This week was arguably the worst week of my life. My grandmother passed away and while I could do a post about loss, I am not really capable of going there yet. It sucks- we’ll just leave it at that. After traveling from Seattle to Florida with a nearly 5 month old baby, I can share some things that definitely helped me out.
1. The number one thing you should be concerned about is comfort- for you and baby. I wore yoga pants and a tank top with a cardigan. That way nursing would be easier and I was most comfortable. I wore flip-flops so that getting through TSA would be as easy as possible.
2. If you are flying: make sure you have a pacifier, a bottle, or plan to breastfeed during takeoff and landing. This will help with the change in cabin pressure. My ears always pop and hurt on planes so I cannot imagine how bad it would be for a baby. I stuck the pacifier in Caleb’s mouth for all of the 8 takeoffs/landings and he didn’t cry once. (We later found out that Caleb had an ear infection which doubled my surprise that he didn’t fuss once on the plane rides).
3. Use some sort of baby carrier. I used my Ergo carrier once I got to the airport so I could walk around hands free. It was wonderful during our layover as well and riding the various airport skylinks/shuttles etc. One downside was that SeaTac airport let me pass through TSA with Caleb strapped to me, they just did a body search. They gave me the option of taking Caleb out or having a pat down. Since I was traveling alone, it was better to leave Caleb strapped to me and get searched. The Pensacola, FL airport is another story. The woman at TSA made me take Caleb out. I tried to tell her to search me as SeaTac did but she wouldn’t budge (there definitely needs to be uniformity between all airports and I am complaining to TSA about this). I’ll end it here because I went off on the woman in the way a stressed out, emotional wreck, two-handed mom with too much to carry would…
4. If you are flying alone, check your luggage and only bring the diaper bag as carry on. You can check your car seat for free as well as check your stroller (if you bring one) while you are boarding the plane.
4. Bring baby tylenol. You NEVER know what could happen.
5. Pack enough diapers for every hour you will be gone. I came home with quite a few diapers but it is better than not having enough.
6. Bring three changes of clothes for each day you will be gone. Same as with diapers- you will be happier to have more than enough than to be in a bind in the airport.
7. Get a good backpack diaper bag. I have a messenger diaper bag and it is not as efficient (or easy) as carrying a backpack. Bending over with a messenger type is difficult and the backpack diaper bag is so much easier to travel with. I bought the Columbia Trekster diaper backpack and it was awesome. (Some places say it is $140 but I got mine at Babies R Us for $50). It is actually pretty small but it is so functional and was really comfortable. I love this diaper bag!
Here is what I recommend packing in your diaper bag:
- Diapers/wipes for the duration of the flight/trip
- Baby Tylenol and other medications for your little one
- Change of clothes for baby (shirt for you)
- Pacifier, bottle with milk/formula, Udder Cover (this was a dream on the plane!)
- Rattle/toy for baby to play with
- Bulb syringe for snotty noses (you never know)
Did I mention I flew from Seattle to Florida with a baby in tow (total time in flight was 12 hrs), for the first time, all by myself…and Caleb was sick! It was stressful- to say the least. You might be wondering why I would take a sick baby on a cross country journey. I had no choice; he had gotten over his fever and Manfriend couldn’t get time off work, plus I really wanted my family to meet Caleb because babies seem to help a lot when there is a loss in the family (and I would miss him too much).
The most impressive thing to me was how helpful and friendly other travelers were. People were always willing to help and my seat mate even held Caleb a few times while I got something out of our diaper bag. Overall, traveling with a baby was less frightening than I had stressed out about. I would definitely prefer to have had Manfriend with me but I am pleased to say I did it alone- and it was a success!