Traveling with Baby- by Airplane

This is part 2 of a 3 part series (unfortunately stretched over a long period of time!) If you want part one, click here for the Roadtripping with an Infant post.

Because my husband was halfway across the country for several months this last year, I had the misfortune opportunity to fly with an infant multiple times by myself. Before she turned 8 months old, Taylor had logged 11 flights.  Her very first flight was when she was just over 3 months old and they spanned the next 5 months, so I feel like I got some good experience/knowledge about what to do to make it as easy as possible to travel with an infant by yourself on a plane.  Here is what I learned.

Booking your ticket:

What seat do you pick? I stressed a little bit about which seat… do you sit on the aisle so you can go change her diaper easily… or maybe the window so that you have some arm support and containment for toys being thrown/dropped?  Or the middle seat for… wait, never mind… everyone hates sitting in the middle seat.  Over those 11 flights I ended up sitting in each of them at least once, and it was sort of a toss up between the aisle or the window.  I liked sitting in the window seat the best, but of course one of the times when she had a super stinky diaper, the guy sitting on the aisle had fallen asleep and I had to try to wait until he woke up to go change her diaper.  Whoops! If you were doing a long flight, I’d recommend aisle, shorter flight, definitely window.

Adding the infant to the reservation: If you haven’t booked the infant their own seat (and let’s be honest… who has that kind of money!?), you will have to add the infant to your own reservation in order to go through security.  On American, that requires calling the reservation desk in advance to add the kiddo’s name and birthdate to your reservation.  And double check when you print your boarding pass that it says: ‘With Infant’ on there.

Pick a good flight time: I found it best to try to find a flight during her naptime and most of the time she slept the majority of the flight. Only one flight was delayed and she slept the whole time in the airport, but was awake the whole flight.  But you win some, you lose some!

Flying With an Infant |

Going through security: 

I always found it easiest to check the carseat unless I knew there was a seat next to me in advance. I bought this car seat cover to check the carseat without any damage to it. But checking it meant one less thing to carry around the airport with me.  I also elected to check my own bag so that I was just carrying Taylor and her diaper bag.

I carried Taylor in her Baby Bjorn through security and that left my hands mostly free to deal with my boarding pass/diaperbag/etc. Plus they send you through a regular metal detector instead of the full body scanner, and then wipe your hands with a cotton swab like thing and run it through a scanner and having her in a carrier leaves your hands free for that test.

Her bottles didn’t have to be under 3 ounces, but if they were larger than 3 ounces they ran it through a separate test and in a busy airport (like Washington Reagan) that takes a little more time than usual, so leave a little extra time.  Flying With an Infant |

On the Flight: 

People are WAY more patient than you expect.  I had read horror stories about people who In all those flights I never had anyone make comments, roll their eyes or give us the stink eye.  In fact more often than not, people offered to help with my bag, pick up dropped items, or try to entertain Taylor.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCEPT HELP.  That? Not one of my strong suits.  I’m an “I can do it myself” kind of girl, so letting others help isn’t easy for me to do, but I wouldn’t have survived otherwise!  But even when she was fussy/crying/inconsolable I discovered that as long as I was trying to appease her, and make her not as fussy, people didn’t seem to mind and they were, more often than not, sympathetic.

Speaking of being inconsolable… here are a few things that I found helpful when she got fussy on the flights:

  1. Have food ready (and more than you think is necessary!)–if you read this post, you know I have been breastfeeding Taylor, but I was a little weary about how exactly that would work on a plane, so for the first few flights I packed a couple of smaller bottles to feed her on the plane when she got hungry.  That worked well, but I also got over that fear after the few flights and managed to breastfeed her on the flight (with a cover) and found that it was easier than expected… especially if you are sitting in window seat and can use the side of the plane to block view.  But once the baby can have real food, bring plenty of crackers, puffs or anything your kiddo loves.  And if you can, pack a few pouches of food (I put mine in my plastic baggie in place of toiletries).
  2. PLENTY of toys. I packed several toys that were sure fire favorites and with minimal sound.  When she got tired of one, I’d shove it back into her bag and bring another one out.
  3. Pacifiers, pacifiers, and more pacifiers.  I had one that I clipped to her shirt (which was awesome) so that she couldn’t spit it out and onto the ground.  But it was always nice to have a few backups.

