If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed that we have been traveling a lot over the past month. We don’t live near our families and enjoy traveling, so we’ve had to learn how to travel with a little one.
We first visited New Orleans for my best friend’s wedding and brought Evie with us. Luckily, with Jet Blue, we had a direct flight and just at 3 hours, so fairly manageable with a baby. Minus the part where our car seat did not make it to NOLA…we checked it and I think we confused someone because the bag says “gate check”. Lesson learned. We forgive you, Jet Blue. 🙂 I digress. So my dad flew in from Oklahoma to help watch Evie while we were doing wedding things which made the trip less stressful and was a win-win for all of us.
The following weekend I attended The WELL Summit in NYC and since my husband was out of town that weekend, I drove to NYC with Evie, her babysitter and my friend Jenny. Traveling with a babysitter is life-changing! I was able to attend the summit and enjoy some baby-free time and then got to explore NYC with her in tow.
On our final trip, we flew to Oklahoma to see family before the Holidays and attend Oklahoma State University’s Homecoming (go pokes!). For that flight, we flew from Boston to Dallas – Fort Worth (a little over 3 hours) then drove to OKC (about 4 hours for us). Sounds like a lot but it beats paying a lot more for a flight to OKC and having to connect which ends up making the day just as long, if not longer.
So with four flights in the last month, I feel like I’ve finally got this flying with a baby thing down! Okay, I don’t think you can ever have it down because you cannot predict how your little one will act on a flight. But I do think with a little prep and patience, the flight can go much smoother. I remember googling non-stop right before our first trip with her at just three months, so I am excited to share our experiences and hopefully help another parent.
Tip No. 1: Fly direct if possible. Like I mentioned above, if you can get a direct flight – that is ideal. There’s nothing more exhausting than getting off a plane to get on another one and having to do diaper changes/feedings in a rush. Even if you have to drive part of the time, I find that I am much less stressed out in the car as I know there’s no one that we will annoy but ourselves.
Tip No.2: Snacks. On the flight to New Orleans, Evie was so great the entire trip and many people commented on how great she was. Well, we fed her snacks and milk basically the entire trip (except for her 45 min nap)…and her belly definitely showed it. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. We brought various crackers, teething wafers and she ate a banana before we got on the flight.
Tip No. 3: Make friends with your neighbors. My husband’s favorite opening line is,”oh great..when she gets fussy we will be sure to hand her over to you”. It gets a good laugh from anyone that sits next to us and breaks the ice. We truly haven’t had an issue with Evie crying a lot on a plane so we haven’t had to buy any drinks or beg them to forgive us…but I think when Evie does make a noise or two every once in a while, it’s nice to have already made friends with our neighbor(s).
Tip No. 4: Bring extra clothes for you and the baby. The pressure does not so great things to those little tummies, so be prepared for the worst! We also pack overnight diapers for the flight. Also, we just got this Honest Co. Diaper Bag and there’s a zipper compartment you can put a diaper and wipes in and this has been a lifesaver for those trips to the bathroom while carrying Evie. It’s a lot to carry otherwise and nice to have a free hand!
Tip No. 5: Gate Check your Stroller/Car Seat. I highly recommend getting a travel system where the car seat fits on the smaller travel stroller. We have one similar to the one I linked to and it also turns into an umbrella stroller for when she outgrows her car seat. When your little one gets bigger and needs a larger car seat, I’ve seen parents strap theirs to their rolling bag. We use these bags to store our car seat and stroller.
Tip No. 6: Feed during on take off/landing. We gave Evie a bottle since we had not fully weaned her (we thought trying to get her off the bottle during travel was not good timing). Either way – we highly recommend getting milk after you go through security or if you are still breastfeeding to do so during takeoff so their ears pop. A pacifier works as well. We do this every flight and time it just right so there’s enough milk to last until we are high enough or close to ground.
Tip No. 7: Just go. Even if it takes many deep breaths. Of course traveling with a baby/toddler is not easy, but the memories make it worth every moment. Trust me!
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE FLIGHT: snacks, empty bottles or sippy cups to fill once you go through security, a new toy (small and cheap guys), a scarf to double as a blanket (or just pack a swaddle blanket), overnight diapers and wipes, pacifier (if your baby likes them).
HOTEL/STAY TIP: if you are staying in the same room as your little one, try to find a little nook or closet that you can put the crib in. I don’t shut the closet fully, but leave it cracked so that the light is blocked but I can still hear her. This worked perfectly in NYC – we had a larger room and a big closet that our travel crib fit in perfectly. It’s also convenient to ship diapers and wipes to your destination.
I know I may be missing a few details so if you have any questions please leave them below!