel!
So without further ado, here’s how I fly with River…
Since the dawn of my travel career, I’ve been a super light packer and even with all the baby gear, I still manage to get everything into a carry-on and personal item. I love not having to check a bag because I don’t have to stand in line to drop it off or pick it up. And the more time I save, the less I stress. To save even more time, I always check-in for the flight online the day before.
Most airlines allow passengers to check a carseat and stroller at the gate for free so River rides in the stroller until I get to security. At security, TSA does a pat down of the stroller and carseat. I recommend trying to keep baby awake until after passing through security. Unfortunately, River was napping and the TSA agent told me to get her out of the stroller so they could do a full inspection. And of course she woke up. *Angry face.*
River is eating now which is a catch-22 because while it is easier to distract and entertain her with food, she gets cranky if she doesn’t get it. At home, River eats whole foods like bananas, sweet potato, oats, and avocado. But these are a bit messy to take on a plane, so I opted for BeechNut Foods. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find quick, wholesome, organic baby food. And unfortunately, BeechNut is not the best for baby (more on that later), but it’s better than some of the other crap that’s out there! I’ve since learned how to make my own baby puffs, so I’ll bring those next time.
Normally, I would buy one or two new toys to entertain River for a trip, but I forgot this time. Luckily, she’s an extrovert and had all the entertainment she needed just from people watching (and a plastic water bottle). Since we are raising River screen-free, she is completely uninterested in it, which is awesome, but for traveling, it would be nice for her to be engaged. Next time, I’ll pack bubbles, crayons, something musical, maybe stickers. To get the wiggles out, I found a gate that was practically empty and brought a giant muslin blanket so River could crawl around on it, but I’m not too picky about germs. I just make sure to wipe her hands off.
Obviously, try and make sure baby is changed before the flight because those airplane bathrooms are TIGHT. I changed River on the muslin blanket at the gate since it’s easier than dragging all my gear into the bathroom and re-finding a place to sit.
Right before we board, I always check the car seat and stroller and put River into the front pack carrier. I can usually get her to fall asleep in it after take-off. I saw quite a few moms who purchased an extra seat for their infant, but you don’t have to do this until after they turn two. My flights were short, so it didn’t feel worth it.
Luckily, the people I sat next to were awesome and one lady even offered to hold River. She was obviously in heaven, so I enjoyed a nice little break. Overall, I was sufficiently prepared for the flights and next time should be even easier! (Hello, toddler stage…?)
What are some of your baby travel hacks?