I got a lot of advice about parenting and caring for an infant. There are SO many opinions and everyone seems intrinsically tied to their opinions as if their very life or their child’s life depends on it. I can see how we got here, well, at least I have a theory. We live in a country and time in which we are told that we are the best and that how we view the world is the best and really the best and only way to live – even though expressing that out loud is also considered rude and intolerant if you refuse to validate another person’s view/opinion. We are simultaneously expected to accept and tolerate and cheer for everyone else’s views as if they are just as right as our own. This makes the best of us go cuckoo.
Back to parenting and off my soapbox – I know lot’s of great kids and adults that were raised in very different ways. But, there is one area in which I feel like I should share the advice I have been given. Traveling with a baby.
This advice comes from men and women who’ve traveled all over the world with all types of babies. Take it or leave it, but in my “HUMBLE” opinion – take it.
- Wear your baby through security and when boarding the flight. Have you ever worn your baby? I highly recommend getting something to wear him/her in. It is useful at the grocery store, walking to get the mail, walking your dog and I bet it’ll come in handy when I have two babies and need to keep the second one close as I chase the first one around. It has already been a lifesaver when going through security at the airport and also when boarding the plane. I have several and it is totally a personal preference thing, but I really like the Solly Wrap for traveling. This is just like the Moby wrap, but a thinner/lighter and softer fabric. You can throw it in your diaper bag or purse when not using it. When traveling alone, wearing #cavebaby has been a necessity. Folding your stroller and getting it on the conveyor belt would be tricky without it.
- Make sure you nurse or feed your baby on take-off and landing. This helps his/her ears pop and acclimate to the elevation change. I typically wait a few minutes after take-off, when my ears start to feel the pressure. It seems we always ascend and descend much slower than it takes my baby to eat so I have to be a little strategic.
- Without fail, my son has a HUGE bowel movement (I’m talking poop all over him, all over his clothes, all over the blanket he has purposely been wrapped in every time since the first time so that it didn’t get all over me. poop!) while on the plane. This is what we like to call a blowout, resulting in the need for a full outfit change. Therefore, bring an extra onesie or two and also a few of those little baggies (grab a handful at your local dog park) to put stinky clothes in, stinky blankets in, your stinky clothes in, maybe even the whole plane seat. You can also buy these baggies in the baby section of most stores.
- Relating to #3, bring an extra shirt for you too. Nobody wants to smell like spit up or poop during a trans-america flight.
- Changing his/her diaper right before you board helps with this too. Leaves more room for that big bowel movement. My best guess is the change in pressure…why else would he do this to me every time we are stuck, seat-belted in to a cramped metal tube hurtling through the sky?
- Always take the stroller and carseat all the way to the gate and gate check it in case of delays and things. It is a bit cumbersome when going through security but TSA has been helpful more often than not and it was really nice to be able to stroll #cavebaby around when our redeye was delayed. I forgot my stroller this last trip and lugging my chunk-a-munk through the airport was quite the strength-building exercise.
- When you get to the gate and check in (to get the gate check tags for the stroller and carseat), ask if they have any extra seats (or if the flight is full). If they do, you can ask if you can have the seat for your carseat. This was a LIFESAVER on our red eyes because he slept in his carseat the whole flight. I haven’t done this on the shorter flights except once or twice because it is honestly probably just easier to hold him for an hour or two than lug the carseat through the narrow aisle of the plane.
- If there are three seats on each side, seat yourselves in the aisle and window towards the back of the plane in hopes that no one will take the middle seat. If they do, then you have a nice surprise for them when you offer them the aisle or window, depending on your preference. We also sit in the back because more families tend to sit back there, but my experience has been that changing tables are in the front lavatory in a plane. They obviously didn’t consult the moms and dads with that design. dumb.
- If you don’t have your babies SS card or birth certificate yet, you can use vaccination records as ID. You need ID for all passengers, even if you didn’t purchase a seat for your infant.
- You can bring bottles of milk and/or formula that are over 3oz through security. Just declare them so they are aware.
- If you can, stay calm, cool and collected. Babies pick up on our anxiety. If you assume the flight is gonna go well, it just might :) And if it doesn’t, well, embrace the journey. It’ll make a great story to tell the grandkids one day.
That’s all folks! If you have advice to add, I would love to hear it! In seven months, #cavebaby has been on two red eyes and 6+ other flights and I need all the advice I can get. Just don’t be offended if I don’t follow it ;)