The first time I flew, my son was 5 months old. Preparing for the trip, was stressful to me. Despite my love for traveling, it wasn’t as easy as just taking care of myself. Suddenly, I had to plan what to pack for 5 days for a baby who may wear 10 outfits a day and have countless diaper explosions. I have seen, the photos of celebrity’s getting off planes looking fashionable and together. I knew right away, I was not going to be one of them! I was going to be the pack mule.
Strollers and car seats
This is every mother’s first question. What do I do with the car seat? It doesn’t fit in the overhead bin and if I check it, it will be damaged! Same with strollers, not to mention, a stroller is incredibly useful when walking through the airport! The key is gate checking these items. The key to gate checking, is getting to the counter early. Not the check in counter but your gate counter. That means if they suggestion 3 hours for international flights, do it. If you are cutting it close, you might find that they don’t have any room left to gate check your huge stroller or carseat. Do not leave this to chance! So when you get to your gate, before you do anything else, go to the counter with your two items and get the tag! You can keep the items with you, until you board. After you get your tag, go find someplace to eat, ride the escalator, go shopping, go to the bathroom…
Airport bathrooms and changing tables. I can’t think of a more germ infested place to lay my perfect 5 month old baby down. So for those preciously new babies, bring a large blanket to cover the entire changing table. You can also do what I did, and change them on your lap, while your husband blocks everyone’s view. Once, my son grew older, I used the standing trick, both he and eventually my daughter would stand on the changing table and I would do the worlds fastest change. Remember to keep one hand on their back at all times, and lay everything out and ready to grab before you stand them up there. I, now have a potty training daughter and I invested in a portable seat cover from Amazon. What I love about this one, is that it folds up and fits in my purse. It comes with it’s own bag too.
Boarding the Plane
Yes, you can get on first with most flights because you have kids. But don’t. I strongly suggest being the last to board. Boarding can take 30-45 mins of extra time just waiting. When you are doing a 3/4 hour flight with wiggly toddlers, babies that want to crawl, that is prolonging the most stressful time in your life. Instead board last cram your bags under the chairs in front of you, because you will need everything in them!
What to pack in your carry on bag
A change of clothes or two. I don’t care what age your working with, diapers explode, milk, water, juice spills, potty accidents, etc. it happens and it always happens when you didn’t pack the change of clothes.
Then pack a change of temperature outfit. Leaving warm, going to cold. Have the hat and gloves and boots ready to go! Cold to Hot, (my preferred) have those shorts ready to go! I have changed kids while waiting in a customs line! They are tired, they are overwhelmed, they are hungry and they are bored, don’t add overheated or freezing to the list.
Yes the plane has stuff, but not enough, not your kids favorite and they are not fast enough. So have the winners, no I don’t think 20 bags of fruit snacks are a good idea, but if it keeps your kid in his seat or stops him from kicking the seat in front of him or yelling, crying, crawling on the ground, then by all means, eat the entire box!
You need these at take off and landing. Make your kids drink their bottle. It will help pop their ears and keep them from crying. Pack extra in your checked bags. After I get out of the airport and plane, my sippy cup always feels like it needs to be washed. So I keep extras. I have found, that at many resorts they have five min steamers at the bar, and they are usually happy to throw a sippy cup in for you. I visit those bars often!
Ipads- Down load an hour or 3 of different shows and go for it. Bring headphones for them!
Crayons, coloring sheets. My son is into Spider man this year and I plan on printing out 50 different pages of spiderman.
Take a walk
Before they are potty trained its okay to stand up and walk down the aisle. On my first trip to cancun, I did that for half the trip! You get to meet really nice people and see some really weird things!
Yes, nurse away. Especially at take off. I have found that when nursing I have the best flights. Nurse at take off they might sleep until landing!
I have found that prewalking babies do best when I baby wear them in the airport and on the plane. I use the stroller to carry my carry on bags. The airport is big with lots of people and craziness. Your baby will be much more content being as close as possible to you. Plus you will have two hands free. You do have to pull the baby out for security so be prepared. I have found sleeping babies don’t like that.
These are my last mins tips, have id and passports handy or give them to who ever you are traveling with. Your hands are full keeping your kid or kids with you. Slip on slip off shoes. I would wear flip flops to Denver without a thought just because who wants to be wrestling into a pair of boots with a kid strapped to you or a toddler trying to run down the corridor. Finally, today is a pony tale day. Its okay, tomorrow you can be put together. Today, is surviving. Which you will. If you are prepared, you will make it.