Wow! Did Thanksgiving show up quick this year or what? If you follow @birthfitcleveland on Instagram, you probably saw that our family did a lot of traveling this year! In just under 9 months, Otto visited 7 states (Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, and California!). We flew to Wisconsin, Texas, and California. The other states were road trips. For Otto and Eric, these were “fun” trips, but for me, these trips were mostly for work. I was fortunate enough to have them tag along. Otto is nursing and truthfully, I am not ready to be away for him overnight. With the busiest travel weekend around the corner, I thought I would share some of what we learned this past year. Boy, did we come a long way from our first trip.
1) Car seat bag. If you are traveling by plane, this is a MUST. The first flight Otto took was to Texas. I honestly did not know these bags existed until I saw other parents with them at the airport. Eric just carried the carried the car seat through the airport (facepalm). I flew to Wisconsin with Otto solo and this bag was key. Here are a few from Amazon!
2) Feed your baby during take-off and while descending. One of my biggest concerns before we took our first flight with Otto was that he would cry on the plane due to his ears bothering him. I had been given the pointer from other parent friends to nurse during take-off and while descending (or bottle feed). This was so key for us!
3) Bring some toys, but don’t pack “all the things”. If you know me, you know I hate clutter. The first time we traveled by car to Chicago with Otto, we had a suitcase alone just with toys, plus the pack and play, two carriers, and I’m sure so much more than I’m remembering. We barely used any of it! If you are flying, most airlines will allow you to bring an extra personal item (diaper bag/pump) if you are nursing/pumping or have an infant with you. Especially when traveling alone, I found it easiest to throw a bunch of diapers, pack of wipes, change of clothes, and 1-2 toys in my personal bag (I did the same on road trips). I also wore a teething necklace that my son could play with!
4) Flying with breastmilk. These pointers were again shared with me from another mama and worked so well for us! We did need to bring breastmilk on a few of our trips and needed to bring some home as well. Having it frozen before going through security makes it super easy for security! Let them know as you are preparing your items that you have breastmilk, especially if you would prefer it does not go through the scanner.
5) Does my infant need his/her own seat on the plane? Most airlines do not require you to purchase a seat for your lap infant (<2 years old). However, you can purchase a seat and bring your car seat. Check with your airline. Know your child. If you purchase a seat will your baby want to be in your arms the whole flight? If you do not purchase a seat for your child/car seat, you can gate check a car seat and stroller for free! (Double check with your airline!).
I hope these tips help you on your holiday travels!
Candace Gesicki, DC