Hello and Happy Spring!
I don’t know about all of you but this nice weather has me itching for another trip! Steve and I honeymooned in Italy and spent time in Greece right when we found out we were pregnant. This year, now that Charlotte is here, we decided to do something a bit more manageable for her first trip and took her to Orange County, California to see the ocean! Traveling with a baby for the first time can be daunting, and we had no idea what to expect. I did a ton of research and even polled my Facebook friends for any advice. Our trip went surprisingly smoothly and I learned a ton about making sure Charlotte (and we) were happy and comfortable! Needless to say, I wished this blog post existed to help me prepare, so here it is for all of you as you plan your summer excursions!
Disclaimer: Charlotte was 7 months old at the time of this trip. She was not crawling yet and had just started introducing solid foods.
Tip #1: Book a flight during or around a nap time.
Sometimes this isn’t feasible, but try your hardest to take off somewhere in the vicinity of your child’s nap time. This will just make it easier for them to nap during the flight!
Tip #2: Check EVERYTHING (except the baby).
I received mixed advice about whether or not to check the stroller when you arrive to the airport, or keep it until the gate. For me, I am infinitely glad I decided to ditch it right away. It was so much less stressful just to travel lightly and be able to board the plane quickly. We checked our luggage, the stroller, car seat base, and car seat in these amazing bags (Stroller Bag / Car Seat Bag) and even the airline attendees were impressed. Everything was easy to carry with the handles and arrived to California undamaged and in perfect shape, and the bags folded easily to stow away for the rest of the trip.
Tip #3: Purchase a seat for the baby if you can.
Boarding the plane was a breeze. I had Charlotte, her diaper bag (which I stuffed all of my personal things into as well so that I only had one bag) and a little handheld travel sleeper (purchase this NOW if you don’t already have one and your child is under 8/9 months). On the way there, we had enough points to get Charlotte her own seat, and it was absolutely amazing. She had room to sleep, play, move around, etc. without getting fussy. Our setup was shockingly perfect and people on the plane even asked where we got everything for their own use, so trust me here. We purchased this travel pillow, which you can blow up in a minute once you board the plane (we waited until we were taking off and the flight attendants had no issue with it). It fills the space between your child’s seat and the seat in front of you, allowing you to put the travel sleeper perpendicular to the seat row. For older kids, you can put out blankets, etc. so that they can fully lay down. If your child doesn’t have their own seat, I would skip the travel pillow but still use the travel sleeper to put across your lap.
Tip #4: Feed the baby on the way up and down.
You’ll read this everywhere, and it’s certainly key. Have a couple bottles for takeoff and landing, and then another for the flight depending on how long it is. We timed it perfectly and made sure Charlotte was eating during the time when her ears may pop. Both times, the eating put her to sleep!
Tip #5: Have a few new toys that baby has never seen before.
This was a great tip from a friend! If your baby starts getting fussy during the flight, have a few new toys that he/she has never seen before to distract! We purchased this Explore and Play Apple which was easy to pack and has so many fun things to fiddle with. It was a hit! Make sure you also have some familiar items, especially anything that you need for your child’s bedtime routine (sound machine, etc. if you use one).
Tip #6: Rent an SUV.
This was a lifesaver! You don’t realize that, at home, you know where to go and where not to go so that you are never too far away from home or a changing table. On a trip, you can very easily end up somewhere without one. We spent time at the beach and at many restaurants that were not equipped for babies, and having an SUV that we could use as your home base to change Charlotte in was paramount!
Tip #7: Make sure your hotel has some kind of crib or pack ‘n play and a microwave.
Shout out to Monarch Beach Resort for being perfectly equipped for children. Immediately upon check-in, Charlotte received a gorgeous crib with new mattress, a stuffed animal, and other amenities. We also had a microwave in our room so that we could easily use our sterilizer bags to clean her bottle parts.
Tip #8: Have fun! Stay on schedule!
Last but not least, have fun! Your baby can sense your stress, so try to be calm and realize that most people have navigated the world of traveling with an infant and understand what you are going through. And if they haven’t, you’ll never see them again anyway so don’t worry about it! Have fun, try to keep to your child’s schedule as much as you can, and enjoy making those new memories with your little one!