New Mom Travel Tips
I don't consider myself an expert traveler by any means, but Nixon is 8 months old and has been on 20 plane rides - so I do have a pretty good idea of what traveling with a baby entails! Our trips have been mostly very positive and enjoyable. He loves looking at all of the people (actually stares them down until they acknowledge him) and takes better naps in the air than he does at home.
I remember not being able to sleep the night before our first flight (in November). I was and am still breastfeeding so I worried about that situation. I worried about the germs, going through security, layovers, turbulence, etc. Our first few flights we flew without daddy because we wanted to get back to Oklahoma for the Holidays a few days earlier and he had to stay for work. Obviously having your husband/partner with you makes things MUCH easier, but I'm proud of myself for making it through the flights where it was just Nixon and myself.
Whether your flying alone with your baby OR as a family, here are my tips.
IF you have a straight flight (no connection) I would recommend checking your carseat and stroller before security and just wearing your baby in the carrier. Once those 2 items are off of your hands, things become a bit easier. We purchased the Uppababy stroller bag and carseat bag and they have been so great.
IF you have a connecting flight and maybe don't want to wear your baby, say around the DFW airport (y'all know it's big), I would check your stroller at the gate. We are looking into purchasing a smaller travel/umbrella stroller like this UppaBaby one or this Summer Infant one.
I use this Lillebaby carrier and love it. However, it does have some embossed detailing on it which causes the detector to go off about 40% of the time (how that's even possible, I don't know) so I then have to take him out of it, put it in the bin and walking through. Which defeats the whole purpose of wearing it through security in the first place. Nixon likes being worn WHEN we're moving. So wearing him in the airport is perfect because we're pretty much always walking around.
Once we get to the gate I leave him in his carrier or take him out depending on his fussiness. ALMOST always the gate agents let us on first. Our last flight, the lady at the desk was rude and there were a couple other moms just all looking at eachother like "is she for real?". Letting children on first is easier for everyone. It's always worth asking if you can get on the plane and get seated sooner.
I always try to change Nixon before the flight. When it's just Anthony and I we change him at our seats (just laying the swaddle down first). Almost every time we've flown all together we've had a whole row to ourselves (lucky, I know). It's always worth asking the gate agent if this is a possibility for you. Having the extra seat in between us is a huge help.
I want to include that, so far, our longest flight was 5 hours. Anthony and I basically took turns bouncing/holding Nixon. He took a nap in the middle seat on a swaddle for about an hourish (PTL). If the flight were to be an longer or if I would have been by myself we might consider actually purchasing a seat for him. Also, I like taking morning flights MUCH better than afternoon. And by morning I mean the first flight of the day + getting up and at it around 4 am. Around 5 pm is when my child likes to fuss the most so I like to avoid traveling around that time.
Flying must haves:
- Nursing Cover - this is especially important if you are flying by yourself and sitting next to strangers. I forgot mine once and it stressed me out trying to handle a swaddle cover, squirming baby and nipple shield.
- Hand sanitizer!!!! + Sanitizing wipes!!!!
- Baby's favorite toys
- New *never before seen* toys
- Snacks (If your baby is 6 months+) and a Sippy cup.. Eating/swallowing/chewing helps with their ears. I always nurse Nixon on the way up and down.
- Extra change of clothes
- At least 2 swaddles or a blanket
- Comfy clothes for YOU!
- Don't be afraid to ask the flight attends for help (like sitting/holding baby if you need to go to the bathroom.)
Dealing with long layovers:
- Obviously you'll need to have everything I listed above. This is when the snacks and new toys really come in handy, especially if your baby is like mine and napped almost the whole flight anyway.
- Swaddles are good for laying out and making a "play mat". Just find a gate that isn't crowded and chill there for a while. Nixon is crawling and really playing with toys now so he can entertain himself for several minutes. And yes airports are v germy, hence the makeshift play mat.
When you get to wherever your going, try to keep the same routine as best as you can. I found that Nixon actually dealt with the time change difference better than his parents. If you do bath time every night, continue that on your trip. Sing the same songs, read the same nighttime books. I've noticed that stressing about the little details can take away from really enjoying our vacation time and I'm trying to be better about it and make the best out of every situation!
Final Tip(s) for T R A V E L I N G
- Prepare for the worst, Hope for the best :)
- Phones and ipads with baby friendly games aren't a bad idea.