With living so far away from friends and family it became slightly inevitable that we would have to travel with Cameron eventually. That eventually came just when Cameron was 4 months old, and if you think traveling is already stressful, add in traveling (alone) with an infant and that stress level can go through the roof. On top of that there seems to be so many people out there that have issues with parents who bring children on flights so you then feel that not only do you have to keep you and baby happy, but all those around you happy, which then increases the stress even higher.
Our first round of flights went semi ok until the very last leg of the last flight. I don’t know if it was the long day, the feeding schedule, or what but by the end of the flight, Cameron was “that baby” that was screaming and crying and could not be consoled, and I was that parent that was flushed and embarrassed and having the beginning of a migraine because I felt so bad and guilty that I couldn’t get my child to calm down. So I took that experience and vowed the next time we flew I would feel and be more prepared.
Here’s some things that I’ve found helpful in making traveling with a small one easier.
1) Bring help. That can be in the terms of a carrier or a stroller. The first time we flew I only had a carrier and not a stroller. This would had been ok but we never really synced using the carrier so by the end of the day I was so sore. So I’m glad that from then forward I brought a stroller. It’s free to gate check and just makes it a bit easier to get around airports for layovers. Some airlines also allow you to have someone come back to the gate to help you, I found getting through security alone was a feat in and of itself with all the gear you need so if you can have an extra set of hands it does help. Not obviously that isn’t always the case so hopefully the people in line around you or the TSA will be friendly that day.
2) Bring activities. A lot of activities. If you are lucky enough to fly on an airline with TVs this becomes a little easier, but if not make sure you bring something to entertain the little one. For us our flights are long and Cameron’s attention span is super short. We need to make sure we have new things to entertain her with for full days. I tend to buy some toys that I hide and bring out on the flight so they are new to her and she’s more interested. It helped a lot on our cross country flights.
3) Plan for mealtimes. Snacks, meals, formula, milk, etc. Make sure you bring enough of everything to get you through the day. I tried to bring extra of everything in the case of delays. I did the same for diapers and change of clothes.
4) Bring a neck pillow/small pillow. Because Cameron is still a lap infant, I’ve held her on our flights, and she tends to nap on these flights. As she’s getting older she is getting heavier and so to help my arm not ache I would bring a small pillow to put under my arm while I held Cameron during nap time. It helped out so much. Also getting a window seat and having the wall helped me too.
I’m sure there are plenty of other great tips and tricks, but these are the 4 I swear by now. And I’m sure as she gets older and we keep flying we will have more tips. We have never traveled far by car or else I may have more tips there too.