The multiple changes of clothes “just in case” baby decides to have one of those explosions that makes you want to throw-the-whole-baby-out…
Understandably, traveling with your baby or toddler can be a daunting experience. So daunting, sometimes, that you might’ve felt like changing your mind and waiting until baby is a bit older and things are easier…
Now, what I say to that, to you loving momma or dedicated daddy, is to stop. Stop waiting to show your bright-eyed beauty the world “until it’s easier”...
Book the flight.
Take the trip.
Because the best time is always now, and we’re never guaranteed a tomorrow.
And I promise, when you look back on your next trip with your child, you will be so grateful for the memories you make.
After bringing my 18-month old daughter on 32 flights in her lifetime so far, my anxious mom-friends often come to me with the same questions:
“I’m so nervous… What’s everything I should bring?” “Do you have any tips to make it easier?”
Phew. So many questions, so many unknowns (and that’s the true beauty of parenthood!)
Now, since one of my missions is to empower parents to show their children the world from a young age, I have taken note of the best hacks that have made the biggest difference in my family’s ability to travel stress-free with our daughter. I hope these tricks encourage you and excite you to book that next trip with your little one.
1. It starts in your mind. Get the most out of your trip by reminding yourself that it’s about the journey - not the destination.
As cliche as this may sound, starting your next trip with this mindset will be an incredibly big help for you in those moments where baby is unsettled on the plane or in the airport and you think to yourself “I can’t wait to GET there….”
The problem with thinking that is that you create a story in your head of how much “easier” it will be when you get to where you’re going. And the truth is, it will likely be the same. Because your child isn’t changing personalities between takeoff and landing.
So instead, focus on finding the beauty in the chaos. Expect that things will go wrong. Like the time my daughter s*** herself the minute our plane started to takeoff, and I had to wait 15 minutes before I could walk (sprint) to the bathroom and clean both of us up. I could’ve cried, but instead I laughed. I intentionally stayed calm, and she felt it. Babies feel our energy - always.
Also, never forget that all it takes for a baby to settle is new scenery. Whenever my daughter was upset in an airport or on a flight, I simply made an effort to take a walk, point out something new, or direct her energy to something she hadn’t seen before. Airports and airplanes are a people-watching haven, and the easiest no-cost entertainment for kids!
2. If you are currently breastfeeding, feed your little one at takeoff and at landing. This will drastically decrease the chances of your little one’s ears being affected by the change in cabin pressure. I have done this on every flight and my daughter has never made a peep upon takeoff or landing. I have a cute breastfeeding scarf that I use whenever I feed in public, though using a cover of any sort is completely up to you. Either way, this is how you can have peaceful takeoffs and landings every time.
3. Push your stroller through the airport all the way to your gate. If you have bags to check, then check them at the counter and immediately throw everything else (your purse, diaper bag, baby) IN the stroller. Push your stroller all the way to your gate. I have flown over a dozen different airlines and I have yet to fly one that doesn’t check on a stroller at the gate for free. Such a great way for you to maneuver through an airport with ease (and no back pain)!
Bonus tip: most airlines let you carry-on a diaper bag free as well. So, that means you get a personal item (your purse, backpack etc) as well as a diaper bag. So you don’t have to try stuffing your purse full of all your child’s diapers, toys, etc.
We always carry-on a completely separate bag just for baby that includes only baby’s items.
4. Check your baby’s carseat on for free if you know you’ll be renting a car or riding in taxis, ubers, etc at your destination. Again, I have flown with over a dozen airlines (even budget ones) and all of them have allowed us to check-on our daughter’s carseat for free. Check yours on at the same time you check on your regular baggage if you have any.
Bonus tip: most airlines also let you check-on your baby’s portable bed for free (if you have one). You can do this at the same time you check on your regular baggage.
5. Dollar-store toys. For each hour of your flight, have a new toy to get out and give to baby. Children love novelty, which is why this trick works so well every time. A few days before your flight, run to your nearest dollar store (the dollar bin section in Target works great, too) and grab as many toys as there are hours in your flight. So, if your flight is 4 hours long, get 4 toys. Pack them into your carry-on right away and don’t show them to your child until you’re on your flight. Take out one toy for each hour of the flight. Cheap, easy, and oh SO effective. Your little one will be pleasantly surprised by the “new” toys (that cost you a whopping $4). This works great if you have multiple children, too. I learned this trick from my brilliant mom, and am so grateful for her passing this on.