July 12, 2013

Traveling with a VERY Busy Boy

Okay- So, I may not be an expert, but after flying/hotel staying with Caedmon twice before the age of one, I would say I have gained some insight into traveling with an infant.  The first time we fly, he was 7 months old.  He was not mobile yet, but full of energy.  The second time, he was almost 10 months old, fully mobile, busy, and loud.  Here are some tips with some fun anecdotes from our travels mixed in.

1.  Make flying sound like something fun.  A lot of kids get scared on planes, little and big alike.  We told Caedmon how exciting flying was and how much fun it would be.  We tried to explain everything from going through security to finding our seat.  I know it seems silly to think that a baby needs this, but they understand more than most people think and take cues from their parents how to react to new things.  If we were excited, he was more likely to be excited.

2.  Hope for sleep, but be prepared for play.  On our first flight, as soon as the engines clicked on, he was out.  It was amazing.  However, when we fly again when he was older, we could forget about sleep.  We spent the first 15 minutes of each flight with him crawling from one lap to the other.  We let him work out some energy, then we encouraged him to calm down and play with something.  I had a backpack full of his favorite (quiet) toys.  We also found that empty cups from the flight attendant made great toys!  Skymall was the victim of crumpling and tearing, but who needs a cat toilet training set anyway! 
3.  Logistics! TSA issues:  Some airlines (I think it supposed to be all, but Southwest asked and Delta did not) require you to provide proof of age for lap children.  This could be either a copy of a birth certificate or a shot record.  Also, you are allowed to bring any liquids you need for your child for the entire time you are traveling.  This includes, formula/breast milk, jar food, juice, diaper cream, and anything else that your child needs to be comfortable for the flight.  You may be asked to take it all out for inspection, so don't stash is somewhere where it will be hard to get it out.  Also, two lap children cannot sit in the same row on an airplane so if you see another baby and think, "hey, maybe they will play together," you cannot sit in that row.
4.  Swallow your pride.  When you walk on a plane with a baby, people look at you like you have the plague.  Just do your best to keep your baby quiet, but remember that he or she is a baby and you bought your tickets just like everyone else.  I was also quite surprised at the number of people who said, "I have been there."  A lot of people understand so don't let the few who don't bring you down.
5.  Always check with hotels about whether or not they have cribs.  We quickly found when we started calling that not all do.  We did not want to bring along a pack-n-play so we wanted a hotel with a crib.  You can also reserve one so you know they won't be out when you arrive. 
6.  Pack smart.  There is a fine line between over packing and under packing when it comes to babies.  For the first trip, we over packed.  Our kiddo is a notorious spit-up kid and he was getting over a cold, increasing the chances of spit-up.  We packed way too many clothes.  For the second trip, I feel like we slightly under packed.  I was expecting a cooler climate than we went into and I did not pack enough light clothes and I felt like we were grasping at straws by the end (taking him back to the reception after the 3rd wardrobe change in a jammie shirt and diaper).  Know your kid and pack according to about how much clothes you go through at home plus a couple extra.  Pack for all possible weather conditions, but pack layers to each piece can serve multiple functions.
7.  Try your best to keep the schedule you baby is used to.  Sometimes this just can't happen when you are away, but I feel like we avoid many melt-downs if we try to keep things as normal as possible for him.
8.  Last one: Buy some stuff there.  We did not do this the first time but did the second time and it was great!  Pretty much everywhere has a Babies R Us or Walmart so pack what you need for the plane and buy the rest there.  It makes everyone's luggage lighter and you don't have to worry about baby food jars getting broken when you check them.
Happy travels!  Remember, have fun!

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