Life With The Libbys | Traveling with Baby Grey
As I started to piece together blog posts from our two recent vacations (Charleston & 30A) I mentioned a few things we found helpful when traveling with our 4 month old for the first time. Instead of diving into all the details there, I thought I would dedicate a separate post to share some tips & tricks from our first 9 flights (yes 9).
If you're a Mom, I'm sure you already know that what works for one baby doesn't always work for another. And in the same breath, what works one week might not work the next with the same baby! We are not experts on parenting and/or traveling but I hope that by sharing our experience we can maybe provide some helpful tips for any of you thinking about traveling with your little ones in the near future.
I always had the mindset that the earlier we start traveling with her, the better she will become at it - especially while she's so little - must be easy, right?! While there were times it was easy, there were also times it was difficult. Shout out to all the other mamas on the plane that support you when your baby won't settle. The "I've been there, it's ok" look is extremely comforting.
So here's a few of our takeaways in random order...
If you can, try to schedule your flight around baby's happy time. I know that's not always possible but the thought of flying during G's witching hour (7-9pm) haunts me.
Babies under 2 can fly free as a lap child, so take advantage of it while you can! Or purchase an extra seat if you want the room. I think with most airlines, if your flight isn't full they will allow you to have that extra seat.
Baby wear through TSA. I used my solly wrap so that I didn't have to take her out. She fell right asleep through TSA but then they make you take them out of carriers during take off and landing which is annoying because that obviously wakes her up.
While I don't think identification is necessary for babies - we had a passport made and brought along her birth certificate just in case.
Feeding/Milk - While I typically nurse G for 90% of her feedings we packed extra breastmilk & bottles just in case. I wasn't sure if the milk would stay frozen so I pumped for a few feedings leading up to travel so that we could keep it refrigerated and have extras on hand. I put the bags right in my diaper bag with an ice pack in a cooler compartment (this is the bag we have). When we first went through TSA they wanted to look through everything and on our second vacation they even made me open each individual bag (they don't make it easy, right?). Remember you can ask them to change their gloves/sanitize before handling anything (especially your breast milk). While Grey typically nurses great, she was so distracted and a little flustered on the flights so having the bottles on hand to top her off was key and so helpful. Between feeding & her pacifier we didn't have an issue with her ears during take off & landing.
Each flight was a little different with her "routine" but we found most success with nursing her in the quiet room in the airport, playing, getting on the airplane, and then giving her a bottle to top her off to sleep the remainder of the flight followed by nursing during landing. Lots of eating - but she typically eats every 2 hours anyway so it wasn't too out of the norm.
Our second vacation we brought along our Ollie Swaddle and it was a GAME CHANGER. This helped signal G that it was time for sleep and definitely helped reduce the fussiness.
We opted to check her carseat/base but to gate check her stroller & bassinet attachment so that we would have it during our layover. These are all free. We liked having her bassinet for her to lay down/play/sleep attached to her stroller instead of being in her carseat so much.We also purchased the uppabbay travel safe bags for our carseat and stroller so that if any damage happened (which we have heard happens often) it's covered.
If you have a long layover or get delayed look into Minute Suites. I could have cried happy tears when we found these during our long layover after a travel day from hell. They truly saved the day and was beyond worth the $50/hour.
I'm sure you already know this but bring back up outfits - and back ups for your back ups. We packed three extra outfits for G for each travel day and one day she went through all three! We also packed an extra outfit in our carry on for both myself & Cole. Double zip footie onsies make the easiest for changes.
Sleep - Grey is still sleeping in her snoo (and doing pretty well) so we didn't want to mix things up for her (or us!). We decided to pack/check our snoo for our first vacation. We packed it up in the original packaging and checked it (Southwest didn't charge us for oversized though we thought they would have). It's a large & heavy box so it was quite the hassle but worth the sleep. Because we were going to two locations this is what worked best for us, but for our Florida trip we chose to rent one from BabyQuip and would recommend this over checking if you're willing to spend the extra $$.
Helpful things we brought with us...
Headphones - while the white noise on the plane is great when they made announcements G got startled so we tried to cover her ears once she fell asleep.
Mini Soaps - travel size soap for her bottles & my pump parts.
Paci Clips - we don't really use these at home but these are definitely necessary for airports and when out and about.
Toys & Teethers - we just brought a few of her favorites from our LoveEvery subscription but a lot of other momma's recommended bringing a new toy so that it's exciting for them on the plane.
Baby Carrier - we used the solly through TSA & the airport because it doesn't have any metal but I ended up buying the Lalabu last minute and so glad I did. I love that it's a hybrid between a soft & structured carrier and it was great for walking around. If you're traveling with a smaller baby look into their baby wearing shirts, I've heard these are super helpful when traveling.
If you're traveling somewhere with a nearby Target or grocery store opt to only pack enough diapers for 1-2 days to save some room in your luggage and just buy while you're there!
Travel sound machine for your car seat and naps in bassinet.
We're by no means experts and I'm sure it will get easier (and also bring new challenges) with each trip. But I know I felt super overwhelmed of where to start when thinking about packing/adventuring with our babe so I hope this is helpful!