I love to travel and I’m really hoping my daughter has the same desire to see the world that I do… but, for the first time in my life, I hesitated when buying plane tickets.
My credit cards were ready to thank me, but my traveling spirit was pissed, so I went ahead and pushed the ‘CONFIRM PURCHASE’ button. Ok, that’s a little dramatic interpretation, but let’s go with it.
And, then I panicked. That is not a dramatic interpretation. That’s the honest truth.
What was I thinking- traveling alone with an 11 week old infant. I blame the wine. Once again, must not drink wine and make decisions.
But, in the end, we both survived the trip and had a great time.
Here are some tips and thoughts for you new moms and future moms-to-be (and for those grandparents that insist on a last-minute visit!).
Note: We flew JetBlue BOS>BWI and Maddie traveled on my lap.
1) Think about your daily routine and how you can adapt it to a new place. I didn’t have most of my usual gadgets (MamaRoo, Swing, toys, books, etc), so I had to get a little creative with what was available. I realized that I can change a baby just about anywhere, and that sometimes a blanket on the ground is a better soother then a swing…
2) Think about what you really NEED versus what makes life easier… this was a tough one, cause lord knows, anything that makes life easier for a new parent should be in the *NEED* column. But, I managed to narrow it down to this: Pack & Play crib, umbrella stroller, changing pad, diapers, bottles (3), formula (ready-made and powder), pacifiers, swaddle blanket, burp clothes (3), clothes.
3) Plan ahead- can you ship things ahead? Can items be purchased when you land? I saved a lot of packing space by planning to purchase diapers, wipes and formula when I landed (ok, honestly, I mentioned this to my dad ahead of time and he went out and got it before we got there!). It saved on things that I had to lug through the airport and I wasn’t stressed about packing enough to make it through the entire visit.
4) Borrow items if you can.. my parent’s neighbors had a baby a few years ago and had an infant car seat that we were able to borrow. You can easily gate check one, which I would have done if Brian would have been there to give me an extra hand, but this worked out just as well, and gave me one less thing to deal with! Same with strollers and cribs/pack & plays. Think outside the box a little on this one and you might be surprised. There are also mom groups all over facebook that can lend assistance or help if you are traveling to a location you aren’t familiar with!
5) Plan on wearing your baby through security (which means you also need to plan on carrying or pushing your stroller!). It makes it so easy, I didn’t have any problems, and Maddie slept through all the checks. However, I would practice wearing your baby- doing things like bending over to fold up your stroller, sitting down (in a narrow chair, to mimic an airline seat), and taking her in and out of your carrier or wrap. I felt quite clumsy the first few times I did it, but by the end it was fine. Wish I would have ‘practiced’ a bit more to feel more comfortable!
6) Take a deep breath and realize that at some point in the trip, your child will have a temper tantrum, and just do your best. I traveled with my diaper bag (remind me that I owe you a review on it- I HATE IT!), which has two end pockets. I stuffed the pockets with a bottle, ready-made formula, diaper cloth and pacifiers. It made it super easy to grab the items when Maddie started to fuss and I didn’t have to rummage through my bag.
Here are a few products that I LOVED for this trip:
1| Moby Wrap 2|Uppababy G-Luxe Stroller 3| JJCole Pacifier Clips
4|TMSoft White Noise App 5| Similac Advance Formula
A few notes on the products and why I love them:
1| Moby Wrap
This was the most comfortable baby carrier for me. Maddie is old enough to ‘Hug Hold’ and did great going through security, waiting for the flight and sitting through most of the flight in this. It was light enough that I was hot by the end of the flight, but not uncomfortable. I also found it easy to wear, even when I had her sitting on my lap or eating. Definitely practice moving around in it and getting your baby in and out easily. My only complaint was that I had a hard time bending over to fold up the stroller, put my shoes back on after security (wear flip flops or slip-ons!), but I think that would be the case with any carrier! A final note, I strongly advise wearing a tank top with a light weight layer over… anything more and I would have been sweating buckets! I wore a Bravado nursing tank with a light weight cardigan- made security a breeze and I was comfortable at the airport and in the plane.
2| Uppababy G-Luxe Umbrella Stroller
LOVE THIS! It’s a splurge for an umbrella stroller, but worth every penny. First, it reclines far enough back, that you can use it with a 3 month old, which meant that I didn’t have to bring my big, bulky stroller with me! Second, it folds easily and stands up, which makes it manageable to maneuver while wearing your baby in the airport. Third, it’s lightweight and has a strap that allows you to carry over your shoulder. I actually wore both the stroller and diaper bag on my shoulder, while wearing Maddie and felt OK. It has a lot of the features of the Vista and Cruze I love, but in ‘travel size’.
3| JJ Cole Pacifier Clips
I love these. They are sturdy, they hold on to just about anything and they come in cute designs. I only traveled with one, and I wish I would have had at least two more. Pacifiers are an important part of our ‘soothe’ routine, and I was always searching for one. I wore the one we had clipped to the Moby Wrap for travel and it was so convenient to have it right there if Maddie started to get fussy.
4| TMSoft White Noise App
I forgot to throw in the Sleep Sheep, but this white noise app works in a pinch. There is a FREE lite version, but I splurged on the one that is $1.99. My sanity is worth that much (but probably not much more right now!). It has both a hair dryer and a vacuum sound that settle Maddie immediately. Save yourself some packing room and let your phone do double duty. I missed a few calls and text messages, but it didn’t run my battery down like crazy and it got us through the entire trip with minimal fussing at bedtime (other times, not so much!!).
5| Similac Advance Ready-To-Feed Formula
Formula is expensive, and ready-to-feed versions even more so, but it was so worth it to have a few bottles available on the plane. It made me feel confident that I could feed Maddie (and avoid a huge meltdown!) in a matter of seconds. I opted to just bring along one of her slow-flow bottles, and poured it into it and we were all set. I used the slow-flow to try and help her ears during take-off and landing (the only times that she fussed, if she fussed at all!). It forced her to drink and swallow more, which (I believe!) helped her clear the pressure. Pack one more than you think you will need, because you might find that eating patterns are a bit off. I definitely threw away more than I would at home, since I didn’t have a fridge available, but the convenience was worth it!
Note: I didn’t add a picture of our pack and play, but this is the one that we have for travel that I really like: Graco Pack n’ Play
Other than that, I would say check a bag if you can bring yourself to pay the fees (or fly JetBlue, your first bag flies for free!). It will make life easier getting through the airport.
And, as tough as it sounds, relax. I was a lot more relaxed on the trip home (having survived the trip there!) and Maddie was a lot more relaxed as well. I think babies are sensitive to your stress and anxiety, especially when you are wearing them. I tried to be kind and polite to the people around us, and in turn, they were equally polite and understanding- even when Maddie started to fuss.
Let me know if I missed anything, or if you have any special tricks… I’m already thinking about booking our next tickets!