After testing it out, it's time that I share with you our 10 tips for traveling with an infant. Earlier this summer we took Dean, then just over 3 months old, on a total of four flights and two four hour car rides within about a week and a half. I did all the research I possibly could on Pinterest and asked friends for their tips as well so I wasn't completely freaking out the entire time but could feel in control. Here's what we learned.
- Anything can be a toy, but packing a new toy is a good idea. This was one of the tips I took from Pinterest. Before our trip I went and raided Target's infant toy section. I found a few items on clearance (like Sophie the Giraffe, that he still loves to gnaw on) and then put them away so that during our flight they were new and would be interesting to him. This was particularly useful as the plane was getting ready to descend and he was getting restless. We also found that an empty water bottle that you could squeeze and make noise with got the job done too after the novelty of his new toys wore off.
- Find and use the family bathroom. This one seems obvious but when the family bathroom is occupied (by a man and his dog) and you've got a fussy baby it may seem easier to just go into the women's restroom alone and get the changing done with. Don't. It is so worth the wait to get the extra real estate. If baby screams during diaper changes you don't have to see anyone's looks, you can take a potty break too, and if you're traveling with someone they are there to help out. I may never use the regular restrooms again.
- Never be more than a minute away from a babies food. This one is a super win for breastfeeding mama's. However, I stopped breastfeeding so for us, our go to are the ready made bottles (we love these!). Having ready made bottles were a dream come true when Dean was over travel and ready to eat right in the moment. In addition to our ready made bottles we had disposable nipples ready to go as well. We still had enough from our stay at the hospital to get through our trip, but will be stocking up soon because this combo is perfect for running around town as well. We also had formula in a formula dispenser for just in case situations. My fear was that TSA would take our ready made but we made it through with 3 bottles for each flight. I had them in a separate bag that was easy to access that made going through security pretty easy.
- The window seat is a baby's best friend. Dean loved staring out the window and propping him up on our laps so he could enjoy the view was one of the things that calmed him the most. Additionally, if baby is in the window seat you don't have to deal with people needing you to get up every time they need to stretch their legs or use the restroom.
- Curious George will always come through in the clutch. Whatever show your kids likes, keep it queued to get to it fast. While Dean may be a little too young to really get shows, Curious George is one that he will always settle down and look at. This came in handy on our road trip in the car for keeping him entertained after we passed the three hour mark.
- The closer to nap time the better. This was a godsend for us. For the most part, Dean slept through his plane trips. We would keep him up through the process of going through security and getting ready to board. After boarding, we got him fed and he slept pretty soundly the entire way. While this also meant that flights were at odd ours like 5am and we had to be out of the house by 3am, it ended up great because he was still so sleepy!
- Stay humble or get humbled. No matter how amazing things are going, don't get cocky. This was my downfall. Dean was incredible on his flights and although we went completely across county he never adjusted to the time change which meant he stayed pretty much on his schedule from home. It was awesome, until it wasn't. One night about half way through the trip he decided he wasn't going to sleep. At all. It was the first time since his first weeks that I felt defeated. We muscled through it and things did look back up but I will never assume things will be perfect. Ever. Again.
- Pack Excedrin and don't be ashamed to use it. Seriously, I get headaches. Especially when I'm tired and my baby is fussy. In public I think we don't give ourselves enough grace so we add to the stress by just trying to keep everything together. Hand baby to whoever you may be traveling with, walk away, take the pills and return a new woman.
- Organize your diaper bag for quick changes and access to the necessities. When I was pregnant my big splurge for myself was this Pacapod Firenze Diaper Bag. I caught it one sale and while even then it was still pricey, it was worth it when it came to organizing all of Dean's things so that we weren't digging into a bottomless pit when it was time to feed, play, or go through security. I plan on doing a review of my bag soon and how we used it to get through security quickly! In the mean time, here is a more budget friendly version.
- Forgive yourself in advance for whatever may happen and screw what other people think. Your baby just hates flying and the person sitting next to you is disgusted? So what. That person is a jerk and your kid has just as much of a right to fly as they have to take their shoes off and expose their nasty feet or encroach on your arm rest. You are amazing and are doing your best and for every person who doesn't get why you are flying with your infant, there are three mama's or grandmother's on your flight who get it and will lend a helping hand. You got this!
These tips really helped us get through traveling with our babe with our heads not spinning. If you have any other questions drop them below and I'll respond there or in an additional post.