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 |

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.

Things To Do in Dallas

When I was in kindergarten, we had a foreign exchange student who lived with us for a year (we actually did this 3 different times, but Mizuho was the first) and over the years we have kept in close contact with her.  We got to go visit her and her family in Tokyo in 2011 and she brought her daughters to the US that same year.  This year for their spring break, they decided to come visit again and would spend part of their visit here in Dallas with my husband and me (my brother and his wife live here too… so they got to visit all of us!).

The girls are all learning English, while Mizuho is fluent, so there was a lot of translating going on, but I am so impressed with the girl’s ability to pick up the language! But since we decided to do a whirlwind of Dallas activities in one weekend I decided to snap some photos and share with you all some of the best things to do in Dallas (especially with kids!).  I’ve tried to include info on admissions prices/time to allocate, but check out each website for up to date information!


1. The Arboretum— I could not have been more impressed with the Arboretum.  I have been before and always enjoyed the beautiful blooms and the views of Whiterock Lake, but I had never experienced their children’s area! It was amazing! There were tons of things for kids of all ages to do and play with, including water features, tree houses, places to learn about weather and light reflection, tons of options. And everywhere you looked were beautiful blooms!


We managed to hit it up when it was both GORGEOUS outside, the tulips were blooming, and the Japanese Cherry Blossoms were in bloom.

thingstodoindallas9   thingstodoindallas7

As far as price goes, we ended up getting a family membership for 125 dollars.  It was the same price as 6 adults and I’ll be able to use it all year to take people in.  If you live in Dallas or know someone who does, I think this would be an excellent gift idea for Christmas.  I’ll definitely be using my membership! I know in the fall they have houses made out of pumpkins and they have concerts out on the lawn periodically, so check the website for events!

Cost: If you are just in town for a short period or aren’t interested in a membership, tickets are $15 dollars for adults and $10 for children (12 and under).

Time: Depending on how long you like to be outdoors (and how hot it is) allow at least an hour for the children’s area and an hour to walk the rest of the gardens.

Food: We ate at the Two Sisters Cafe in front of the children’s area, it is mostly sandwiches and self serve items, with a few items that can be heated up in provided microwaves.  The food was good, but pricey.  The arboretum does allow you to bring in your own food and drinks, so a packed picnic would definitely be the way to go!

2. The Perot Museum–definitely a great stop for inquiring young minds.  It is nature and science museum that has TONS of great exhibits.  I highly recommend taking the escalator to the top floor and working your way down, but you should time your visit well because the second floor has a lot of hands on activities that are fun for all ages (see my dad below concentrating very hard on making the ping pong balls pop!)


They also have some really cool dinosaur skeletons, information about space and weather, even a place where you can practice reading the forecast:


There is a ton of information in the museum, so if you are with a science buff, allow a little extra time.  But for kids and adults there is a great balance of hands on activities, media, and information.  We didn’t take advantage, but they also have some 3D movies that I think would be kind of fun to see.  I always loved those as a kid!

The building itself is pretty amazing, with a lot of thought going into making it sustainable and interesting.  And there are some outdoor areas that you can play music or play on the frogs before you even make it in to the building.


Cost:  $17 for adults, $11 for children ages 2-17

Time: I would allow 3 hours minimum if you want to see the whole museum, longer if you are with someone who wants to read everything!

Food:  I wouldn’t plan on eating at the museum (although they did have a cafe).  I would plan on eating a dinner or lunch at a good Mexican place like Chuy’s or El Fenix or pick up food to go and eat out at Klyde Warren Park which is not far from the museum.

3. George W. Bush Presidential Library— A beautiful building on my grad school alma mater’s campus, the Bush Library is a great museum.  It walks through the Bush family’s private lives, giving you glimpses into their pre-White House days, September 11th, and the presidency as a whole.  I definitely underestimated how emotional it would be to rewatch the footage from 9-11.  The Library does a really good job of being reverent to the power of that day, but also giving you glimpses of what it would be like to be the president during an event like that.

One of the cool things to do in the museum is to sit at a replica of the Resolute Desk in an oval office that is built completely to scale.


I’m not sure younger kids would get as much out of this museum as some of the others, but there were definitely field trips of 2nd and 3rd graders three while we were there… so there is definitely some for them to see and experience.

Cost:  $16 for adults, $14 for children ages 13-17, 10 for children ages 5-12, free for under 5

Time: I would allow 2 hours to see the Library and watch the videos

Food:  There aren’t any restaurants that I saw in the Library, and food and beverages are prohibited.  So eat before or plan to eat after!

4. The Fort Worth Zoo— (there was some debate about whether we would go to the Dallas Zoo or the Fort Worth Zoo, I think both are good zoos, we ended up going to Fort Worth because it was open later on Sundays and we could only go late afternoon).


I will start off by saying I am not a huge Zoo fan.  I don’t love seeing animals in cages and I feel like many zoos are exactly the same.  BUT I do have to admit that the girls loved getting to see all the animals and the Fort Worth Zoo does a great job of allowing you to be up close to the animals to really get to see and experience them.  And maybe more importantly for a Texas zoo, they have a lot of good shaded places to walk and places to sit down, so for all of you tired and hot mom’s, this would definitely be a plus in my book.  Not to mention, the people watching is almost as good as the animal watching!

Aside from somewhat tragic timing of walking through the raptor canyon at feeding time (There was a real national geographic moment as an eagle was fed its live rat, at which point we discovered that one of the girls has a very tender heart and loves hamsters… so THAT was traumatic), it was a great visit.


Cost:  $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-12, free for under 3

Time: We were there for about 2 hours and that was a good amount of time.  If you have slower walkers or want to linger around various animals, I would allow 2.5-3 hours.

Food:  There are tons of restaurants and snack bars, but everything is a bit pricey and not healthy at all.  Although they have a Dickey’s BBQ in the zoo, and I love Dickey’s so if you plan on eating… that is a good option.  You are allowed to take your own food and you are definitely allowed to bring water bottles and I highly recommend taking them, especially if you are visiting in the summer.


5.  The 6th Floor Museum— We didn’t actually get to fit this one in on this trip, but I have been several times and it is one of my Dallas Favorites.  Housed in the Schoolbook Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald theoretically took the shot that killed Kennedy, this building has sweeping views of Downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza. It also houses an impressive collection of information about Kennedy’s presidency and assassination. They do an excellent job of showing you what information there is on the actual event as well as conspiracy theories and other information surrounding the event, they even show the famous Zapruder film that shows the assassination occurring.

This is a picture I took out the window at the 6th floor museum that I took last fall when I was there for an event.


Definitely worth a visit, especially if you are a history buff or interested in the Kennedy Assassination.  There are not really a lot of activities for young children, but a definite must see for older children and adults.

Cost:  $16 for adults, $13 for children ages 6-18, free for under 6

Time: 2 hours is about the right amount of time if you want to go through the museum and get a lot out of it, but again, if you want to read everything allow a little extra time.


I love Dallas and all of the things it has to offer, so I’m always happy to have visitors to my city! What do you think Dallas-ites, have I missed anything?