Have Baby Will Travel
I just made it out to Idaho to see my family for a week with Timothy. He is such an amazing traveler; and I think it’s because I started flying with him when he was only 3 weeks old on his very first trip out to Idaho. I can’t imagine being without my son, I always bring him along on every business trip as well. Many moms have asked me, “how do you travel alone with your baby?” or they tell me they’re afraid to fly on their own with their little one. I have it down to a science, I’ve done it so many times. I think Timothy has logged more miles in his 20 months of being alive than most people do in a lifetime. He’s been to Pocatello, Boise, Sun Valley, Miami, Tampa, Vero Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and even as far as Berlin, Germany.
Here are some tips I’ve learned as a traveling working mom who’s family lives across the country on how to travel with an infant:
*Get a great carrier. I personally have always used the baby bjorn and I still use it to carry Timothy in, I’m dreading the day he gets too big for it. Many moms swear by the ergo carrier, there’s also the beco carrier as well. Just find one that works for you, it’s your best friend for freeing up your hands while getting through security and carrying your bags through the airport.
*Find a good umbrella stroller. I have a maclaren stroller that my younger brother gave me and it’s easy to collapse. I use it to push the diaper bag and my purse when Timothy is on me in the carrier. I pull the little roller suitcase unless I’ve checked out big bag. I often ask someone to help me lift our stuff up on the conveyer belt at security; but worse case scenario I can still hoist it up. Uppababy makes a good collapsable stroller as well. You can take the stroller all the way to the gate and check it there. When Timothy was tiny, I used a snap and go with a car seat in it and it was great for the cabs to and from the airports. I always use carry Timothy as an infant in arms (free on flights until 2 years old); but you can also take the car seat on the airplane and buy an extra seat for your baby. Most car services have car seats available if you’re traveling without a car seat.
*Pack good snacks. I always pack my little BUILT cooler full of sliced apples, string cheese, greek yogurt and boiled baby carrots. I also bring ella’s nibbly fingers (Timothy is obsessed with them!), puffs, gold fish and raisins. I make sure to pack healthy snacks for both of us. Lately I’ve been making Amy’s pizza snacks for him the night before a trip and bringing the leftovers the next day as well. All of these items aren’t too messy and are fun finger foods for him to nibble on. I love that as a mom I can bring my own water and yogurt through security.
*Bring good entertainment. Books and stickers are great to bring for travel as well as a little toy truck or stuffed animal. I’ve found some good educational apps that I don’t mind Timothy watching for a little bit. He usually gets bored after a while anyways and the Fischer Price puppy is adorable. He’s learned letters, shapes, colors, numbers, storybook rhymes and animals from them. Fischer Price Little People is cute too. I always participate along and it’s the wave of the future so I’m ok with a little screen time on the plane. I also LOVE the Nighty Nighty! app where Timothy gets to go in and turn off the lights for all of the animals. It works like a charm if he’s due for a nap or needs to get back on sleep schedule once he’s in his new destination. A friend recently shared a great thing she does when she travels, she wraps up little presents for her daughter to open and brings them out along the way as her daughter gets bored or needs some new excitement. You can even just wrap a juice box or the raisins or anything little.
*Have an extra outfit in diaper bag. If I’m traveling first thing in the am, I often keep Timothy in his pjs and wrap him in his little blankie until we are at the airport. I let him run around in whatever he has on; and once it gets too dirty I will change him in to a new outfit after a diaper change. It’s always a good idea to have at least an extra little shirt or onsie. Of course wipes are a given and also nice to have boogie wipes or face wipes as well as diaper wipes on hand. I used to bring his changing pad but it takes up extra space and it’s easy enough to use an airplane blanket for changing.
*Always have something to suck on. I’m actually still nursing (didn’t think I would ever go this long!) so I have a good outlet for Timothy on take off and landing if his ears bother him. I’ve been lucky he never seems to be annoyed with the air pressure; but if you can have a sippy cup, bottle, juice box or boob it’s always nice for your little one for comfort. You can also bring along a sucker or two. Suckers are magical (for haircuts too) and you can find organic or sugar free ones if you’re bothered by the candy aspect. I think a tiny dum dum is not a big deal and I have a few in my purse always.
*Let them be babies. Don’t worry about everyone else on the plane! Many of them had little babies once too, and it’s lightens the mood when a beautiful young child is in the airplane. I let Timothy walk up and down the aisles, I let him play in empty seats in the back of the plane, he makes friends with the flight attendants (has many sets of wings now:) and he loves to turn on and off the light overhead. Of course, we try and maintain space for others and are as polite as we can be; but it’s nicer to have a happy baby than a fussy baby. When Timothy explores and has fun, he’s an easy going travel companion. Every time I’ve been on a flight everyone tells me how amazing and great of baby he is.
*Relax and have fun! Babies can always pick up on your tension. If you’re nervous and worried and uncomfortable, your child will be too. I just try and go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Don’t be afraid to travel alone with your baby. You will have a wonderful, bonding experience. It’s sometimes the only way I have a full uninterrupted chunk of time with my favorite boy in the world.
*Utilize an airport hotel: By staying at a hotel near the airport you can help eliminate quite a few stresses. Most importantly, you won’t need to worry about travel to and from the airport, as you can take the hotel shuttle. You can also revel in the fact that after landing at the airport you won’t be traveling another 30 minutes to an hour to get to your hotel. After traveling by plane for any period of time, most children are restless.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!