One of the few perks of year-round schools is the month long breaks. Sure the summers are shorter, but I personally love the idea that during the holidays we can go away for a month. That was exactly what we did. I imagined the scenario of me traveling with my kids. I questioned whether or not I would be able to do it. Sure, I've been on the plane more than 20 times. But with a baby? I worried about the stroller falling apart. What if I run out of diapers? Should I put him in his carseat? How can I store my luggage when I can't reach it? And the most confusing puzzler - How the heck am I going to use the restroom? You can skim through my recommendations just reading the first few sentences or chuckle at my mishaps by reading all of it, your pick.
First off, check-in your luggage. Really. Invest in a roomy and comfortable backpack and call it a day. I did the opposite. I was so paranoid that I would be stuck somewhere and run out of wipes, diapers, and milk (mind you my little chunky is breastfed). I packed extras to my extras. Extra clothes and diapers went into my backpack, while supplies of everything to include snacks and medicine went into my spinner luggage. I figured, I put the baby in the stroller, while my lovely five year old can push the luggage. I underestimated the meltdowns that came along with being jet lagged. She refused to roll the luggage because she was so tired. There I was with a hungry and cranky five year old, pushing my 7-month old in his infant seat attached to his stroller, and trying to roll the luggage. We still had a layover to conquer.
You say, all you are bringing is a backpack anyways? Great. Now what to pack? Aside from the usual baby diaper bag essentials like diapers, wipes, food, and change of clothes, I packed additional items I knew would help me during my travel.
- baby carrier
- Cares harness
- oversized toilet seat cover so your toddler and older kids do not touch the bottom of the seat when they swing their feet because my daughter almost always swings her feet.
- large disposable underpad instead of your changing pad. Why? Just in case you would need to change your baby on the ground, this is the most perfect solution. It folds flat, is lightweight, and has a waterproof liner. This liner will catch accidents as you are trying to clean up one. You fold it up and put in the trash. They sell these in drugstores or Amazon. Or the Goodnites pads from Huggies. I was fortunate enough to not have to change #2 diaper, but if I did, I would have opted to change him right there on the floor near the bathroom rather than the changer inside. My son likes to roll around as I change him. I worried about turbulence that might occur in the midst of changing him.
- plastic bag: flight attendants are not allowed to touch dirty diapers. Even if they were, more courteous. Re,e,berm they have the vodka, so be nice to them!
- Water bottle - with kids in tow, having the tray table down with a glass without a lid is just asking for trouble. At least with the water bottle, you can close the lid and put it in the seat pocket.
The answer to my crazy questions:
- Bring a stroller that you don't mind being banged up and thrown around. If it has a removable tray, remove the tray and carry that in the plane with you. We've lost a tray once and being in Paris with a fuzzy toddler who was unable to hold her cup was not a pleasant experience.
- Yes, for tiny babies, bring the car seat. The lady gave me the dirtiest look because she was unable to lean back. I would have felt bad except the seat next to her was open and she refused to move. I suggest bringing the car seat because during landing and take off, it is the safest place for a baby. They don't allow harnessing them onto you during those times and it is easy for them to slip through your hands when the altitude suddenly changes. Petites don't really have wide wing span to securely hold the baby, at least I don't.
- Bathroom breaks. I use the restroom at the last minute. If the handicap stall is not available, I park the stroller in front of my stall, tell my daughter to put her feet where I can see it, and she sings twinkle. If it is in flight, I ask the flight attendant to watch my daughter while I baby wear my infant. It's challenging because the seats are a tad bit high and I don't want any contact with it. I use my kid's oversized toilet seat cover for that.
Now you are set to go :). If this is your baby's first flight, don't forget to ask for their wings from the flight attendants. Bon Voyage!