children · lifestyle · Uncategorized

Traveling with babies

I had the most magical week in Europe visiting Ashley! I want to only think about the time we spent together because when I think about the traveling part of it, lets just say it was not so magical. I want to share a few things that worked and what would have been helpful in my time of need on a 9 hour flight with a 23 month old baby {lap child}!

  1. Pack your carryon bag carefully! This bag will be your only lifeline while you are on a long flight with other people you don’t know! Things that were helpful to pack: her favorite snacks/food in ziplock baggies {easy and fast access}, an empty bottle or sippy cup{ask the steward for whatever beverage your baby needs/wants-mine wanted gingerly-she got it!}, books and small, quiet toys,  her favorite blanket, charged iPad and headphones {make sure to download her favorite shows BEFORE traveling!!!!}, her favorite songs on your phone {headphones once again}.

*The most helpful thing was having the iPad downloaded with her favorite shows and songs was a lifesaver! I don’t even care how much she watched on that flight because I was literally in SURVIVAL mode!

2. Tell the person you are sitting by and the person in front of you that you are sorry in advance for your baby. If you go into the flight apologetic and honest, the travelers have more sympathy for you. Once I did that, the travelers said, “Oh we have traveled with kids before and so we understand!” Obviously sometimes you will have not so understanding people, but if you are up front with them before take off, you should have more understanding.

3.  Don’t be afraid to go to the back of the plane where the stewards prepare food when your baby is freaking out. You will be more calm and the people around you will thank you! My baby had a full on melt down in the middle of the night which so happened to be in the middle of the night so everyone around me wanted to sleep! I got so nervous about waking people up that I had a mini panic attack. Thats when I finally went to the back of the plane and started crying along with my baby! Thats where I should have gone for as long as the seatbelt sign was off because there is space to hold and bounce your baby and there are no people to wake up because it is loud there anyway! The sweet stewardess told me to not cry and gave me warm milk to put her in bottle. Once I got her calmed down, I went back to my seat and she fell asleep, for a few minutes!

4. Find the right bathroom on the plane. There is always one bathroom with a changing table in it! It is so helpful when you can lay your baby on the fold out tray and change them instead of some awkward place on the plane! You have a trash can and sink in there so you are set as long as you ask where the changing table is! {usually it is the middle one!}

5. Ask for help! The stewards will give you just about anything you want/need because they see you are in distress so ask them for whatever drink or snacks your baby wants. If you need a pillow or blanket, or any other help, my experience is that MOST of the time, they want to help you. {occasionally you will get the annoyed ones that don’t understand, but not too often}

6. STROLLER is a MUST! If you think you can get by traveling without a stroller, re-think! You will need all of the extra hands you can get so a stroller is a lifesaver! I even used my stroller to pull my luggage by putting the handle of the luggage over the stroller handle and pushed the stroller from the side. Having a confined baby is NEEDED while trying to get through the airport. I even used the stroller up until the second I stepped on the plane, then put her back in the second they put it back out for me!

7. Lap Child vs no lap child…I chose to fly to Europe at this particular time because I thought “I will save SO Much money by having her on my lap!” Well, yes, I saved money, but I sure didn’t save my sanity. If Winnie would have had her own seat, I think it would have been a much easier flight!  We had such little space, she was kicking the seat in front of me because she is almost 2 and big and she could not sleep comfortably! Not to mention she would throw drinks and food that were on the tray because there was no room for her and the tray! {Thank goodness to the passenger next to me that let me share his tray!} If I had to do it over again, I would have most likely gotten her own seat! I had to bring Winnie because there was nobody to watch her for a week, so giving her some room on the plane would have been a good solution!

8. Take a picture of where you park! I texted myself what parking number and parking pick up I was at thinking I had all of the information. NOPE, I did not write down which lot at the Chicago O’Hare Airport parking lot which is massive! After traveling with a not so great baby for 9 hours, plus jet lag, all I wanted was to be home but I still had a 2 1/2 hour drive back to my house. Because I didn’t write down he right lot, I was lost for an hour and a half. Finally, I had the parking people help me drive around each lot to find my car. The sweet guy that helped me said this happens multiple times a day and that if people just TOOK a picture of the lot and pick up station they were in, it would save so much heart ache!

9. Bring your chargers! Airports these days have charging stations and outlets all over the place, so being able to charge your devise is easy and you will for sure want a charged devise while flying!

10. Go into your traveling day as positive as possible with as much sleep as possible. I was anxious to travel the night before, so I got no sleep! Looking back, I should have taken a sleeping pill to help me relax and sleep because that only added to my mini breakdown on the flight. For the baby, Zarbee’s has a great baby melontonin chewable pill to help them fall asleep. Desperate times calls for desperate measures! Help yourself by helping the baby fall asleep easier.

Traveling with babies is not the greatest, but if you can be prepared and set yourself up for success, you will enjoy it a bit more. Or at least you won’t have a mini panic attack like me!

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