traveling with a baby

TRAVELING WITH KIDS


TRAVELING WITH KIDS




The NEW article below is specifically speaking to traveling with kids domestically. HERE is a more detailed post packed with information around traveling with your baby internationally or for longer flights.

I remember how nervous I was the first time we took Charlie on a flight at five months old. It was an overnight flight to Ireland and I was most worried about the pressure affecting him. What if I had a baby that was screaming the entire flight and there was nothing I could do? I soon realized planning and having the right tools in place is all you can really do and there is no reason to worry about something that is pretty much out of your control to a certain extent. Think about all the parents that have traveled before you and survived….I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s hope!

PLANNING

Parenting: Something I think that is important is that if you have two kids each parent is responsible for one. Figure it out before you go away but traveling this way was much easier for us. Ray and I did this until halfway through the flight and then we switched. Figuring out ways to keep cool and keep your husband cool can sometimes be half the battle. Flying with kids will probably be stressful at times. That being said, mentally prepare for the stress. Kids feed off of our energy so half the battle is keeping as cool as possible. Being on the same exact page as parents can help avoid any unnecessary tension. Come up with a plan TOGETHER.

I covered so much around planning in the older blog post I linked above, but one thing I don’t think I mentioned is how important airlines are when traveling with kids. I recently traveled on a United flight from LA to NYC and I was alone and felt extremely claustrophobic. I don’t know what I would have done with kids. There was hardly any room. When we took our Jetblue flight from NYC to Florida with the kids, we had a ton of space. Makes all the difference. Maybe it was just as much to do with airplane model but it’s something to consider.

PACKING

Suitcase: I try and pack as little as possible when flying with kids. If there is a washer and dryer where we are going I will pack two outfits a day for three days and then wash anything that needs to be worn again. I’ll also pack a “blow out” outfit for my diaper bag. I gravitate towards jumpers or one-piece outfits that are easy to throw on the kids. I love the top and bottom matching bathing suits for boys because they can wear them around as outfits as well as pre-beach or pool. I also love the Natives. They are the only shoes I need to bring on vacation for both of the boys. I like having as few checked bags as possible so instead of each of us having a suitcase I pack one large suitcase for both boys and myself. I get one side and the boys get the other. All of our clothes and toiletries go in these suitcases. With all of our baby gear sharing a suitcase is great, it’s one less thing I need to worry about keeping track of. I will do this as long as possible. I can’t imagine keeping track of a small suitcase for each child even when they are older.

Stroller bag: Always check with your airline but most let you check a stroller bag free of charge with no weight limit. I use the XL Dockatot bag, (this bag is worth it) and I stuff it with the boys Dockatot and everything they need to sleep. Blankets, swaddle, stuffed animals, noise maker, extra diapers, all the last minute things I need to pack…..the extra pair of shoes I definitely didn’t need :) I also put any carriers and feeding gear in this bag. Even our foldable highchair can go in here. I don’t ever travel with a big stroller so instead of throwing it in the designated stroller bag I gate check it or bring it on the plane and store it in the overhead compartment. I’ve only had one person question the stroller not being in the “stroller bag”. In that case, it’s $30 to check but still worth it.

Carseat bag: I use the $5 red gate check bags you can grab on Amazon for our car seat. We rent as much gear as we can where we are going if it makes sense. If there are any heavy items I throw them in this bag. I taped the slumber pods to the inside on our car seat during our recent trip to Florida. It worked out perfectly as they would have added too much weight to our luggage. Some people like to bring a car seat on board. I’ve heard it can be a great idea for very active toddlers during long flights. There’s this new travel car seat I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY: find it, HERE. You can also throw extra diapers in this bag as well. I prefer to buy diapers when we arrive at our destination.

Carry on bag: I learned the hard way that I really prefer a big bag that has a zipper. That way things are not falling out of your overstuffed bag. Also, put everyone's tickets and IDs in one pocket. In-flight entertainment is the most important. Here is a list of things we brought for Charlie 2.5 and ford 11 months..they didn’t see any of this until we were in the air:

-Paw Patrol headphones

-Headphone adapters!!

-Many many paw patrol stickers

-i-pad in a rubber/plastic case that sits up. We downloaded many Paw Patrol episodes the night prior to our trip

-Small blanket

-Kids water bottle

-Paw patrol coloring book

-A few toys for Ford

-Noise canceling headphones for the baby

Other things in my diaper bag:

-Many of the kid's favorite snacks or things that take a while to eat like bagels

-Wipes & 5 diapers

-Changing Mat

-Extra pair of clothes for both kids

-pacifiers

-Xantex for us …haha j/k

SECURITY LINE:

TWO THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW:

1) Formula, breast milk, juice, baby food, and liquid medications in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are exempt to the 3-1-1 liquids rule! When it comes to baby bottles and sippy cups you are in the clear. Just make sure to remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. Before the TSA worker inspects your milk make sure they change their gloves.

2) Things you can keep on: Children age 12 and under can keep their shoes on while going through security. You can also keep your baby carrier on with a baby inside as long as it doesn’t have a metal ring.

