Life, Parenting

Airports and Airplanes: How to Travel with your Baby

Part 1: Prepping for the trip

You’re sitting in front of your computer about to purchase your flight tickets, and you see that little button in the drop down menu; “infant in lap”. Your excitement is quickly replaced with dread. How the hell are you going to do this? We just got in her into a bed time routine, she’s finally sleeping through the night, and we are about to subject her to a SIX hour time difference, and a twelve hour flight… We must be crazy…

Hawaii better be worth it

So as we prepare to take to the air with our 5 month old, I hope I can shed some light as to what we bought, brought, and didn’t need. So here I am again to talk about what works, what doesn’t, and what you might consider trying. So let’s start at the beginning.

The flight…

                                                   

Now this really only comes into play if you have a super long flight like we do going to Hawaii. My thoughts are anything over six hours probably needs a break. If you can afford it, or stretch your trip a day to break up the journey, that might make it a bit easier on your little one. Let’s face it, everyone functions better with sleep. So in our case on the flight out, we are flying six hours to Vegas, then staying over night (tough luck right). Then we fly out the following morning to Honolulu. My HOPE is this will make the time change slightly easier, as well as hopefully easier on mom and dad too. Now on our flight back, we are flying straight through just with a short layover. So I will be able to compare both ways for you, and hopefully have some more insight as to which is a better option for your family.

You may also want to consider options with longer or more layovers. I know that’s not always ideal when you just want to get to your destination. But the breaks to stretch your legs, and for your little one to adjust back to a normal pressure system and burn off some energy will be good for your family. I think this is even more important once your children can walk; no one want to be cooped up for twelve hours in a cramped setting. So book some layovers, enjoy a more leisurely travel style, maybe grab a bite or beer between flights and let your little one stretch out those muscles. Added bonus? Flights with layovers are generally cheaper too! Great way to cut costs!

A few things to mention.

Most airlines offer “cribs” that attach to the seat in front. Here are my thoughts on this… My husband is an air traffic controller and brought up a great point. If your child is laying in one of those cribs when the plane hits unexpected turbulence, that could be a disaster. Flight attendants have been injured from being flung against the ceiling of a plane, and I can only imagine how much worse that would be for a child. So while I like the idea, I don’t think that is a safe option for your baby. Who knows… maybe they can be buckled into these. We’ll see! We are opting for a carrier for the flight. Our little one will be strapped on one of us, and we will be taking turns. This will be nice because if you do drift off, your little is securely strapped to you. If you were to hit turbulence, as long as you’re buckled, too, you’ll both be okay.

As for our carrier itself, we had been using the Infantino Baby Carrier, and I have ZERO bad things to say about it. Not to mention you can pick it up from Walmart or Amazon and it’s very affordably priced. Heres the thing though, it’s much more structured, no pockets, and after a few hours it does hurt my back a bit. This is not a problem for everyday use, but I decided for this trip, investing in a better,softer, carrier might be better. Now, in my opinion baby carriers now-a-day are so pricey, and I couldn’t justify spending $180 dollars on one when I already have one that I like. So there is a store we have in Ohio called “Once upon a Child”. It’s basically a resale shop for all things baby, but they only take items in good condition. I was able to find a new Ergo baby carrier with the box and instructions for $30.00 bucks! Awesomeness.


There are a few things about the Ergo carrier that will be a HUGE help while traveling:

  1. The sunshade- basically a optional hood. This will be awesome for nursing in the carrier on the flight, it prevents anyone from being able to see. It may also help her drift to sleep a little easier.
  2. The pockets- now as a mom, pockets on ANYTHING just make life easier. But having pockets on the front of the carrier while going through TSA security will make life so much easier. There are few things in life more annoying than shuffling through your diaper bag for your ID. Now I can have my phone, ID, credit card, and plane ticket at my fingertips to help me get through security faster and have a safe spot to store them afterwards.
  3. The padded shoulders- this carrier is so much more comfy than my Infantino, and while I still love my previous carrier, this has become my new favorite

Now as for packing…of course you will inevitably have to buy a few things for your trip…that’s why they say children our so expensive.

