Traveling can be stressful and exhausting by itself — seriously, I never understand those people who don’t get stressed out while traveling. The long lines! Possible delays! Layovers! Security! The weather! There are so many different factors that sometimes, just getting YOURSELF to your destination can be tricky.
And when you have to add a baby (or multiple!) to the mix, things can get very stressful and very complicated, very quickly. Trust me, the first time I traveled with Collette, I was so stressed out, I wanted to cry! I think I actually did, to be honest. But hey, that’s totally normal — it definitely took me awhile to get down the whole traveling-with-a-child thing, so I wanted to share some of my tried-and-true tricks for mommies (and daddies) who are first-time travelers!
Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Need
I cannot stress this enough! It’s one thing when you’re traveling by yourself and you’re running through the airport Home Alone style to make it to your gate, but when you’re pushing a stroller while trying to carrying your child’s bags as well as yours, it can be pretty difficult to weave in and out of fellow travelers at a high speed. It’s always a safe bet to give yourself at least an extra two hours when you’re traveling with your baby. Worst case scenario is that you arrive early to your gate, which actually isn’t a bad scenario at all; way better than rushing through the airport and stressing out!
Bring Extra Clothes
Either in your small carry-on or the diaper bag, keep an extra change of clothes for both you and your baby just in case of any accidents. Collette’s thrown up on me multiple times while traveling, and when you’re 30,000 feet up in the air, you can’t run out of the plane to get an extra change of clothes! Anything lightweight that won’t take up a lot of room is good to have on hand: T-shirts and leggings are my go to for me!
Actually, Bring Extra Everything
It’s always better to be too prepared than not prepared enough! Having extra formula, bottles of breastmilk, food, toys, clothes, etc. is always a good idea in case of an emergency. It might seem like a pain in the butt to pack, but when you’re in a crisis, that extra stuff will save you, trust me! Also, pack your child’s favorite blanket(s) so you can create a makeshift bed for them to sleep in. Making sure they’re comfortable is so important!
Seat Choices Are Everything
If you are able to choose your seats, try to plan accordingly with how active your baby is. Sit by the window with a calm baby; with an active child, sit by the aisle. You’ll get private, quiet time with your child by the window and when your active one gets a little restless, they can stand up in the aisle.
Speaking of Seating, Be Courteous to Those Around You
Not everyone is going to be thrilled to be sitting next to a baby during a 6-hour hour flight. Hand out earplugs to those around you and let them know that you’re traveling with your child. On the flip side, if you’re seated near a baby and it looks like the parents need some help, offer your assistance! One time while I was traveling solo, I saw a couple who looked SO stressed out about their fussy baby, I offered to help calm the baby down and give them a tiny break. Trust me, people will be more grateful than you think with that one!
When taking off or landing, always try to either feed your baby or give them a pacifier. The pressure changes in the plane during takeoff and landing can be hard on your child’s ears, so keeping them occupied with either of those things is a great way to distract AND help them.
Finally, Try to Relax
Honestly, it’s not easy traveling with a baby. But the most important thing is to relax and *try* not to stress out. The calmer you are, the calmer your baby will be. Plus, have you ever tried to handle a crying baby when you’re super stressed out? It’s stressful! Such a vicious cycle! So just remember: relax and try to enjoy the fact that you’re able to spend that much more time with your baby, all while getting to explore a new destination!
What are some of your tried-and-true hacks for traveling with a child? Let me know in the comments below!