MRS. NIPPLE TIPS & TRAVEL
When Charlie was five months old, I brought him to Ireland for 11 days. It was so great having him on such a memorable trip and if I could do it again, I would still bring him. With the right tools and plan, traveling with your baby is not as scary as it might initially sound. I would like to note that we had not started solids with Charlie and he was not crawling at this point.
THINGS I THOUGHT ABOUT WHEN PLANNING OUR TRIP
-What is the time difference?
-How much driving will we be doing each day & what is the max amount our baby can handle?
-How long are the flights & what time would be the best time to travel?
-What is the least amount of equipment the baby will need?
-What will we have access to when we arrive so we don't have to travel with a ton of baby equipment?
-Where will he nap? (without naps our baby turns into a monster)
-How long will it take to get a passport for our baby? (babies do not need identification for domestic travel)
Planning ahead of time
1) If you are traveling internationally, your baby will need a passport. More on that HERE.
2) Call your destination ahead of time to see what baby equipment is available. Charlie has been on 10 flights and I've never traveled with a pack n' play. I always call the hotel or ask the Airbnb ahead of time and most places have them. There was only one time there was not one available, so I was able to rent one from a local baby rental company. He has also just slept next to me in bed in the Dockatot (before he started rolling).
3) Do some research around what pharmacies and grocery stores are accessible. You can stock up on diapers and wipes once you arrive.
4) Make sure your car rental has a seat belt locking system so you can utilize the European Belt Path option (if your car seat has this feature) so you can travel without the cumbersome car seat base. Every car in the US that was manufactured after 1996 has the locking system. Watch a video around the European Belt Path option HERE.
5) Check the guidelines for your airline to determine how many items you can check for you baby. Click HERE for guidelines around brining formula/milk through security. I checked both Charlie's car seat and Dockatot free of charge. If you don't want to spend money on the specific travel bags for your baby gear then these are great travel bags. Click HERE.
We traveled to Ireland which is 5 hours ahead. Charlie was a champ adjusting to the new time zone.
Here are a few tips that eased his transition:
1) Get as much outdoor time as possible. Just like adults, your child's clock will reset naturally. This will take place much faster if you get your baby out in the natural sunlight during the day so they get the signal that they should be awake.
2) Don't plan too much on the first day you arrive so you can really work around how your baby is feeling.
3) Don't mess too much with your baby’s routine. Still try to get those naps in because it will be even harder getting an overtired baby to sleep at night. If you have a bath, story time, favorite blanket routine, stick with it. My favorite two products for naps on the go are HERE and HERE. The Cozi-GO was a pure lifesaver when traveling. It's not realistic to sit in your hotel room while your baby naps. The Cozi-Go makes it possible to have the best of both worlds. Your baby can have a wonderful nap on the go while you can still enjoy your vacation. If your baby falls asleep during the day thinking it's really time to go to sleep for the night, wake them up after their usual nap length.
4) You can start shifting your baby’s bed time a few days before you leave by 10-15 minutes each night.
THE WEEK BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
I know there are always a million things to do the week before you travel, but make sure you don't disrupt your baby’s schedule, especially the few days right before your trip. The last thing you want to do is start your trip off with a cranky baby. Either order everything you need online or pay the extra $$ to get a babysitter so you can run the errands you need to run.
TICKETS, THE AIRPORT, & THE FLIGHT
If the flight is only a few hours long, I recommend booking the flight around nap times so your baby can nap in the air. If the fight is over six hours, I would recommend booking an overnight flight if there is that option. Since our trip to Ireland was a 7 hour flight, I booked an overnight flight.
Call the airlines ahead of time to check if there are any bassinets available. Aer Lingus had two bassinets available for the entire flight and I was able to book one for Charlie, free of charge. It made such a big difference. He slept the entire flight right in the bassinet, swaddled, with his noise maker on. If the airline does not have bassinets, I would recommend going right to the flight attendant when you arrive at the gate to see if there are any extra seats on the flight so your child can be comfortable and sleep. Of course, a child travels un-ticketed until the age of two unless you would like to purchase a seat for them.
AT THE AIRPORT:
Our international flight was around 10 PM. I found an American Express lounge and made sure to get Charlie to sleep at his normal 7:00 bed time in a private room at the lounge. I got to the airport early just to put him to bed on time. I was able to transfer him to his stroller (THANK YOU COZI-GO) and only woke him up to breastfeed him during take off (more on that later) and then transferred him into his bassinet. The only time he cried was when we were waiting to take off because I was holding off on feeding him until we were on the runway, almost in the air. It wasn't perfect and he woke up a few times in the lounge before we boarded, but getting him some sleep at his normal sleep time was very helpful. He ended up sleeping like an angel the entire flight!
