Vacationing with baby

Wow, time sure flies! Christopher just turned nine weeks old on Saturday! And he’s already been across the country and back. Quite the jet-setter, he is. And traveling with an infant isn’t really all that complicated actually. I mean, it’s definitely more work than just packing your carry on and mozy-ing down the jetway, but it’s not bad. Here are the things I learned to do and not to do:

1. Disposable. Normally, I try to be pretty green in my parenting. We use cloth diapers, cloth wipes, etc. But, I also try to be fairly practical, and for me, practical does not include toting around 24 poopy diapers, trying to find a laundromat, etc. I think, if we do a weekend trip or a car road trip where paying for additional baggage/carrying said additional baggage weren’t considerations, I would keep with cloth. But for this two week adventure, I hit up my local costco (incidentally, diapers are insanely inexpensive at costco), bought C’s first pack of disposables and some wipes, and hit the road. It worked well. The disposable wipes also came in handy for cleaning hands and faces.

2. Snap n Go stroller. This item was recommended to me by a friend, and I really wasn’t sure about it, since C has a travel set stroller/car seat combo. We got this McLaren easy traveller stroller from amazon for about 80 bucks (free shipping with Amazon Mom!). It was really nice. It folds up like an umbrella stroller, there is less risk of it getting broken by the airline peeps since it’s so small and light and easy to carry, and you can finagle it one-handed (a plus going through security). C’s car seat snaps in and out.

3. Speaking of security, here’s what worked best for me. We had four flights, so I tried a couple of different methods. I put C in his baby bjorn (also a very useful baby accessory- more on this later). That way I had both hands to get all my crap on the xray machine. You’re not allowed to bring the baby through in his car seat (or obviously to put him through the xray machine). So, with C in his carrier, I got everything on the belt (note the car seat has to have the carrying handle all the way back and be put through upside down in order to fit – God bless the nice TSA lady who helped me figure it out). Then right before it’s my turn, I popped C out of his carrier and put the bjorn through. Walked through with C in my arms.

The TSA people I encountered were very helpful. As were my fellow passengers, which I was surprised by. Someone offered to help me each time. Warmed my cold black heart right up. I won’t lie, the security portion was very stressful (though I’m a fairly anxious person generally), but it’s totally doable.

4. Gate check your car seat and stroller. It was free for us on Continental and United, and it was really nice to pile all the carry on baggage in the stroller and push it through the airport while C was in his carrier.

5. You get to take an additional carry on for free for baby’s diaper bag.

6. You’re allowed to take breastmilk through security. I didn’t do this, so I don’t know the particulars (like if you can take ice/ice pack to keep it cool), but I did see a sign that the milk itself was ok to go through. I imagine the same is true for formula.

7. Nursing cover. This was an AWESOME investment. I got an email for http://www.uddercovers.com, and the cover was free if I paid shipping. If you google it, I’m sure they have another code- they seem to always have some special or another running. It was great- I fed C all over the midwest/east coast very discreetly. Plus, the pattern was cute!

8. If you’re breastfeeding, bring your pump. For me, the extra bag meant I was able to have cocktails with friends and not worry about baby getting alcohol-tainted milk. Plus, I usually kept a small bottle in a little cooler sack (that is, until I left the little cooler sack in the stupid Cleveland airport). That way, if you’re somewhere it’s impossible to breastfeed (i.e., a car), then you have a little something to tide baby over until you can nurse.

9. Feed on take off and landing. The sucking is supposed to sooth baby’s ears during the pressure change, and I found it really worked. C didn’t really make a peep on the flights. There may have been a squwak here or there, but no baby meltdowns. Always a good thing.

10. Baby Bjorn (or other carrier). This was great. C tends to be a little colicky – especially during the early evening witching hours, and whenever he’s in this little job, I can sway and bop and do other sooth-y things. I prolly look like a total dork, but hey, my kid’s happy. So I don’t care. Also, it was nice to walk around without the hubbub of a stroller.

OK, baby’s calling. Hasta for now.

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