Last week was our first big vacation as a family. We packed everything up and flew out to San Diego; which is about a 4 hour flight.
Here are a few things I learned while traveling with a baby.
- If you can, travel with your spouse. I couldn’t imagine having done this trip alone. From getting through security to entertaining the baby, having two people is better than one. If you can, travel with a third person too. We had one grandma come with us and the three to one ratio worked out well.
- Think about time zones. This is one we never thought of, but California time is not the same as Minnesota time. If you can start adjusting sleep schedules before you go, that’ll help. Otherwise, be prepared to have a harder night the first day or two as your baby goes though the adjustment.
- Dress for airport security. I for one didn’t do this well. I’ve been though security many times, but never with a stroller or a baby or baby food. My shoes were hard to take off, my belt was holding my pants up so when that came off I had to worry about my pants falling down. Overall, I could have dressed better.
- Take baby food with you. The 3 ounce rule doesn’t apply to jarred baby food. We did have to tell security that we had it and it had to be taken out of the bag so it could get scanned/sniffed separately. But overall it wasn’t an issue. So do take it with you.
- Feed the baby on takeoff and landing. This worked out really well for us. Lily had a bottle at takeoff and ate poofs while landing. Because of this, she didn’t have any issues with the changing air pressure and her ears.
- Let them sleep on the airplane. What’s a better way to pass the time than sleeping? Work with your little one to ensure they don’t get their nap until just after takeoff. Lily slept 3 out of 4 hours on our return flight and it was wonderful.
- Make time to play. On vacation, sometimes it’s just go go go. If you do that too much, you’ll end up with a crabby baby who just wants to play with you and their toys. Make some time in the mornings and evenings where they can just be free to play.
- Use painters tape to cover outlets in the hotel. Instead of worrying about little fingers getting into the outlets, take painters tape to cover them up. Goes on easy, comes off clean and works great!
- Take lots of toys. Any distractions are good, and you’ll need a variety. In the air or on the ground, finding something to distract your child is very important.
- Relax. Chances are it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be. Our first flight was very good and we survived traveling with an active 11 month old.
Overall, the thought of traveling with a baby is probably worse than the actual event as long as you prepare yourself and your child.