Traveling with a Baby: Amelia's First Trip
No, but honestly, Amelia was so awesome. We were so excited to take her on our 2 week speaking tour of California. At 2.5 months old, she earned her first wings, taught us a lot, and honestly was such a good traveler. We loved getting the opportunity to travel and fly with a baby. The world is so new and precious when you watch your baby experience it for the first time. :)
Check out our podcast below to hear some of our stories from the trip and our best tips for traveling with a babe. Or read on if you're more of a reader. ;)
1. Pack light
We tried to fit everything we needed in one checked bag and a carry one. Somehow, we did it! (and if you travel a lot, you know this is hard!) :)
Our packing list for Amelia looked like this:
5 onesies (variation of long sleeve/short sleeve)
A couple pants
1 pair of bloomers
1 nursing wrap doubling as a blanket
*I wish we brought a pillow to lay her on for plane rides, but I stole my mom's ;)
Babies are resilient and don't need much other then love and cuddles. We just re-washed her clothes wherever we went and made do. It was SO nice not having so much stuff!
2. Have margin
Let's be honest, it WILL be different traveling with a baby. So plan ahead that things will take longer and give yourself margin. There is NOTHING worse then running around frantically, worried you'll be late to your flight, heavy bags in tow, with a screaming baby. Get places early, leave early, and know that you have to account for feedings, poop explosions, and extra cuddles.
For instance, we had to nurse Amelia quite a lot when we drove into Yosemite because of the elevation change and ears popping. This meant we had to pull over to nurse often. We could have been frustrated because it was taking twice as long, but we chose to leave early so we could enjoy the scenery and not feel rushed.
3. Check your car seat/stroller
This was a LIFESAVER for us. Some facts about bringing a car seat and stroller that I didn't know:
- It's free to gate check both and doesn't count against your luggage count.
- Airport staff are usually SUPER helpful if they see you with a baby and stroller.
- With a small babe, you can usually board the plane earlier to get situated.
- You don't have to bring that strange clicky-booster seat type thing that your car seat clicks into at home. I was freaking out about that, but realized you can JUST bring the car seat and seatbelt it into any car.
- They have AWESOME little stroller and car seat covers at Walmart & Target for gate checking. This ensures it doesn't get gross or banged up. Check them out here.
- If you can't travel with a swing (which is most of us), the car seat was an awesome alternative to lay her in when we were out and about, hanging in the living room, or outside. She could watch us all and I could manually rock it to put her to sleep. More work, yes. But great alternative to not have to bring a 10lb swing.
- Getting a resilient stroller was AWESOME because we took it all through out Yosemite and Marin Headlands. Helped give our backs a break!
Renting a car seat is always an option, but they can be around $10 a day, which would have been considerably more expensive. We loved having our's to provide her a consistent safe place that smelled like home and helped her sleep!
4. Flying tips
- Babies can be lap infants until 2 years old. We did not add Amelia to our reservation mistakenly and many of the airport staff told us we should have (we didn't see a spot for it). They let us through, but make sure to do this upfront! It doesn't cost you, but ensures they know you have an infant.
- For domestic flights (at least for us), you don't need proof of identity for baby. We brought her birth certificate just in case, but we were never asked for it. For our international flight in the fall, she did need a passport.
- As mentioned above, mommas with small babes can often board sooner. Ask the desk when you go to gate check your stroller and car seat
- If you're traveling with your babe as a lap infant, bring a pillow for the flight. Not having one was hard, but then we borrowed my mom's and she could lay right across Ryan and my laps comfortably. This was so much easier!
- Nurse during take off and landing to help soothe and create natural ear popping
- Babies love bright colors (especially red) so Auntie Cassidy watched the Lion King with her and she loved it. :)
5. Have an extra outfit and diaper on you at all times
This is in case of big poop explosions! Amelia happened to have one when we landed in L.A. It was a DOOZY! Poop smeared all up Ryan's arms and hands. We had to sit in the plane with said poop all over us as people got off. It was actually pretty funny. The bathrooms were all full in our terminal, so we ended up changing her on our hard top suitcase. We had diapers, but I realized that the extra outfit I packed was newborn size and she didn't fit into it anymore. So we had to wrap her in our nursing wrap/blanket and bring her to the airbnb as a little nakey babe. Oh well! Lesson learned. ;)
6. Travel with friends + family
We had most of our family with us and they made it SO much easier. When she had that poop explosion, they helped grab diapers and wipes. When we had to run to the store, they watched her for us. Extra hands that love your babe are so reassuring and helpful for your peace of mind. So, if you're making your baby's first big trip, we definitely recommend going with some people that love you and your baby! (and people don't mind screaming every now and then. ;)
7. Be chill
A couple rules for traveling with a baby that you have to live by.
- Things aren’t the end of the world. A poop explosion won't kill you or her. Find ways to laugh about it.
- Don't care what people think. Babies cry and most people have had one before. Apologize and be polite when needed, and then just let your kiddo do their thing. Don't be embarrassed. Most of the time, other people have been where you've been and feel for you!
- Babies are resilient. They've been surviving for thousands of years in so many different environments. This doesn't mean be stupid, but don't be fearful of everything. Yes, bad stuff happens, but bad stuff happens at home too. And A LOT more good happens. For me, I'd rather be out traveling with my baby and living life, then worrying at home that something will happen. As long as you're paying attention to their well being, feeding, changing, and helping them sleep (and giving them lots of affection), they are generally A okay!!
Happy Traveling, friends!