Babies on a Plane

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This is not a repeat post, I promise. You probably remember my post on flying with babies and also my “Diaper Bag Essentials” post, but I wanted to do an updated version for babes over 12 months. Maybe you haven’t heard, but most domestic airlines will let kids under 2 fly for free on your lap. This is amazing news for us, since we normally fly with $300+ tickets to California. This is bad news for us because we fly to California and it’s always a 6 hour trek [at least]. When Sugar Plum was smaller, she would nurse, sleep for half the flight, and when she was awake, she’d quietly look at the rest f the passengers or just want some thing to bite on. I laugh now when I think about how stressed out I used to be traveling with her at that age. Now we have a rowdy one year old who can crawl, walk, play, and needs so much stimulation that I’m already having nightmares about a never-ending flight the next time we go to visit my family. I think the saying goes “proper planning prevents poor performance”? I don’t know – it’s some thing like that – and that’s why I am already planning.

We recently did a 5 hour car trip for Labor Day weekend, and I felt like that was good practice. In fact, I would argue that flying is easier then car trips because both parents can give their full attention to the baby, there are some options to move around [as opposed to being strapped in a car seat], and I feel like it’s easier to do certain activities like coloring or eating. Also, most flights nowadays make you have a layover somewhere, which sounds like a hassle, but to me its the perfect halftime. I can change baby in a decent sized bathroom, grab a hot meal, and stretch out my legs while providing a change of scenery for baby.

Now, as far as how I am modifying what to pack, this is what I have planned:

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Food – Pack a snack for every hour you’ll be traveling. I know this may seem like overkill, but if your kid asks for a snack every hour, at least you’ll have one. Even if they don’t want a snack every hour, you’ll have back up snacks in case there is a delay and you don’t want to pay for airport food. *Sigh* It was so much easier when I could just nurse my little babe…

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Beverages – We carry these bottles through security empty [just to avoid the hassle of “claiming” liquids, though, if you have formula or milk, you ARE allowed to take these things through security with a baby] then fill up the water bottle with the filter at a drinking fountain. We periodically fill up the baby cup with our filtered water bottle, so everyone has some thing to drink!

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Entertainment – This is always the hardest category because you don’t want to pack too much to where toys are falling out of your bag when you go to reach for you ID, but at the same time, you want to have enough to keep a little one occupied. I pick a skinny book like our Dr. Seuss books, because they slip into the back of a backpack nicely and don’t take up too much room. Our daughter loves books, and is content to sit and flip through the pages for long periods of time so I’m hoping this will be a good activity to calm her down. Crayons and paper are also items I’ve packed. The paper is a thin little booklet from he dollar store, so again, it shouldn’t take up much room; and crayons are generally less messy than markers. If that isn’t stimulating enough, I have her “cell phone” packed, which lights up and makes different noises when you press it. Since the plane engine is so loud, it won’t disturb other passengers to have my baby play with this normally noisy toy, as a lot of its sounds are significantly muted once we’ve taken off [and anyway, it’s better to listen to the ABC’s on repeat then to hear a baby scream, amirite?]. Of course I will have my actual phone on me. The Samsung galaxy comes with a built-in “kids mode” where you can let your kids play with your phone to their heart’s content, and not have to worry about them deleting your contacts or moving around your apps. It is a password protected part of the phone that only has children’s applications on it.

As much as I’m hoping she’ll eat and sleep for me on this flight, I’m prepared for the worst! We’ve traveled so much just in the past year, so I’m sure we will slip back into our vacation groove, but it’s always to be prepared for the worst. How do you keep your child content for hours at a time?

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Flying with Baby

Its one of the most terrifying things you’ll ever do as a parent.

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How am I going to get through security with all my baby crap?
What if she screams the entire time?
What if the other passengers gang up on me with dirty looks?

Throw those worries out the window. I have compiled my best travel tips and tricks for you all! I’m from California, as you know… But did you know its a whopping 5+ hour trip to get there!? We just got home from our Christmas trip so I thought I’d share how I survived with you all!  Now I have already provided you with my diaper bag essentials, but this is the mega list of essentials for traveling with baby!

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Tip 1: I know Im usually all for the fashionable diaper bag, but for a trip like this, its better to use the backpack in tandum with some type of baby carrier. This leaves your hands free to hand TSA agents boarding passes/IDs and they also let you keep the baby in it’s carrier throughout the security checkpoint.

What you’ll need:
-changing mat: not only is it good for avoiding yucky changing tables, but this one is plush enough for impromptu naps during layovers in the terminal.
-hand sanitizer: for after a messy diaper change, or for after touching anything in the airport really…
-arm&hammer trash baggies: to contain messes and smelly diapers
-A small book: entertainment
-A small toy: preferably one that can clip onto your bag
-food: depending on how old your babe is you may or maynot need this. My cousin is a nurse and she says to add 1/2 a dose of ibuprofen to these pouches to help baby’s ears and help them sleep on long flights.
-boogie wipes: airplanes are dry, and these wipes with saline, help a lot.
-extra clothes: for some reason, babies get explosive poops at high altitudes… you can never be over prepared!
-desitin: Do not forego the desitin because chances are baby will end up sitting in a wet diaper for longer than normal and will need some relief!
-cup/bottle/breast/something to suck: to avoid baby screaming during ascent and descent, nurse or feed you baby at these times. The sucking helps baby’s ears pop.

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Tip 2: I recommend tucking your extra outfits into a couple of the arm&hammer bags. When destruction inevitably strikes, you can take the clean outfit out, and put the messed out fit in.

Tip 3: I am a big advocate of wearing your baby through security in a wrap. You don’t have to mess with a stroller, and they just frisk you with that little wand thingy, without requiring you to take your baby out of the wrap. Baby in the front, diaper bag on your back… its too easy!

Tip 4: make sure you put your desitin, baby food, and hand sanitizer in a sandwich-sized ziplock bag before you go,  since most airports still require you to “claim” any liquids you have.

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Tip 5: Obviously, don’t forget these essentials! I said in my diaper bag post to bring 1 diaper for every hour you’re gone… Well, bring extra when flying. There may be unexpected delays and you’ll end up being gone longer than expected without the proper supplies.

Tip 6: My babe is EBF, but if you have a baby on formula or on purees, there are separate guidelines for bringing food through security. Usually, the rule for liquids is you can have no more than 3, 3 ounce containers. Luckily, they are a little more laid back with baby food, but make sure you “claim” your items to a TSA agent before sending your bags through the x-ray.

FOR THE MOMMY:

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Mommy needs to be prepared too! Wear some thing comfortable, but not too cute [as baby may have an accident on you! [Tip 6: try to squeeze an extra shirt for yourself in that diaper bag!] If you’re a nursing mama, make sure its a nursing top or something else that gives you quick, easy access. I also bought this cute “pearl” necklace from “Mommy Designs” on etsy. It’s made out of safe silicone that baby can chew on. Its a good way to sneak in a second toy that also makes your look a little cuter.

My last “mommy essential” is yoga pants. I guess that’s no surprise… but I’m still going to give an explanation: 1) they are incredibly comfortable 2) if your child has an accident, or some thing spills on you, wearing black really helps to camouflage all the messes.  Happy traveling!