As far as changing her diaper on the plane, all but the smallest planes we took had a fold down changing table above the toilet that was surprisingly easy to use. I did take a few disposable changing pads to keep her just a little more sanitary during the process.

Overall, patience and a knowledge that things are not going to be perfectly will help you more than anything on a flying day, but trust that other people are TYPICALLY helpful.

Anyone else have tips for flying with a baby?
Flying With an Infant |

9 & 10 Months

So I said I would do updates every month, and then life got the better of me.  Or rather Taylor being sick got the better of me.  Towards the end of march and beginning of April, Taylor got a bad case of RSV where she was sick for about 10 days, which then developed into an ear infection, and as soon as we thought we were in the clear for that, she developed a fever again.  So we spent about 3 weeks in a haze of sick baby (who would only sleep sitting upright) and trying to keep up with both of our full time jobs.  The downside of an excellent daycare? You can’t go if you have had a fever in 24 hours.  (I think that’s all daycares… and totally get it, but ugh).  So she was out of school for about a week and a half, we went to the ER a few times to do ‘deep suctioning’ which is about as pleasant as it sounds, but all in all we survived, but as you can imagine, blogging took a backseat! So she doesn’t have an 9 month update.  Mostly, all her pictures looked like this:

Taylor 10 Months |

Or if she was feeling better, this:  Taylor 10 Months |

But here we are, several weeks into feeling better and we are very happy to have our active, happy child back.  For about two weeks she wanted to do nothing but sleep and lay on you.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the baby snuggles, but  I missed watching her learn and grow and change!

She is eating a little bit of everything, but her favorites are by far bananas and greek yogurt.  If she is allowed to feed herself, she loves it even more… I’m pretty sure this is rice cereal she shoved into her mouth by the handful.   IMG_6852

She is curious and into everything at this point… definitely testing out our baby-proofing skills.

But we celebrated our first Easter with a quiet Sunday at home because… it snowed 3 inches!! And this was pretty much all of our reactions:

Taylor 10 Months |

We had another little setback around Easter when we discovered she is allergic to sesame.  She had a major allergic reaction after eating hummus at school, so after a few trips to the doc (between that and RSV, we are bffs with our new Pediatrician!), we are now armed with Epi Pens and a whole lot more knowledge. We get the full blood panel back next week, so we have our fingers and toes crossed that it is just sesame and not also peanuts and tree nuts.

Taylor 10 Months |


But that allergy hasn’t stopped us from growing leaps and bounds. Her daycare already sent over instructions for transitioning up to the next class, which makes me sad that she’ll be leaving these teachers that we have grown to love so much!

She has started sleeping through the night some of the time, which is a welcome change for the husband and me! She doesn’t dislike much, mostly being left alone in a room… even for a second, and she is not a fan of shots or getting her nose suctioned… but let’s be honest… who likes those things??  3-4 days a week I jog to go get her from school and she seems to enjoy the fresh air of being pushed in the stroller… even if I do get a few strange looks pushing an empty stroller on the way there.

I did attempt to take some 10 month photos… but that’s increasingly hard with a child who likes picking the blocks up! But she did show of some of her new standing skills in one of them!

Taylor 10 Months |

She weighs 17lbs 12 ounces, has a full head of mostly light brown hair, she says Dada all the time… but has only said Mama once… and that was a month ago.  She does like to babble quite a bit, and is VERY proud of herself when she stands up.

Taylor 10 Months |

She likes to peer around corners looking for Mom or Dad or the dog.  She likes bath time and going outside.  She LOVES puffs, but isn’t a big fan of meat.  And that is pretty much her life these days!!

We are loving every moment of this phase!

Taylor 10 Months |

Traveling with Baby- By Car

This is going to be a 3 part series.  Road Trip, Air Travel and What to Pack. First up, by car.