Here are links (click pictures) to everything I purchased leading up to this trip:

 

 

 

The gate check bags are great just from the stand point that you invest all this money on car seats and strollers, and the last thing you want is for them to get all banged up during travel. I took a long look at my suitcases that I have in the basement, and quickly justified this purchase.

 

Now if you cloth diaper like me, you probably know that you can use your diaper covers you already have as a swim diaper. However, chlorine and salt water are really going to do a number on your diapers. I spent a fair amount of money getting some nice ones, and I really didn’t want to see them come apart just yet. So that’s why I purchased the Bambino Mio Swim Nappy- Pink Spot-Medium. Plus it was really pretty affordable. Stay tuned to find out if it was worth the purchase! I also purchased two more Set of 2 Night Time Fitted Cloth Diapers One-Size 7-30 Lb (Hemp /Organic Cotton). Now I will be discussing this in more detail on my cloth diaper posts, but this is really my go-to for overnights. It keeps the pee in for 12+ hours now that my little one is sleeping through the night. So these were a MUST have for the flights and travel.

 

Now the KidCo Peapod, Cranberry had a bad rap in the past. But the new remake and changes that they made have put it back on the mat. So far this was the best bang for my buck I could find, and when I received it in the mail it was exactly what I was looking for. We’ve actually used it on the boat already while we’ve been anchored down. It acts as a sun shade, travel play pin, and travel bed for your little. So far so good! I can’t wait to put this to the test on our trip. I’ll let you know how it was based on functionality, easy of use, durability, and comfort. Don’t worry, I’ll report back! Then I got the Speedo Kids’ Begin to Swim Fabric Baby Cruiser with Canopy, New Blue, One Size for the pool. This one got the best overall reviews on Amazon, and I liked that it had some neck and back support for my baby, as well as an awesome sunshade. So we’ll see how this acts once put to the test!

All in all, I don’t think we purchased too much considering the trip is 10 days and clear across the world!

Couple quick tips:

-Pack the day before so you can make sure you have everything. Last thing you want is to get all the way to your destination and realize you forgot their favorite teddy

-Double check your baby medications. Unfortunately, theres no way to predict when your baby will catch a cold or cut a tooth, so make sure to bring some pain medication, teething help, or whatever medications your baby needs. Double check before your trip that they’re not running low.

-Buy some batteries! A lot of breast pumps have options to put in batteries which will make it SO much easier to pump on the go. Make sure to put some new ones in your pump ahead of time so it won’t die on you during your trip. Also, put new batteries in any toys or sound machines you may bring with you. Not only to free up cords, but to prevent a potential crisis of something dying while gone.

-If you cloth wipe, consider purchasing a portable bottle warmer like the one below. This works AWESOME as a portable wipe warmer. Simply put warm or hot water inside the canister, then when you need some turn the white lid over so it makes a basin and dunk a wipe in it. Now you have a moist warm wipe for you little. This is also GREAT for mamas who pump exclusively or formula feed. I have one and I love it.For an added bonus, after you use it for your little one it can later double as a travel mug for you. Hot chocolate at football games anyone? Click the picture to see for yourself!

-If you are going to be visiting family or friends, consider sending things in advance to minimize luggage at the airport, then give them some cash to send it back for you. This is a great option for things like pack-and-plays etc. Also, my hubby had a great idea for the small stuff; if you shop on Amazon like we do for everything, consider buying things and setting the sending address as your destination! Then just mail yourself a box back when you leave! Hey, it’s a great way to cut down on luggage space, and save yourself some money on those checked bag fees!

This is just a taste of what’s to come! Keep checking back for updates, on what worked, what didn’t, what I’m sure I’ll forget or wish I bought. Not to mention extra tips straight from the airport and Hawaii. The best is yet to come.

 

Be sure to check out:

Airports and Airplanes: How to Travel with Your Baby Part 2 

 

18 Comments

  1. Superb website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate it!

    1. I don’t actually, but what a great idea. I’ll look into it further. I’m about to post Part 2 of the travel series though, so stay tuned for that! Thanks for the feedback!

    1. Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for the feedback. Check back for part 2!

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