Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend! Matt, Charlee and I just got back yesterday afternoon from a long weekend in NC visiting my side of the family. It was a wonderful weekend and the most exciting part of it was that my sister announced to the world she is having a baby!! We are so excited and thrilled that Charlee will have a cousin so close in age! Baby Miano coming October 2018!!
This past trip was Charlee’s 6th round trip flight since she was born. I have travelled once alone with her and the other times Matt has been with me. I wanted to round up my tips and tricks for traveling with baby. Keep in mind that Charlee is currently 7 (almost 8) months old so these are tips for ages 0-8 months. I am sure my tips will change once she becomes a bit more mobile 🙂
Before I get in to logistical tips, I want to tell you all to make sure you add your baby or lap child to your ticket. Matt and I didn’t realize we had to do this until we arrived at the airport! It doesn’t take long to add the baby, but it’s way easier to get it done ahead of time. You can call the airline to add your baby. Also, I’d bring a picture of your baby’s birth certificate just in case they need to see it. Some airlines do, but a photo suffices.
Tips for packing baby’s suitcase:
If you’re traveling somewhere that you won’t have a washing machine, make sure to bring two outfits MINIMUM for baby per day. Charlee used to spit up a lot so we would have her in multiple outfits per day. I would love to say that I am a minimalist packer, but I find that overpacking (or just packing more than you think you need) when it comes to a baby makes things way less stressful. I hate not being prepared and by making sure I have what I need (even if I don’t use it) lowers my anxiety and helps me relax when traveling. For baby, I always make sure I have enough diapers and wipes in her suitcase for when we get to where we are going. Sometimes I’ll buy them when we get to our destination but I prefer getting to where we are going and not having to stop at CVS to pick stuff up.
Use ziplock bags to keep tiny items organized. I organize her baby shoes and hair bows in one large bag, her medicine, nose frieda and basic baby toiletries I use for her in another, and her socks and bibs in a third. This keeps me organized!
The first time I traveled with Charlee, I had a carry on filled with all of her clothes, diapers, pacifiers, wipes , extra formula etc. I was panicked that we could potentially lose her bag and then be screwed upon landing if we checked it. This ended up being more of a hassle than it was worth because we also had the travel stroller, carrier and diaper bag so we just had so much crap with us to carry around the airport. I would recommend checking your baby’s bag UNLESS you are going somewhere that you aren’t comfortable finding your baby’s necessities in local shops if your bag gets lost. I would most likely carry on Charlee’s things if we were traveling internationally. Domestically, I am totally comfortable finding what she needs at Target!
That sounds like a lot but it actually all fits comfortably in this backpack. All of these items are necessary for us to travel with but I wanted to explain a few of them. The disposable diaper change pads are awesome because you can just throw them away after you use one. Public bathrooms are yucky and you just never know what kind of germs are on the surface. I used to hate putting my own diaper pad down and then putting it back in my diaper bag with all the germs on it. These pads eliminate that worry! I also wanted to share how helpful a muslin blanket is. Charlee likes to sit up and play on her own so bringing this blanket makes this a lot easier. I can lay it on the floor of the airport and spread out her toys so she isn’t in contact with the germs. I also use this blanket on the plane as well. Charlee gets very stimulated and has a hard time sleeping when people are moving around. I’ll pop her under the blanket and sway her to sleep. The muslin fabric is very light weight and keeps her from getting hot.
Curbside check all of your items if you can. Obviously this doesn’t work if the weather is really cold, but I find this super helpful when traveling without Matt. It can be a circus trying to get baby from the car, our of her car seat, into the carrier and all of your luggage into the airport and in-line. Thank God for curbside check! I really recommend checking your car seat, unless you plan on buying a seat for your baby and putting them in the car seat. We have never done this and it seems like it could be a lot more work just lugging it through security etc.
Buy a carseat travel bag. I really recommend this one. Bags that are checked aren’t really secured in the airplane so with turbulence things can get damaged. Using a great travel bag for your carseat is going to really protect your car seat. It also protects the car seat from germs too!
