We recently went on a family vacation to Hawaii with my parents, sister, and niece. At first I was nervous about traveling with a 12 week old baby but it was easier than I thought it would be. Here are my must haves and tips for plane travel with a baby.
- Have a plan.
It is so important to have a plan going into it. Chicago to Hawaii is about an 8 hr + flight. Since Kinsley was only 12 weeks old at the time, we had decided to make it easier on her and us to just book a direct flight. Now this is both good and bad. A direct flight meant that we wouldn’t have to deplane, wait, and get on another plane, but it also meant that we were going to be on a plane for an extended period of time. I heard about the possibility of children’s ear popping and how some babies’ ears hurting, we decided that would ultimately be better for us to have a direct flight. It also helps that Kinsley was still sleeping for most of the day and I knew that she would most likely sleep through most of the plane ride.
Once you decide what type of flight you are gonna have, it is important to have a game plan on how to navigate and move around the airport. My husband and I both have Global Entry which means we also have TSA Pre-Check. If you like to travel, this is a must. It makes going through security a breeze. I did not carry breastmilk with me since I nursed before and after we went through security. I did bring formula just in case we were in a situation where I would not be able to nurse and even with the formula, I did not have any issues getting through. Having a clear idea of how the day is gonna go is very important. I also like to have a back-up plan just in case something goes wrong.
- Have the right gear.
Since Kinsley is still an infant, I knew we still needed the infant carseat with the base for the car. I had such anxiety about dragging all of the different gear since there are so many different pieces to keep track of. I also did not want our Uppababy Vista travel system to get lost or broken in transit. I had seen the Doona infant carseat/stroller on the internet so I had decided to make an investment and buy it before we went on vacation. Literally a carseat and a stroller in one. The best thing ever made. It is an investment but it was the best decision for us. It made it so easy to move around and to get in and out of cars. The good thing about the Doona carseat is that you do not need a base to use it in the car. It makes traveling so easy. I still use it all the time because our other stroller is usually in my husband’s car.
- Pack Smart and Be Prepared.
Make sure you have everything you need for you and the baby. We checked most of our bags to make things easier on us. Here are the things I had in our carry-ons.
-To make changing easy, I packed a gallon sized Ziplock bags with a changing pad, 4-5 diapers, diaper rash cream, wipes, and a change of clothes. It was easy to carry to the bathroom especially while holding a baby. I also had extra Ziplock bags to put any soiled clothes.
-Extra clothes and diapers for the baby. Have 2-3 extra outfits and extra diapers just in case but do not over pack.
-A change of clothes for me and my husband because accidents happen and a long flight means lots of sweating. You do not want to be the smelly passenger.
-Easy snacks, a nursing cover, and a couple of muslin blankets.
- Breathe and stay positive.
The best advice I can give is to remain positive and breathe. Traveling can be stressful and adding an infant to the mix makes it 10 times more stressful but it does not have to be. Babies cry and if your baby cries during a flight, just remember that it will be ok. Yes, some people will get annoyed but if you are trying your best and taking care of your child, it will be ok. Kinsley napped for about half the flight then got really fussy because the plane was hot. I knew she was uncomfortable so we tried to keep her cool and keep her happy. Normally, I would be freaking out because who wants to annoy other people? Before the flight, I told myself that if she cried the whole time, it would be ok because it is just one day. I was not going to let the possibility of her crying stop us from going on vacation. Keep a positive attitude and just remind yourself that it is JUST one day.
I had such a positive experience and I hope you will too. I have always believed that you CAN travel with your kids and I cannot wait to share more experiences with my little one.