Get ready for a long post!
I won’t advertise myself as a travel expert but I am happy to share our experiences from our last trip flying to the East Coast. Claire is basically a seasoned flyer now seeing as how we flew to Vermont when she was 8 weeks old and now New York when she’s almost 6 months old. With that being said, she gets completely thrown off with the time change and not sleeping in her own crib for a week. It didn’t help that Daylight Savings Time ended on the Sunday after we returned as well. For the past week, we’ve had to start from scratch with getting her used to sleeping in her crib again which is another reminder why we need to limit the amount of time traveling until she’s a little older.
The items that we used the first time around were mostly still helpful with a few exceptions. There are also a few new items we used that made the trip so much easier. Here’s a link to my first post on traveling with a baby.
As for what’s changed this time around and some helpful tips:
- Our first time around, we kept Claire in the Moby Wrap through security, at the gate, and on the plane. Since that wasn’t the case this time (she’s not a big fan of it anymore), we realized on the way there that it would have been way more helpful to have the stroller with us at the gate. So, we kept it with us heading home and did not regret that decision. Yes, it’s less convenient going through security because we had to take her out and everything else that was in the stroller. But, we are those crazy people that like to get to the airport several hours in advance so it was nice having a place to lay her down for a nap and to rest our arms. I don’t know about you but we haven’t quite built up the tolerance to hold her jumping up and down for hours on end. For her trip when she was 8 weeks old, we actually left the stroller at home. For this trip, it was definitely an essential.
- I read a blog post from one momma about how she brought her My Brest Friend with her on the plane and what an amazing idea!! I don’t use my nursing pillow at home anymore but with having to hold Claire in my arms for several hours on the plane (especially the red eye there), it was a lifesaver. I actually brought a smaller nursing pillow that I got for free and could fit into my carry on but you could bring whatever pillow you have – My Brest Friend, Boppy, etc. etc. Thank you Sunny Day Sundays for the helpful tip!
Toys toys toys. We brought a crinkle book for Claire to peruse, Sophie la girafe, and her new favorite teether. It kept her entertained on our flight home which was in the middle of the day so we are so glad we brought them. We didn’t need any of these when she was 8 weeks old because she slept the entire time and wasn’t interacting with toys at that age anyway but they were an essential this time around.
- Since we were carrying a lot more items than last time, I needed a humongous carry on bag to stuff everything in. I bought this amazing bag from Target that I’ve fallen in love with.
- Another helpful tip from Sunny Day Sundays – a diaper changing station. The first time I used it on the plane, I swear I heard angels singing Hallelujah! On our flights to Vermont, I had the full diaper bag and bonked everyone sitting in the aisle seats on my way down to the bathroom on the plane to change her diaper. This time, I had a changing station and it was life changing (ha! pun intended).
- One last helpful tip from Sunny Day Sundays (by now, I hope you’ve gotten the message to just read her blog post) – Baby Banz headphones. Not only are they hilariously adorable on Claire, they helped block out some of the loud plane noise which was so helpful. Without them on, Claire was rudely awoken by every announcement the flight attendants and pilot made. With them on, she slept soundly through each announcement.
I didn’t know this until a month or so ago but some hotels provide cribs! That made our trip so much easier because we didn’t have to check yet another item on the plane. I called our hotel ahead of time and made sure they had a crib there for Claire to sleep in. With that being said, we stayed at two hotels when we were in New York – the first had a nice Graco travel crib and the second had an old travel crib that was definitely used a ton. We weren’t too comfortable putting Claire in the second one. So keep that in mind when you’re thinking about using the hotel’s crib – maybe ask them about the condition of it beforehand. If you’d rather travel with your own travel crib, we have an AMAZING one that we used when we went to Carmel for our anniversary. It’s the Guava Lotus crib and Claire falls asleep in it right away. It should work for her until she’s around 3 years old too, which means it will last a while.
- I would recommend researching the car seat laws wherever you’re traveling. New York law does not require babies to be in car seats while in taxis so, if you choose to get a taxi from the airport to wherever you’re staying, you shouldn’t have to travel with your car seat (if you’re not planning on renting a car). For us, we weren’t comfortable having her ride around in a car sans car seat so I researched car services that provide infant car seats and found a great one to use for our trip. It was such a relief to have her in a car seat!
Last but definitely not least, flying with frozen breastmilk. Because this was a business trip, I needed to bring frozen breastmilk for Claire for when I was gone for work events. We did a TON of research and finally figured out how to do it successfully. We chose to use dry ice to ensure that the breastmilk stayed frozen the entire time. For United Airlines, they allow up to 5.5 lbs of dry ice in a ventilated cooler that needed to be labeled indicating that there’s dry ice, the weight of the dry ice, and what perishable items are in the cooler. As far as packing it, we bought a cooler from Target and lined the bottom with newspaper, then put the dry ice in, then more newspaper on top, then we added the breastmilk and a frozen ice pack for extra precaution. Then we topped that off with a bit more newspaper and we were good to go. We labeled the container and brought duct tape with us so, after they inspected the container, it could be properly shut. I would recommend calling your airline before flying to find out what their regulations are.
What tips do you have for traveling with little ones? I feel like every age has a different set of essentials!