Traveling with a Baby

We have traveled a lot with Behr in 8 short months.

a 12 hour road trip to south carolina
an 8 hour road trip to connecticut
too many 2-4 hour road trips to count
round trip flights to florida and louisiana
a 4 hour airport delay
visiting at least 10 states

next month hold 2 more round trip flights and at least 2 new states

Is it easy to travel with a baby?  I firmly believe it is all what you make of it.  Here are a few things we have learned:

Car Seat: Bring your carseat but check it with the luggage. Checking it at the gate means one more thing you have to struggle with all day. We have done each once, and I now will exclusively check the car seat before security.

Security:  Forget the advice to wear your baby through security. Most airports make you take the baby out anyway. But I would suggest having your carrier of choice in your carry on luggage.

Stroller: Bring your stroller to the gate, but make sure to take everything out of the nooks and crannies, if there is stuff still in your stroller pockets, it slows down the security process, annoying you and the baby.  If your stroller folds easily, I would recommend brining your stroller of choice, not a lesser substitute.  You will be grateful in the airport and at your final destination, since strollers can be your lifeblood for activity with a baby.


Plane Seat: Window seats are easiest for us, but it is likely a personal preference. If the flight isn't full, you can get strategic: When flying solo, I plop down in the center and put Behr in the window seat while people board. When traveling with someone, we split the window/aisle with Behr between us. Having Behr spread out on a seat while people board typically deterrs folks from joining us, without actually paying for his seat.


Time of Day: The only advice for time of day, is leave your self plenty of buffer to get out the door and to the airport. No need to make yourself rushed because of a tight schedule. We have flown at all times of the day and nothing seemed particularly easier.  Remember to plan your nursing schedule around your estimated take off.

Milk and Bottles and Pump Oh, My! This is easily the issue I fretted over the most our first trip, which was for work, so I needed...everything!  I have flown with and without bottles, I think it depends on your needs at the time.  I try my hardest to not bring my pump when we fly.  It is too important for me to add it to checked luggage, and carrying it on takes up vital space.


Food: We always plan to feed Behr food as soon as we get to the gate and nurse during take off.  Here are a few keys that have helped us conquer food:
1. When traveling we scratch the homemade approach and get Plum or Happy Baby and serve it with the boon spoon attachment - screws right on the top of the food container. Minimal waste, optimal ease! {see gear guide below}
2. We bring a sippy cup for in between times, but mostly because Behr loves his, even though he hasn't actually figured out how it works!
3. Don't nurse too soon!!! On our first flight, Behr latched on as soon as everyone took their seats, and he was finished before we pulled away from the gate. I now wait until we literally are speeding down the runway, because the hardest part on the little ears is the altitude change.
4. If air pressure seems to be bothering baby, massage behind the ears - in the soft spot behind the earlobe between the jawbone and the neck. A father of three gave me this tip when Behr was SCREAMING on a very bouncy trip that involved several mid-flight altitude changes. 
Pack Light:  I was at a loss the first few trips.  Here is the list that I have perfected to work best for our family in our single carry on bag:  {note: bag must be easy to carry and put on/under the stroller}

3 toys - a board book, Sophie and something that attached to the stroller with links
5 diapers and a few wipes in a ziplock bag
4 pacifiers - they are small and drop easily and my life depends on them
1 burp cloth
1 change of clothes for baby

 + stuff for the grown ups: 
electronics and chargers, water bottle for mom
change of at least shirt for all adults
Behr has managed to throw up on both Mark and me in a single trip before!


And here are my three favorite items for every day mobility with a tot:

5 comments:

  1. Great great post. I'm pinning it.

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  2. This is so informative. Thanks alot! I will keep this in mind for when we do our first plane trip. I dread it but reading this gives me confidence!

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  3. Whoa- that spoon attachment is cool. I've never seen it before! I completely agree with you about taking a stroller to the airport- good advice.

    Our next trip? MARYLAND for Thanksgiving. You will be there?

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  4. Another great post for future Rigobabies.

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  5. I totally agree with your advice to pack light. I've done 12 international flights of 12+ hours with my 15 month old baby, and I can ALWAYS spot the rookie parents. They have like a luggage cart of carry on stuff. You don't need it! If by some crazy fluke you're stuck in an airport for ever, there are stores. And stores sell diapers. And, here's a secret, the flight attendants can prolly help you find a diaper if worst comes to worst.

    Personally, I don't like to travel with a stroller. I find them too annoying in the airport. And many airports (outside of the US) offer strollers for in-airport use. I just use a sling. You only have to take baby out of the sling in American airports. Most other places will let you go through if the carrier is cloth only.

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