Troy and I have been very big on wanting Maddox to experience traveling and getting around to see new and exciting places. We try not to let him hold us back. It is hard, but it gets easier! I wouldn’t say I’m quite the expert traveling with a baby yet, but after taking a few flights & jumping in cars I’ve picked up a few things that I thought I’d share. So pull your hair back (literally it’s much easier at the airport if you have a newborn), get over the germs (really you have to, I mean if they’re breathing that air they’re pretty much exposed anyway) and say a little prayer!
Traveling by plane can be a little overwhelming at first, from packing, timing the feedings & naps to getting through security & throughout the duration of the flight. I’ve jotted down some quick tips that even after searching the internet beforehand I still was unaware of.
Tips for traveling by plane:
- Call ahead: I always call ahead to wherever we’re staying if at a hotel and ask if they have cribs (ask if there’s a daily charge this can vary by hotel if there’s a charge we just bring our travel crib) & refrigerator in room (some are by request only) and ask what other amenities they have for babies (usually they have things like baby shampoo, soap etc. which is one less thing to pack).
- Pack light: Things you can get there, diapers, food etc. as they’re older it might be easier to get there. As a newborn I’ve had room for a small bag of diapers but as they get bigger I would probably get there. I try to pack one carry on for Maddox, a medium size bag for me (trust me trying to carry a large bag with yours and his in 1 ends up being more hassle than you think if you’ve got a stroller, carseat, the baby) a good size diaper bag and a large purse. I’ve got the stroller/carseat that go together, usually a put Maddox in the carseat (if you need the extra space to put your bags you can always put your little one in a sling), I put the diaper bag around the stroller handle, the carseat base in the basket below and push that and the carryon along with my purse on top of that while Troy takes my other bag and his (usually has a backpack too for his carryon). Now if you can it’s easiest to get dropped off at the airport & take advantage of the Skycaps, but if not short term parking is the next best, if we park we usually skip the skycaps (when you’re walking anyway whats a few more steps).
- Security: These are pretty much TSA’s guidelines but be sure to double check restrictions with who you fly. Here’s what you need to know..
- To start – we like to get to the airport 2 hrs ahead of time to get through security, grab anything for food, express or feed if necessary.
- Domestic: Under 18 you don’t need ID. International: You need a passport.
- You’re going to have to take your baby out of the carseat and walk them through the screening, so hopefully they’re not asleep – you’ll have to wake them.
- Bring as much Breastmilk/formula/baby food as you like, tell them as you are putting your bags through TSA you have breastmilk etc. Typically you just put it in it’s own container and put it through, then they have to check it on the other side.
- Stroller needs to be ‘upside down’. Not sure why, but the wheels have to be facing up (If you do it though before they tell you they’ll think you’re a pro).
- Same goes for the carseat – upside down, handle and top back. The base should not be connected or it most likely wouldn’t fit.
- Nursing/Feeding: I try to time it so I am able to express just before I get on the plane (I try to hold off on feeding him till we’re about to take off, though at this point they may be hungry so what can you do, in that case I’d just feed them). Depending on how long your flight is you may be able to get away with one feeding, which is easy. Those longer flights get a little harder.
- Changing: I’ve heard people just do it on their lap with newborns, If I was in a window seat maybe I would but so far I’ve always gone to the bathroom with him. Honestly it wasn’t as bad as I pictured it’d be. I imagine it’s much harder with a toddler since there is much less space in that case.
- In Flight: I bring a sling and keep him in that, bring one or two toys, a few pacifiers (may even want to clip to his clothes so they don’t get dropped on the floor, etc. a blanket, spare clothes. I feed during takeoff and landing whenever possible. If they’re not hungry at those times, let them use a pacifier or something to suck or chew on. No one likes a crying baby on the plane, but what are you going to do – if they cry they cry. You just need to get over it and try not to look around. The flight attendants are usually so nice to you (who doesn’t love a cute baby/child) so that’s a little comforting. They’ll get you whatever you need.. water.. you can ask them for hot water to warm a bottle. If you’re little one starts to fuss there’s always the aisle to walk them up and down. I try to leave this as a last resort but if I can’t calm him down I get up for a walk.
- Landing: Again I try to feed or give him a pacifier when landing so their little ears don’t hurt as much when they pop.
Hope these tips help – check back soon for part 2 for tips on Trains & Automobiles. Good luck and enjoy your time traveling with them!