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If you follow me on IG then you have probably seen my recent story highlight about my trip to Michigan for baby introductions and my BFF’s wedding.
If you haven’t, well buckle up and get ready to go on a ride. It was quite the trip – you’ll see.
With five kids one would be shocked that this was my first time traveling with an infant. While somewhat a pro at mommying, mommying while flying was a whole new world to me. So to tell you I was nervous, well that would be an understatement. I had some serious top notch borderline crazy anxiety. Calling every friend I knew who had traveled with their little ones before for advice and obsessing over having the right travel gear. It was all my husband heard about during the days leading up to takeoff.
I am sure all mothers who have traveled with their littles can understand when I say – I was nervous as all hell!
I travel all the time for work and have my process down to a science. Arrive an hour before the flight. Efficiently make it through TSA. Shoes off, laptop out, liquids to size, hands up. Making it to the gate just in time to comfortably stop at the little girls room and take my place in line to board the plane. All while scoffing at travelers less versed in the rules of TSA. And yes, I am that traveler who will avoid at all cost sitting next to a family with children.
Well not this time. 7 week old baby in tow. Enough bags for at least five lone travelers. A bubbly six year old just ready to see her grandparents. I was on the other side of this show. I was that family. The one people would cross there fingers hoping not to have to sit near. Or so I thought.
After switching flights from Chicago to Dallas due to weather. Getting stuck on the runway only to deplane for mechanical issues, switch planes again and then to have an unexpected overnight stay in Dallas with no bags. We actually made it out okay. Really I would say I did pretty damn good. When the TSA in Grand Rapids stopped me to compliment me on my organization and gave me a few tips to share with you I knew I had this thing down. Heck, I was also stopped by a fellow traveler to have a brief chat with his wife over the phone as they prepare for an upcoming family trip to Disney.
So how did I do it?
Here are a few tips I learned along the way. Hopefully these will help you on your next excursion.
- Get there at least 2 hours early. I know they say this for regular travelers but if you are like me, that never happens when I travel alone. With a family, arriving late is not an option. Traveling with an infant or any age child requires a lot of patience. Be sure to leave time for extra potty breaks, feeding sessions, and extra bag checks at TSA.
- Rent your gear. Don’t have the proper gear for traveling? Not to worry. Look for a local company in your area or your destination who rents baby gear. This will help cut cost and the hassle of having to bring everything with you. If you are flying from or to Houston check out Pampered Pickle they were a godsend!
- Bring enough milk. Calculate your total travel time divide that by two and add one. That is the number of bottles you should have on hand. Use this calculation even if you are breastfeeding. It can prove to be very difficult finding time to do a proper feed during travel. You also want to make sure you have milk readily available for quick feeds through security, in the boarding line or at baggage claim.
- Only pack what you need. It is very easy to over pack when traveling with your littles. Remember you can always stop at the store upon arriving at your destination. Check with your hotel prior to arrival to see if they have laundry facilities. Washing will help cut your luggage in half.
- Be prepared for TSA. Ask the TSA agent if it is required to remove breastmilk or prepared bottles, snacks and your pump. Airports have different security levels and vary in regards to baggage scans.
- Get creative with packing. Find out prior to traveling if your airline allows a free checked stroller and/or carseat. If they do, use a travel bag and stuff extra items in the bag – they won’t charge you for the extra items you shove in.
- Babywearing is a must. Ease your infant and remain hands free by babywearing your little one through TSA and boarding. You get to bypass the body scan through TSA but be prepared to do a pat down and have your hands tested for explosives. One should also note that most airlines require you to remove your infant from the carrier during take off and landing.
- Use backpacks. Backpacks are so much more convenient and comfortable than shoulder bags. Check the suitcases but be sure to have an extra change of clothes and any must haves (i.e. pump, diapers, wipes) in your carry on bags. We learned the hard way and had to wash cloths overnight in Dallas due to a delayed flight.
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