Tips for Traveling with an Infant

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In the past several weeks, Isaiah and I have joined Shaun on two work trips. The first was for a short 3 day trip to Chicago and the second spanned New York City, Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston over 7 days. When Shaun invited us along, it sounded both exciting and a bit exhausting. I am here to tell you that not only did we make it through, but it turned out to be very enjoyable with our 3.5 month old. Here are a few things we learned along the way.

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Packing: 

  1. Plan, plan, plan.
    I had lists upon lists leading into our first trip. These included the number of outfits and burp cloths as well as the possible need for saline drops or infant Tylenol. You never want to be stuck somewhere without the necessities, however, space is valuable when packing as well. This is where your lists come in.
  2. Pack the things you won’t be able to buy first.
    Breastmilk is not something we can get in Chicago, so that was a non-negotiable on packing space. We took bags frozen in a cooler and made it work. We didn’t want to be lugging 12 suitcases and backpacks through the airport, but we also didn’t want to get there and realize we forgot everything we needed. We could always buy more diapers.
  3. If you have access to laundry, utilize it. 
    While Shaun was working and Isaiah and I chilled during the days, I was able to do laundry in the hotel. This freed up a lot of space so we didn’t have to pack 100+ burp cloths/onesies.img_3982
  4. Check a bag. 
    We used to be big carry-on people. 2 weeks in Italy, 10 days in Hawaii, never did we check a bag. Now, however, things have changed a bit. As you’re making flight connections and trying to grab a bite or much needed coffee during a layover, save yourself the trouble of carrying an infant and 12 bags.
  5. Pack your carseat. 
    Renting a carseat can be close to $100 for a few days – that’s a lot compared to how much the carseat we already own cost us. We purchased a cheap carseat cover bag with a shoulder strap that allowed us to pack it and other things tightly (and check it). That way, we’re ready to go in an Uber or a rental right when we arrive. {Fun fact: in NYC, it is legal to ride in a cab or Uber with a baby on your lap and no car seat if you’re cool with that.}img_3987
  6. Make sure your carryon bag has all your necessities. 
    Changing a poopy diaper in an airplane bathroom sounds horrible, yes. But realizing you forgot a diaper or wipes when you’re at 40,000 feet is much, much worse. Ensure that all your must-haves are easy to grab.
  7. Pack your favorite thin scarf/pashmina.
    These fashionable little guys can double as swaddles, blankets, nursing covers, and even keep you warm when you walk to dinner.
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Flying: 

  1. Plan your flights around baby’s routine as much as possible.
    As much as we could, we tried to plan our flights around times that would allow for the happiest baby. For example, for our little man, after 8 pm could be not so fun; he likes to sleep. On several of our flights, we left very early in the morning. The night before we dressed him in comfy pjs, and when we woke him up in the morning (depending on when he ate last), we would just change him and stick him in the car at the last minute and go straight to the airport.
  2. Baby-wearing is your friend.
    Right when we park the car at the airport, we put Isaiah in the wrap/carrier. This allows me to skip the security line and keep my baby close and as germ-free as possible. I wore Isaiah all the way to our seat on the plane. He gets very cozy and often falls asleep which makes ascent easier.
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  3. Feed your baby on ascent and descent.
    This helps with baby’s ears popping. If you bottle-feed, make sure to pack a lot of milk (in case you’re stuck on the runway) and don’t start feeding too early or you may run out; sometimes the plane takes a while to take off. If Isaiah was asleep, we didn’t wake him up and he seemed totally fine. If your baby loves a pacifier, this can work great on descent for ears as well.
  4. Pack things to entertain your babe.
    Even for a 3.5 month old, a couple of small board books and a toy or two helped tremendously in our longer flights. For older babies, this is even more important, I presume.
  5. Don’t worry about everyone else.
    If they’ve had kids, they understand. If not, oh well, you’ll never see them again. 😉

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We did it! And it was a ton of fun. We learned things along the way and would do things a bit differently in some cases, but we did it!

 

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