Travel is a new experience that can transport you out of your everyday routine to create memories with the ones you love.
– Brian Chesky
Copying and pasting the same question over and over again in every parent Facebook group I could think of. The question: “Traveling with a nine-month-old. What do I do?!?” I was so nervous about traveling with my squirming little bundle of happiness, Baby J. I pictured him wiggling out of my arms and down the aisle of our filthy plane to Oahu. Instead he sat happily on my lap playing with his toys, eating tons of snacks, and napping for a few hours thanks to many, many, many suggestions from other moms.
Below I have compiled the air travel advice I found most helpful. Some of it may also be helpful for car travel.
- Don’t expect travel days to be “normal” days. Baby may sleep or eat less or more.
- To the best of your ability make sure that baby is well rested before you travel.
- Nurse or have baby use a pacifier during take off. This will help with ear pain and popping.
- Use pacifier tethers to tether sippy cups and toys. Imagine all the germs on the floor of the plane. Yuck!
- Bring toys your baby has never played with. I went by thrift stores before each flight, washed up the toys I bought, and didn’t care what happened to them after that. Baby J was more entertained by them because he’d never seen them before. I also made sure that the toys were soft and small so they could be squished into my carry-on and Baby J couldn’t be too loud banging them on the tray table.
- Bring lots of snacks, and don’t worry if baby eats less or more than usual. Baby J usually eats solid table foods, breastmilk and formula. I brought formula, Bambas from Trader Joe’s, fruit/veggie pouches, and organic puffs because they aren’t too messy. I also nursed him whenever he was interested. TSA is pretty lenient about formula and pureed packaged baby foods. Put the fruit pouches in with your liquids and the formula in a bin by itself when going through security.
- Wear your baby carrier and use your stroller to tote your luggage. When boarding and exiting the aircraft use your baby carrier to free up your hands. You will need to remove baby from the carrier before take off and during landing, but you may find it helpful to give your arms a rest during the flight and definitely while you navigate the airport. Keep in mind that your stroller will meet you at the gate when you arrive.
My last bit of encouragement is that the airplane changing table is not as bad as you imagined it. Because the restroom is quite small baby is protected by three walls along the edge of the changing table. Be sure to bring your changing pad so that baby doesn’t have to lie on the bare, hard surface of the changing table.
Good luck on your travels, and please share your suggestions below.