Monday, June 4, 2012

Traveling with a Baby

Back in April, my husband and I flew with our then 3-month-old son from California to Virginia to celebrate my grandfather's life.

As many of you know, my husband and I have traveled extensively--mainly to international destinations--over the past eight years. 

In other words, we're not travel rookies.

But I had a feeling that jet setting with a 3-month-old baby would be, well, different.  Perhaps, more challenging.   

So, in the weeks leading up to our trip, I sought out advice from friends and family and the internet about how best to travel with a baby.

Here's what I found worked best for us during our 6-day trip:

In the packing department, I used an app called List Master to create a packing list for Noah and a packing list for me.  (Brian was on his own!)

Here's a sample of Noah's packing list.

And my packing list.

To cut down on the number of bags we carried with us, I packed all of my clothing and Noah's clothing in ONE suitcase.

On past trips, one of the things I've disliked about living out of a suitcase is that sometimes I can't find things when I need them.  I knew searching for a pair of Noah's socks or shoes amidst all of my stuff was going to cause me to lose my mind.  So, I did what any Type-A person would do: I packed each of Noah's outfits in a ziplock gallon-sized bag and labeled each with the appropriate day.

For example, in the bag above, I placed Noah's outfit for the funeral on Tuesday: a button down shirt, vest, corduroy pants, socks and shoes.

I also decided to leave my purse at home and just carry a wristlet in the diaper bag.

The wristlet held my driver's license, plane ticket, iPhone, credit card, medical insurance card, Carmex, ear plugs, and some Ibuprofen.  I loved having everything in one place, especially when we passed through the security checkpoints.

A few more notes on packing:
-Take more than you'll need (particularly burp cloths and bibs), unless you'll have access to a washer and dryer. 
-Don't pack a ton of diapers.  Just buy them when you arrive at your destination.  Same with formula.   

At the airport
-Leave yourself plenty of time to check your bags in, pass through security, and find your gate.
-Buy plenty of water in the airport. (This only applies to formula-fed babies.)
-Board early, if possible.
-Keep your stroller and car seat with you until you board.  If there isn't room on the plane for the car seat, you can check it (along with the stroller) at the plane door.

If you have questions about going through security checkpoints with your child, check out the TSA website.  I had to laugh when I read this on their website: Passengers cannot leave babies in an infant carrier and attempt to put it through the X-ray machine. Babies should be carried through a walk through metal detector by a parent or guardian.

Really?  You know someone must have actually tried this...

On the airplane
-When you are taking off or landing, be prepared!  Have a bottle or pacifier at the ready.  BUT if your baby is asleep, let him or her sleep. 
-If there is an open seat next to you, put down the diaper pad and change your baby there instead of using the cramped lavatory.

-If your child is flying for the first time, kindly ask a flight attendant for a flight logbook and wings.  American Airlines was happy to oblige. 

Traveling with a baby certainly requires more planning, more organization, and more patience.  But it is definitely doable!  In fact, Brian, Noah and I are considering taking to the skies later on this year.

Have you traveled with a baby recently?  If so, what worked for you?


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