PRE-CHECK/GLOBAL ENTRY: Do your self a favor and get your kids registered if you are traveling internationally. They will have to do an in-person interview just like you need to do one as an adult. For domestic travel, kids under 12 do not need to register to be able to go through TSA pre-check with you.

OUR SET UP: We had our Babyzen travel stroller which I had Charlie sit in (best stroller ever), I wore Ford in our Artipoppe baby carrier (we have the cheapest one, which is still expensive but doubles as a wrap and carrier because it’s so soft and light. Only negative is you can’t face the baby out) and I had one big bag with the kid's items which Ray held. I told Ray that even though his bag was small to check it. LESS IS BEST. Also, a great tip is not to put any loose items under your stroller or in any stroller pockets when in the airport. Keep everything in one bag. It ends up being a huge hassle when closing the stroller.

When we had one baby, I would bring our stroller and store it in the overhead compartment. The flight attendants might stop you and say you have to gate check it but that’s not the case. It fits in the overhead compartments even on the small planes. This stroller was expensive so I like keeping it close by :) Now that we have two kids, I really stick with the LESS IS BEST rule and gate check it.

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH BREASTMILK

1) Make sure you stay super hydrated while traveling.

2) If you will have to carry a very large quantity of milk through the airport I highly recommend looking into Milk Stork, HERE They will ship your milk home from anywhere in the US.

3) You can carry on breastmilk and freezer packs. This will be checked by a TSA officer. I froze my milk and put it in a soft cooler with ice packs and it held up fine for a short flight. I threw it all in a backpack.

4) Checking the milk could be easier but I think I would be too nervous something might happen to it after all of that hard work. I personally would rather carry in a backpack. Just remember to proactively tell a TSA officer during screening.

5) I had two plastic bags. Bag for clean pump products and a bag for used pump products) Bring a little soap in a small container and wash parts on the go. They also make small sanitizing bags you throw in the microwave which is also great for travel.

OTHER GEAR:

I’ve never traveled with a pack n’ play. When the kids are in the pre-crawling stage I use a Dockatot. You can place it anywhere. It’s the best on the go sleeping tool. Now that Charlie and Ford need a confined place to sleep I always rent gear. I’ve never had a problem finding rentals and it is usually pretty cheap and easy. Other items I’ve rented….car seats, walkers, mini bouncers, and highchairs.

THE FLIGHT

We had a seat for Charlie as you need to purchase one for kids two years and older. It was really nice having an entire row for our family. I put Charlie in the window seat and set him up with Paw Patrol. We downloaded episodes and it actually held his attention for most of the flight, that and the snacks and stickers. ALL lifesavers.

I sat in the middle and Ray sat on the end and we both shared Ford. We kept Ford occupied with toys and food. We did have one really stinky diaper and I honestly wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. I ended up changing Charlie while he was standing on the toilet seat cover in the tiny bathroom. I took a poll on Instagram and some people said it was socially acceptable to change them on the seats and other people said NO WAY. I think it’s fine for a wet diaper but I felt most comfortable changing the baby in the bathroom.

LET’S TALK ANXIETY: I received many questions around what to do to ease your mom anxiety while your kids are acting up on the plane. Honestly, I think in my head prior to traveling that I hope for the best but meltdowns are very possible and I actively imagine myself keeping my cool. I also remember that even though this seems like hell not to get too embarrassed. Most people on the plane were children, have children, had children at some point or have extended family that are children. They know you are not trying to disrupt the plane. Once in a while, you might get a rude person but most of us have been there. Remember that.

JETKIDS BY STOKEE

We tested out the JetKids Bedbox on our recent trip to Florida. I knew I wanted to try it out the moment I saw it!. It’s a small carry on suitcase for kids that doubles as a fun object to ride through the airport and it turns any airplane seat into a bed. I think it’s such a wonderful idea, especially for long trips. Though we loved ours I think one thing I would point out is it does add one extra carry on bag to your luggage. Though it is approved for kids age 2+, I would recommend it to families with kids age 4+ OR at whatever point your kids can be responsible for pulling their own suitcase through the airport. Definitely check out the website, HERE.

SLUMBER POD

This is another very innovative product. It’s a very user-friendly travel tent that pops up over cribs and pack n plays. It’s great for travel when you need more privacy for your baby. We can not share rooms with our kids because they won’t sleep so this is a perfect baby product for situations when your kids need to sleep in the same room or you have to sleep in the same room with your kids. Set up and take down was super easy and it really does create the perfect sleep environment. It’s very dark and we put our noisemaker right under the bottom. We set it up before the kids went into the tent. My only recommendation is to use it at home a few times before you travel so you kids can get familiar with the product and get them excited about it. We will be using these all summer. A mom I know just used two on her vacation and gave very positive feedback. You can check out their website, HERE.





























































TRAVELING WITH A BABY


MRS. NIPPLE TIPS & TRAVEL


IMG_3232.JPG

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

Time Change

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

BOOKING:

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!

DOMESTIC TRAVEL:

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

BabyBanZPerfect for those crucial naps on the go and attending loud events. They also stay on! 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