We've traveled with our little one since she was one month old. By the time she was six months old, she had been on more than 20 flights! You could say we like to travel. If someone tells you something like, "oh wait to have kids so you can travel and experience things", go ahead and giggle at them, be fruitful and multiply, travel your little heart out, and have a great time showing them the world along side you.
I'm not saying it's always a walk in the park, because it's not, especially the older and more adventurous they get. But it is SO doable and worth it! Here's what I've learned in eight months and countless flights to make travel a bit easier:
Grab a window seat. Depending on the airline, you can either pick your seat ahead, or it's based off of when you check in and first come-first serve. If you can help it at all, get a window seat for you and your little babe. This allows for a little bit more freedom to move and privacy for feeding. I usually sit on the window, and my poor husband in the middle, so then I don't have to worry about bumping people on either side. He's a sweet guy!
Wear a big, comfy shirt. I definitely do not dress to impress when I'm flying- usually leggings, my Birks, and a big flowy shirt to make nursing easier. The last thing you want to do when you get settled into your seat on the plane, is to dig through your diaper bag and then attempt to put on your nursing cover in a tiny space. Just throw your little babe under your shirt and nurse him/her privately and easily.
Speaking of nursing, I like to latch my tiny girl right as we're pushing back so she's mid-feed during take off. If she doesn't want to feed, I make sure she has a pacifier (or something) to suck on. This helps with those tiny ears!
You can carry on breastmilk and formula. Yep! You heard right. You can bring through breastmilk and formula even if it surpasses the TSA liquid limit. They usually ask you if they see you with an infant, but if they don't, just tell them before you put your bag through the x-ray. They're super nice about it and just give it a little extra check. So no need to worry about getting to the airport early to pump!
Oil up. Planes are yucky and emotions can get a little crazy when traveling. My must haves in the air:
-Thieves. This goes on everyone's feet before we leave for the airport and basically stays on until we're done traveling. No one has time to be sick when you're seeing the world!
-Thieves Hard Lozenge. I suck on these while on the plane to give my immune system a little something extra. Plus, they taste good and help with the dry airplane air.
-Stress Away. I basically bathe in this the entire time. I focus on my forearms and back of my neck.
-Thieves Wipes, Thieves Spray, and Thieves Hand Purifier. Because planes are GROSS. Everything gets wiped down or sprayed and that Hand Purifier is going on constantly. I'm in love with how easy and compact these are to travel with!
-Lavender/Peace & Calming/Gentle Baby/Tranquil/Valor/SleepyIze. These all create a calming environment and can help relax you and your sweet little babe (heck, probably whoever you're sitting next to, too). I put one of these on my chest so my girl can breathe it in while we snuggle as well as on the bottoms of her feet.
-Immupro. If it's a long flight (4+ hours), you bet your bottom dollar I'm chewing one of these guys up. They support the immune system and have a smidge of melatonin in them. I take one before boarding and drift off right after take off.
-AromaEase. For sensitive tummies that don't get along with motion... I like to have this one on me just in case!
Keep your stroller with you. In my opinion, having a stroller with you is way easier than a baby carrier and here's a few reasons why. You're going to want to use the restroom, eat, and possibly just relax if you have a longer layover. I like to have a place to put my baby when I need to do these things. It's better for her and I- she can play with her toys in her stroller, I can eat my pizza without tiny little hands grabbing for it every two seconds. Having a stroller truly helps you go hands free, too! Not only is your babe strapped in and safe in the stroller, you also can throw your diaper bag, jackets, snacks, and whatever else in the bottom compartment. The gate agent will check the stroller for you when it's time to board. They put it under the plane and bring it out right after you land. It's incredibly easy and they are always so kind and helpful.
Check your carseat, as well as your bags. We've found it's easiest to drop all of your bags at the front and say, "see ya", to them until you've arrive at your destination. The extra cost will save you stress and be very much worth it in the end. This goes for the carseat as well. You can drop it off at the gate with your stroller usually, but since we see no need for it, we drop it off at the front too. Plus, it checks for free! Depending on your carseat and bag, you can also fit extra stuff in there like blankets and toys. Win, win! Here's a similar bag to what we have here.
Be Prepared. Seems obvious, am I right? But it's easy to forget even the most essential items when you're preparing for a big trip. In my diaper bag, I make sure I always have:
-extra clothes for my tiny girl and I. You never know when that blowout is going to happen (5 hour plane ride, blowout all over me first hour... lesson learned).
-a blanket to keep you two all snuggled in the cold airplane.
-plenty of toys to play with. Odds are your babe will throw a few on the floor or get bored with one. We pack all sorts!
-plenty of diapers and wipes. I swear the altitude change does something to their insides. You want to be prepared on this one!
-the oils and supplements noted above.
Upgrade to Economy or First Class Seats, especially if you're traveling alone. The extra space will save you stress and give you more room to nurse and control your bundle of joy. The extra room is worth every penny!
Let people help you. As hard as it can be sometimes, asking for help is so necessary while traveling with an infant- especially if you're alone! I always have people come up and ask if they can help me in anyway (which always brings me to tears). Let them help you. Ask them to carry a blanket, or your bag, while you board. Let them pick up the toy on the ground. The agents can be so incredibly helpful, too. I had one take my girl for me when I had to use the restroom on flight, and she even held her for a bit longer. Contrary to popular belief, they like babies and sometimes, it can even make their job more fun to help a mama out!
Take a deep breath. Baby crying? Blowout all over your pants? Feel like a hot mess that everyone is judging? Don't even think twice about it. Take a deep breath- you're doing great, mama! And odds are people aren't judging you, even if you're like me and you feel like they are ;). You keep doing your thing, which is everything you can for your little babe. You can't do anything more than your best... and that's 100% okay.
So travel the world, and take your baby with you! The sky is the limit. Be prepared and breath through the stressful parts. I promise, if I'm surviving, you can too!
If you're interested in getting any of the oils mentioned about, feel free to contact us.