How to Keep Your Cool While Traveling with an Infant
My husband and I travel quite a bit and we made an unspoken pact to keep it up post babe. We've done a pretty good job - my 6 month old daughter has been to 4 countries and 5 US states. Have there been some really tough moments? Yes. Is traveling with an infant way more complicated than flying solo? Absolutely. Is it worth it? For us, 100%.
Here are a few practices that have kept me sane in our many adventures with baby Grace:
1. Don't care what people think. For me, the most important thing has been to not focus in on the opinions of others. Will your crying babe anger people on the airplane? Probably. Will people stare at you? For sure. Does it matter? No. Babies cry, mamas handle things and people will move on with their lives.
2. Breathe. When I find myself in a chaotic or panicked moment I close my eyes, hold my babe close and take 3 deep breaths. This simple exercise helps me reset and realize that the problem is either not that bad or will pass soon enough.
3. Let people help you. This one is hard for me, I've always been the 'no, thank you. I've got it' type of person, but I've recently started to embrace the kindness of strangers. People offer to help carry the stroller or luggage or help with the babe all the time. One time a nice couple helped me wrap my poopy daughter in a plastic bag (her diaper exploded while we were landing so I couldn't get up) so we could exit the airplane poop-free (there was a lot of breathing happening in this moment as well). If they don't offer help and I need it, I'll ask. Especially when I'm traveling without my husband.
4. Be flexible. This has been crucial for staying sane during motherhood. I have a short list of things to achieve (e.g. in this context: make it to the airport on time, go to the bathroom before the flight, eat) and then make sure I achieve them. Everything else is fluid, because who knows what the babe will need in any given moment.
5. Give yourself extra time. Traveling with an infant takes twice as long. You have so much more equipment, you need to take more bathroom and food breaks and you need to take the elevators (where even are the elevators?!) . On a recent trip to New York City, I missed a train because I was circling trying to find the elevator - if you're a super planner I would recommend mapping out the elevators in the airport or train station before you go.
6. Figure out your feeding plan. Are you going to breastfeed on the plane in your tight seat (I do it, but the discomfort is something to consider) Pump beforehand? How will you keep the milk cool? Formula feed? Do you have enough bottles? Water? Shoutout here to Mamava who have created dreamy pods where breastfeeding mamas can feed without the eyeballs of thousands of strangers.
7. Book an aisle seat. So you can get up and rock the babe or run to the bathroom without stepping over people or waking them up.
8. Feed while taking off and landing. Apparently this helps relieve the pressure in their ears, it certainly helps prevent my babe from entering into an epic screaming session.
A few pieces of gear that have been super useful to us while traveling:
- The Uppababby travel bag, which offers a guarantee on travel for your Uppababy stroller.
- Uppababy car seat converter - so you can safely transport the babe in a Lyft or rental car.
- Brica travel bassinet.
- Baby Bjorn.
- Three changes of clothes.
- Hand sanitizer.
- High protein snacks and lots of water for mama.
What are your favorite tips and tools for traveling with your infant?