So I mentioned in her 8 month update that Taylor has now been to 8 states in her short little life span, 5 of which have been via car.  My job requires me to travel quite a bit and with my husband gone for training for a while, I was single parenting it.  Which means I have done 10+ 5 hour road trips just me and Taylor.  I’m not sure what qualifies you as an expert road traveler with an infant… but I feel like I’m there. So I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I picked up along the way that helped me survive. 7 Tips for successful road trips with an infant |

  1. If it at all possible, travel during naptime.  Some of our most successful trips have been while she is napping and I have a full tank of gas, so I just keep driving until she wakes up.  Just make sure she/he is buckled in properly and they should be perfectly safe and comfortable sleeping in their car seat.
    7 Tips for successful road trips with an infant |
  2. Be strategic about your trip— I have been breastfeeding Taylor the whole time, which meant that somewhere along our 5 hour drive she would need to eat. I am lucky that I know the road pretty well, so I have several okay places to stop along the way to feed/change her, but if its a new journey for you, be sure to look at a map and know when and where the next decent size cities are so you can stop at some place with plenty of light/clean bathrooms/lots of parking.  I say lots of parking because 9 times out of 10 I just parked in the far reaches of a walmart/target/grocery store parking lot where it was still well lit, but also not tons of people walking by and sat in my car to feed her.  I always found it helpful to have an extra empty seat in the back seat next to her car seat so that I could just sit in the back, take her out of her car seat, feed her and put her back in.
  3. This sort of ties in with the previous one, but leave plenty of time to make your drive.  When I was in college and my brothers and I would drive back to Texas it was basically a competition on who could make it in the least amount of time… and key to that success was short stops- gas, food, bathroom, go. Those days are ancient history.  Sometimes an extra stop is exactly what you need to calm down an infant who is angry at spending ANOTHER SECOND IN THAT CAR SEAT.
  4. Pack Well. Provide plenty of toys for baby to be entertained.  Taylor has a giraffe that dangles from the handle of her car seat, as well as a teething ring that can latch on there as well… but I also add in soft lovies, some plastic toys to chew on and a few more pacifiers than you will ever think you need.  And I always leave at least one paci in the cupholder up by me that I can toss back into her seat while I’m cruising down the road.  (perhaps not the safest thing I’ve ever done, but seriously a life saver when she is screaming her head off while I’m driving… and I only do it when there are no other cars around and I can do it without taking my eyes off the road).   You should also be sure to pack at LEAST one extra outfit.  I don’t know about your children, but my child has a sixth sense for when we are travelling and thinks that is the best time to have a HUGE poop.  So bring plenty of wipes and an extra outfit or two… just in case. Oh and all of that? All of that is in addition to the things you’ll need for your destination. 7 Tips for successful road trips with an infant |
  5. Have a diaper go bag.  So Taylor has her normal diaper bag, with everything that I carry around with her on a normal basis, but I keep a diaper go bag in my car which is especially helpful on road trips. I have this one and love it. It has a pull out changing pad, a place for wipes (I replaced their red plastic carrier with some honest travel wipes and it works great) and about 5 diapers.  This is fantastic for carrying in to change her diaper and then you can leave the whole diaper bag in the car but still have just what you need.
  6. Have a great playlist. I learned pretty quickly that my daughter LOVES classical music… I mean immediately stops crying and will just sit and listen to it for hours… so I have a few classical playlists that I have ready on hand to play whenever she gets grumpy.  That has saved us on SEVERAL road trips!
  7. Know that it is okay to cry.  I mean this mostly for the baby, but I have shed a few tears on occasion as well.  My first trip up in the car with her? She cried for 30 minutes, so I pulled over at the first place I could, took her into McDonald’s and they didn’t have a changing table. (Now that I’ve been a parent for more than 2 seconds I know that they frequently put them in the handicap stall… but I didn’t know that at the time.) So I carried her back out in the pouring rain, changed her in my front seat… because it was the only one open… and BLOWOUT diaper, finally get it off of her and me and bang her head as I’m getting out of the car.  My poor 3 month old little baby wailed her head off, but seemed no worse for the wear. So I get back in the car, and she promptly falls asleep… I on the other hand, called my mother sobbing.  I tell you this story because 1. It won’t be a perfect trip, and 2. If you can’t find a decent place to stop?  It won’t hurt them to cry a little longer.  Sometimes no matter what I try, she just wants to be out of the car seat and nothing else will do. So in those instances… I just let her cry for a little while.  Usually it doesn’t last too long until she wears herself out and falls back asleep.