For our domestic flights, I had him in a Solly Baby Wrap until take off when I took him out to breastfeed him. After his take off feeding, he would fall fast asleep. I then would wake him up to feed him during landing. Again, the only time he cried was when we were taxing because I was waiting to breastfeed him until we were actually taking off. It's important your baby is sucking in some way during take off and landing to help with the pressure changes.
PRODUCTS for the flight
The only things I brought on the flights were:
- The YOYO stroller (I had to explain to the flight attendants it DOES in fact fit in the overhead compartment. I would not let them gate check it even though they wanted to most of the time.)
- This breastfeeding cover HERE and this wrap HERE.
- All of our baby’s diapering needs including an extra change of clothes, a pacifier, a few toys, a blanket, his dockatot and swaddle (overnight travel).
- This toy mat/bag perfect for the airport HERE
- Bottles: I was breastfeeding and Charlie didn't start eating solids until after 6 months, so I had my boobs with me :)
- If you book a seat for your baby, you can put the Dockatot right down on the seat or place it on your lap.
- The Cozi-GO in-flight bassinet cover & stroller cover. This is pretty much the most amazing travel product we own. You can find it HERE.
PRODUCTS I INVESTED IN for the trip
TRAVEL SPECIFIC REVIEW:
THE COZI-GO: One of my favorite travel products and worth every penny. This product made it possible for Charlie to nap uninterrupted on the go. It blocks out 97% of light and is 100 percent breathable. It also has a universal fit for any stroller. We used it in flight over the airplane bassinet as well. It also offers UV protection and is perfect for beach time.
BABYZEN YOYO: Folds down to the size of a bag, lightweight, and you can throw it over your shoulder. It also fits in the overhead compartment on airplanes and can even roll down the center aisles on some planes. It's small enough that it won't take up a ton of space in compact cars when traveling in other countries. Plus you can easily throw it over your shoulder and have both hands free when climbing stairs. This is the perfect travel stroller. I would never even entertain the idea of traveling on a road trip or aircraft with our big stroller. The YOYO even has a bassinet option for newborns or you can just buy the car seat adapters and have your carseat fit right on top of the stroller. You can find the product HERE
Nuna Pippa: This car seat makes travel so easy. There is no need to bring that heavy base along for your trip. This car seat uses the European Belt Path which is just a fancy term for, “you can use the seat belt in your car to secure the car seat and it's just as safe as using the car seat with your base.” We put our car seat in a travel bag and check it as soon as we get to the airport. You can find the product HERE
Dockatot: This was such a lifesaver when traveling. We never had to worry about sleeping arrangements for Charlie. The Dockatot made it possible to sleep in a hotel room in bed right next to mommy, in any pack n' play (if the hotel or airbnb had one available), or even on a sofa. Our baby used the Dockatot from day one, so anywhere we travel he still feels like he's sleeping at home. There is also a travel bag for the Dockatot which makes traveling easy. I would also store any of his toys and blankets in the Dockatot bag so all of his sleep products were in one place. You can find the Dockatot HERE and the carrier HERE
Gathre Mats: I use this changing mat when we travel because it is so thin. I can roll it up or fold it and fit it pretty much anywhere. It's also very durable. You can find the product HERE
Baby Carrier: Any baby carrier will work. They can be a little bit bulky but are wonderful for a trip filled with a good amount of walking and naps on the go. I use a carrier vs. a wrap when I'm going to be on my feet all day and need the extra back support. You can find a good traveling carrier HERE or HERE
Baby wraps: Wraps are wonderful options and are much easier to pack. You can\ find the one I used HERE
Marpac Dohm Hushh Portable Sound Machine: Crucial for preventing over stimulation during nap times while traveling. This noise maker is small, rechargeable and holds the charge very well. You can find the product HERE
3 Sprouts Hedgehog Play Mat Bag: Not only can you use this mat any time & anywhere but it also folds up into a convenient bag making it great for travel. You can keep you child's toys in the bag then open the bag into a play mat with all the toys conveniently right on the mat. You can find the product HERE
FOR FULL REVIEWS OF THE ABOVE PRODUCTS CLICK HERE