At the four month stage, Declan has already become an observant baby, often following movements across the room, and always aware of where I am. He continues to enjoy the outdoors, and I think it’s the fresh air that has a way of bringing a sense of calm, as I’m sure we can all relate to. Traveling has also become the norm for him. In his first month, we drove him to San Francisco. By the time he was almost three months, we took him on his first flight, which happened to be to one of our favorite cities, Portland, Oregon. Only a few weeks later, he flew with us to San Diego, California and Tucson, Arizona for his first thanksgiving with family. Not too long after, we took him to Philadelphia, where he woke up to his first snowfall, which was probably more magical to me than to him. Then we ended the year with a second trip to San Diego and Tucson to see family for the holidays. And with just a few days into the new year, we have already taken him to San Francisco.
We’ve definitely had rough moments during our trips. He has slept through flights, been fussy for parts of them, and had a major blowout that required two back to back trips to the bathroom. It has been stressful at times, but also so worth it. I won’t lie that I always get a bit of anxiety when I first get on planes, and more anxiety whenever he even begins to start getting fussy. But he has also been fun and sweet. He loves to smile at the other passengers, even if they aren’t looking his way.
I guess what I’m saying is that you can still travel with a baby, but you just have to expect that it won’t always be easy. None of the rough moments have ever made me regret flying with my son. We already have travel plans for this year that will include his first international trip to Europe to meet family from my mom’s side. I know I’m not an expert at traveling, but here are a few things that have made traveling with an infant doable.
What to bring on flights or long car rides:
- A baby carrier. My favorites are the solly wrap and the Studio Romeo carrier. I prefer using the Studio Romeo carrier if I know he’s going to be asleep before we get on the plane, because it’s easy to take the straps off without waking the baby, since you aren’t suppose to travel with your baby in a carrier for take off and landing. But if I know he’ll be awake, the Solly wrap feels a bit more stable, especially when I’m trying to hold luggage and he wants to move around so much.
- A small diaper bag that fits in your purse. I just use a medium size muslin bag as my diaper bag. I pack only the essentials – a thin changing mat (I like Gathre mats), travel wipes, a few diapers, poop bags, and disinfecting wipes (I use them to wipe down the changing area before and after use and to wipe down the area I’m sitting at on the plane.), hand sanitizer, and a change of outfit.
- A small book. It may not distract my son for a long period of time, but it does help him settle down in those moments when nothing else works.
- A burp cloth for those unexpected moments of spit up.
- A pacifier and pacifier clip.
- A cardigan to keep you warm and to act as a nursing cover, and sometimes a baby blanket.
- A car seat. If I know we’ll be with family, I’ll bring his car seat, but on trips where we rent a car, we forgo the car seat and rent it. You can also gate check the car seat for no fee.
I didn’t include baby bottles or snacks, because I just breastfeed in order to pack light. I haven’t run into a situation yet where these were necessary. However, if you are used to bottle feeding or depend on formula, then a hand pump, or formula, and bottles would be needed.
If your baby is already playing with toys, then I’m sure bringing along a few smaller toys would be helpful. Once my son is older, I’m sure we’ll bring a couple along with us.
We currently baby wear, so we haven’t travelled with a stroller. This helps to keep our load light.
Along with that, we don’t own a pack n’ play and, therefore, have never travelled with one. Usually the hotels we’ve stayed at have offered to give us a crib. Even some Airbnb’s have had pack n’ plays available. But since we co-sleep, this has never been a necessity.
What to pack in a carry-on:
- A few outfits and burp cloths. We tend to rent Airbnbs with a washer and dryer, or we do laundry at our relatives’ homes, so we can pack fewer clothing pieces.
- Some extra diapers and wipes. Just remember that you can always purchase diapers and wipes, so it’s not necessary to take up lots of space with them.
- A play mat. I like the play mats from Gathre. They are really compact, so they fit easily in a carryon.
Since I share the carry-on with my baby, I pack light for the both of us, and just rely on being able to do laundry when we get there. If it’s a short trip, and there’s no need to pack really light, I’ll pack an outfit for each day.
What are some of your travel tips?