Use a travel stroller when traveling. Matt and I bought a great travel stroller by Mountain Buggy. It’s super lightweight and folds down super compactly making it easy to take on to the plane and put into the overhead compartment. It also reclines very low so I was able to use this stroller when Charlee was around 4 months old. I love the Mountain buggy.
If your baby is old enough for toys, pack small but distracting ones that attach easily to a paci-clip. This is so ideal since the ground is gross at the airport. I would clip Charlee’s noggin stick or banana teether to her bib and let her play. She was able to drop it and I wouldn’t have to worry about germs.
Ask for help! People love babies and are so willing to help you. I asked for help when I was traveling alone with Charlee and it made it so much easier.
Take your time. There is no rush! Getting through security is stressful, and trying to do it quickly is even more stressful. People can wait! Just take a breath and take your time.
Wear your baby! Wearing your baby gives you free hands and more mobility. You also can go through the security line with your baby on you. If you have them in a car seat, they will make you take your baby out before going through so keep that in mind for naps etc. The only time you are not able to wear your baby is for take off and landing, so try to keep your baby from falling asleep in the carrier before you board, unless of course they transfer out of the carrier well!
You can pack as many liquids as you need when traveling with a baby, but note that you WILL get a bag check. I would recomend putting all of the liquids into a plastic bag so you can just pull it out when they check your bag. I used to do a bag of the formula and then another bag with wipes and diaper cream. All of these items set off the alarm and will get tested and checked.
Get to the gate early if you can. We always leave 2.5 hours before out flight leaves to give us extra time to get where we are going. You are able to board first if you have a child with you. Take advantage and be at the gate early!
If you are traveling alone, sit on the aisle. If you are traveling with a partner, sit by the window. When I was alone traveling with Charlee I loved being on the aisle in case I need to hop up and walk her down the aisle without bothering anyone. When traveling with a partner, the window seat is better and can be great for baby. Charlee loves to look out the window.
Bring Snacks! I pack a ton of snacks for Charlee because it’s a great way to distract her. I will pack baby Mum Mums and puffs and let her eat as many as she wants. It sometimes buys me an extra 30 minutes of her sitting in my lap!
Change your baby before you get on the flight! I have not had to change Charlee on a flight before because I always did so right before we took off. Keep in mind the flights have been max two hours for us, but it definitely helped to change her right before!
Remember, babies cry. It’s sad but true! It’s the only way they know how to communicate. If your baby is crying on the flight, just take a breath and keep calm. Try not to think about other people. Your baby will feel your energy and be more upset. One time Charlee was very upset and wouldn’t stop crying for 10 minutes! That felt like a lifetime!!! I stayed calm though and rocked her back and forth and finally she just passed out on me and slept the whole rest of the flight!! In the end she cried for 10 minutes and that’s it. No sweat off my back or anyone else’s!
Dress your baby in layers for the flight! I have been on flights where the temperature is FREEZING and then another where the plane is so hot. I always try and put Charlee in footie PJ’s with a sweater on top, a cotton hat, and booties (I just got these booties and love them! They stay on really well and are under $10). If the plane is too hot, I can take off the sweater, hat and booties and monitor her temperature.
If you can, fly out in the morning. Babies are their happiest in the morning after a good night’s sleep. We try and leave around 9 or 10 in the morning and that has been the best time to travel with her so far. Obviously we can’t always do this, but morning flights tend to be a bit easier.
If you are traveling alone, don’t sit in the first row of the plane. You will have to put your diaper bag above for take off and landing and it’s super annoying. That said, Matt and I always sit in the front when we are together because there is a ton of room and I can pop Charlee on the ground on her blanket and let her play with toys. I only do that when we are together though because we have two sets of hands!
Bring a change of clothes for yourself! I always bring an extra shirt for myself in my diaper bag. I have used it a few times! Once because of a spit up incident and another because of a diaper blowout!
Have fun!! You and your baby are on an adventure! I’ll never forget how nervous I was to take Charlee on our first flight just us. I had anxiety for weeks! It ended up being SO MUCH EASIER than I thought it would be and really fun! It was a Mommy and Charlee adventure and a memory I will always cherish.