Traveling with a baby/toddler can be challenging! Jackson and I completed our mission of 24 flights under 24 months. We started at 8 weeks and our last trip got us to our goal at 19 months. All but maybe 2 flights went amazing. Did I mention 17 of these flights was a solo mission (Just Mama + Jack) If you have someone flying with you it’s amazingly comforting to have extra hands, familiar face and calming vibes.
Jackson has conquered many trips.. some little as 45 minute flights to San Diego up to 11 hour flights to London, this kid has seen it all. Adventures are fun, but can be a little overwhelming (especially solo)
Biggest challenge is the unforeseeable events of traveling.. Jackson was 9 months old and I was preparing myself for our biggest journey… London. Jared was out there for a month so we decided to come join the fun for part of his trip. Originally we had a direct flight from Phoenix to Heathrow booked at 8pm, which would’ve been amazingly stress free. The night before the flight got canceled due to low number of flyers… CRYING I called the airlines freaking out, they got us on a flight to Dallas with an hour layover then to Heathrow. Arrived at DFW at 8 pm, leaving at 9pm for London, until mechanical issues literally threw a wrench in our smooth plans. We didn’t end up taking off until 1 am. I was a mess, all alone, a baby who was holding it together but this meant he would wake up on the flight and be ready to start his day instead of sleeping through it.. Yikes. So I urge you to have a back up plan if you are stuck at an airport. Find where the french fries are and be open to change.
Fun things happen on planes.. Like when you forget to adjust your boob pad on baby’s first flight and leak all over yourself.. or a bottle full of breast milk wasn’t screwed on tight enough leaking all over diapers.. Just roll with it, it could be so much worse..
I personally think it is much easier flying before they start walking… but it’s still doable! Once they are in the walking stage I advise layovers, weird right? But so many airports have kid playrooms now! It’s an easy way to split the time and for everyone to stretch!
22 flights were technology free.. We caved on our last adventure to Washington DC.. Finally whipped out the Fire tablet that Jack got from Grandma last Christmas. Luckily we had already downloaded a movie for him and his favorite Fish Sensory App. Napping is his jam on planes (we are extremely lucky) so when he woke about halfway through the flight we let him watch a movie and he was in the zone.
First things first, be prepared. The last thing you want is a million people waiting on you to take out all the snacks and liquids while a baby is strapped to your body screaming.
Tips for being prepared follow..
1. ZIPLOCK everything. Bottles, snacks, any/all liquids.
2. Have the liquids/security line bag at the top of your bag so it’s easy to pull and throw in that bin. (This includes wipes)
3. If you can, avoid bringing in filled bottles (unless breast milk, then expect the security guard to flag it down and run some test on it)
4. You can buy milk/water after security checkpoint. (airports are having more organic/allergy friendly options these days)
5. Most airports allow you to go through the special needs line to avoid long waits through security checkpoint. ( Some will allow you to keep shoes on if baby is wrapped on you) Don’t put toddler in shoes until you’re settled at gate if they needs to walk around.
6. American Airlines (and I’m sure others) have almost always been able to move seats so if you’re flying with baby you can get an empty seat or row to yourself. Ask at the gate if there is any way to move to an empty row so baby doesn’t disturb others. *also if you get the whole row it makes it easier to change baby’s diaper instead trying to go into the tiny bathroom. Bring Doggy Bags for diapers and hit the flight attendant button to have them throw it away.
7. Check car seat/stroller at the ticket booth and wear baby in a sling. (Less stress trying to fold things as you are trying to get into the plane)
8. Amazon has cheap cover bags so your gear doesn’t get dirty!
9. Car seat/ Strollers fly FREE. So one less thing to stress!
10. Bring an extra outfit for baby (and socks), diapers, snacks in carry on (any Pumping equipment, there is an AC/DC converter that you can plug into rental cars to pump in the car, don’t forget ice packs *they will scan those and test them* and BM bags)
11. Baby gets a free carry on too! So bring the big diaper bag!
12. Stay Hydrated. (and maybe a treat for yourself)
13. Pacifier clips (if your kiddo uses a pacifier, they save you from billions of germs that your child will insist on collecting as they throw their pacifier all over the world)
14. Hair tie, you’ll wanna throw your hair up.
15. Change baby’s diaper right before getting on plane, try to wait to give them a bottle until right before/during take off it’ll help distract them and I heard if they are sucking on something it helps with the cabin pressure (although we’ve never had any issues with it)
16. Keep your phone accessible/check if you plane a plug outlet*, last thing you want is to try to bend over in those tiny rows digging for you phone while baby is sleeping.
17. When you get your seat, shove baby bottle, snack and toy in the seat pouch making it super simple to have everything at your fingertips.
18. Try to book flight during nap time or bedtime, pop that bottle or boob in and boom, sleeping baby.
19. Don’t be afraid to walk around the cabin, lift baby up, let him see strangers faces and making weird noises to keep your little one happy.
20. Only bring what you NEED for Traveling and 1st Day, if you’re staying around a Walmart/local store you can always buy small pack of diapers, snacks, formula, bath products, etc at the store and way less to pack!
**Just remember, if your baby is THAT kid on the airplane, you’ll never see those strangers again and it happens. Just breathe, go with it and try to enjoy the little adventure ahead!**
Tips to those family members/friends flying with someone that has a baby:
1. Stay cool, Mama is probably a little stressed (especially if it’s first time flying with baby)
2. Keep it light, throw in some humor and remind Mama that it’s part of the journey.
3. Offer to hold bags (get liquids out at security)
4. If baby is frustrating Mama, try the distraction tactics (silly faces, noises, help dig through diaper bags.
5. Avoid saying stupid things…
You landed Tips!
1. If in hotel, request pack in play/crib
2. Travel sized bathtubs are easy packed travel gear. (Walmart has one that folds up perfectly)
3. If you’re staying for extended amount of time, door swings are a great activity for baby that are small enough to put in suitcase
4. You can RENT car seats, so if you would like to carry one less thing there ya go!
5. Doggy bags for all diapers
6. Make sure hotel has a fridge. (We stayed at the Residence Inn, I think, and they have little kitchens that make it soooo much easier to prepare food/drinks)
7. Bring extra sippy/bottle and request small dish soap (or look at local store) to you can keep up with dishes that little one uses
8. I always bring a blanket or pillow that smells familiar for baby, it helps them sleep.
9. Video Monitor, it’s a life saver when they are little, plus you can step outside on the patio or enjoy yourself at families houses without worrying the baby is crying. *If you forget monitor and have access to 2 phones or laptop skype/facetime and mute the one in the baby’s’ room*
10. Travel sized chair/tray (You can throw this into your Car seat/stroller bag at airport- it’ll make eating simple for baby if you don’t have access to high chair)
I hope some of this was helpful! Have happy adventures!