We traveled for the first time with Baby Archer for Thanksgiving! We flew to St. Louis where my sister in law was hosting. I was so excited to go but at the same time, a little bit overwhelmed about traveling with a 12 week old during holiday craziness! (Check out what our life is like at 2 months old!)
(SPOILER ALERT: He did great, he slept through both flights and as far as I know, no other passengers secretly resented us…)
Now that we made it through, I wanted to tell you what we did that made the trip EASY! (I’ve got a separate post coming about how to pack so stay tuned for that)
Before you leave
Simplify Your Routines. Think through all of the things you do without thinking for naptime, bedtime and bath time. Take a day and jot down EVERYTHING you use and then simplify it, you don’t need it all, I promise. Guess what, you don’t need the “Travel version” of everything. You don’t need a travel sound machine, a phone app or Spotify track will work just fine. You don’t need a different swaddle every night, just use the same one (even if you switch it up at home!)
Figure Out Your Car Seat!! Guess what I learned? Every. Single. Car seat has a way to be totally secure without a car seat base, bases are strictly for convenience. Who knew?? Not me! We have the Nuna Pipa car seat and we love it. It has a European Belt Path which means it buckles over the lap AND around the back (American is only over the lap). It’s really easy to google your Car seat name and belt path to figure out which one yours is. I didn’t practice buckling in the seat ahead of time and I wish I had. We were in a rush when we arrived and I had to secure it really quickly. It worked out but I wish I had more time initially to practice.
Overestimate Travel Time and take double the diapers! It’s really easy to think “oh, the flight is only 1.5 hours” BUT think about how long you’ll be at the airport ahead of time and how long it will take to get to the final destination when you get there. Our flight was an hour and a half but from leaving our house to arriving at our accommodations ended up being 5 hours. I took double the diapers per hour, so 10 diapers.
Think of imaginary schedules. Archer isn’t totally on a schedule so I don’t know what he’ll be doing at 12:30 every day but I know he’s awake for about 1.5 hours and then sleeps for about an hour and eats every 2.5 hours. So once he wakes up, I can kinda figure out the day-ish. Since our flight was at 12:45 I just kept him awake 15 mins longer and he slept through the whole flight!
Check the Weather (AND humidity). I checked the weather and realized we didn’t havea coat or hats for Archer for freezing weather so I had to make sure we had that before we left. I DIDN’T check humidity and that was a huge mistake!! It was so much drier than I realized and I didn’t bring any lotion or a humidifier so we had to figure that out when we got there.
Assign Tasks with your partner. I was lucky I wasn’t traveling alone this time so I was able to team up with Robert! Before we got anywhere we would run through what each of us were doing. “Okay you grab the stroller and car seat, I’ll have Archer in the carrier and go change him when we get through security”. It makes for WAY less confusion and keeps everyone on task and not overwhelmed by the whole thing.
During the Flight
Nurse/feed during takeoff or landing – This was the one thing everyone kept telling me! You could also use a pacifier but Archer doesn’t take one consistently. The sucking and swallowing motion keeps the pressure from bothering babies ears. But honestly Archer slept through takeoff and landing and it didn’t seem to bother him at all!
Pick your seat wisely – We flew Southwest so we didn’t have to pick ahead of time but here are my recommendations. If you’re nursing, pick a window seat so you can be discreet. If you’re bottle feeding and won’t be able to give a bottle during the flight, sit in an aisle seat so you can hop up and bounce the baby when they get fussy. This is where teamwork works again because we had a deal where Robert would handle diaper changes in the bathroom if needed since he was sitting in the middle. Also, there was NOT a changing table in the bathroom of our Southwest plane…
Bring something for the People Around You. I think the whole elaborate apology gifts for everyone on the plane is a little much (“Sorry if I’m fussy, here’s a king sized candy bar!”). BUT I do have a extra loud baby and I know not everyone else is used to it. So I recommend carrying a box of ear plugs to offer to the people around you if you really can’t get the baby calm. It’s simple, easy to keep in your bag, and helpful to the other passengers.
When you get there
Buy Diapers and Wipes. I only brought enough for the travel part (double what we needed). We bought 2 small packs of diapers and 2 containers of wipes when we got there and that got us through 5 days with diapers left over. This will save SO much space in your suitcase!
Take Multiple ways to carry the baby. We had an Ergobaby carrier and the carseat that clicked into this AMAZING travel stroller. We kept everything in the car we could assess what would work wherever we went. I wore him in the carrier most of the time.
Buy or bring Snacks. If you are a nursing mom DO NOT FORGET THIS!!! I did and went hungry a few times which paired with carrying a baby, made me exhausted VERY quickly. I’m dairy free and that made it so much harder to just grab something when I was hungry (which was all the time…). In hindsight I would grab some snacks while getting the diapers and wipes.
Find somewhere to do laundry. This is easy when you stay with family like we did and most AirBNB’s have laundry capabilities. I’m not sure how to handle a hotel, however. Make sure you have a stain remover with you or buy one there so that there isn’t as much pressure to wash clothes immediately!
This is what worked for us this time! We’re flying again in a few weeks and may do something completely different, who knows?
Do you have any baby travel tips?
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