Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Traveling with an Infant

My brother Dustin and I in 2005

Henry and I are heading to Florida for my brother's graduation!

Although little Henry traveled to more than 20 states in utero, this plane trip will be his first as a "big boy." Matt won't be going because tickets are simply too expensive and the timing is awkward.

I'm a little nervous about how it's all going to go down, but I'm excited. Here's how I plan to make the process as smooth as possible:
  • I booked only non-stop flights. Since it's only a 2-hour trip from Houston to Tampa, I figured it would be easier not to change planes.
  • I plan to minimize the amount of stuff I bring. I will only carry one traveler's backpack for our luggage, one diaper bag as my carry-on, and our car seat. We'll have Matt park at the airport and bring us in, so he can carry the car seat and my backpack and check them at the counter. We'll have to pay to check the bag, but the car seat is free. Then I will carry Henry in the Moby, with my diaper bag on my arm.
  • I will try to ask for a pat-down to get through security, so I can leave Henry in the Moby wrap (fingers crossed!).
  • To help save space in our luggage and to make the process easier, I will ask my mom to buy diapers for us, instead of using our cloth diapers.
  • When we arrive in Florida, my family can carry the car seat and my luggage, while I carry Henry in the Moby and my diaper bag.

Easier said than done!

Here's what I need to pack:
  • 10 outfits for Henry (we'll be gone 5 days; I can always do laundry if I need to)
  • Henry's swim diaper and rash guard
  • Our natural sunscreen
  • Henry's hat
  • A small but thick blanket for Henry to lay on when he's not being held
  • Clothes for me
  • My swimsuit
  • My sunglasses
  • Phone charger (I guess I'll leave my computer at home--hopefully I won't go into withdrawal!)
  • Soap/shampoo/conditioner/face wash/razor/comb/toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • Vitamins
  • Phone
  • Books to read
  • Shoes
  • Wallet
  • Diapers and wipes for the trip
  • Our portable changing pad cloth
  • My breast feeding cover
  • Henry's special soap
  • Pacifiers
  • Henry's nail clippers (yes, they will need to be cut during a 5-day span)
  • Henry's birth certificate (luckily I ordered a wallet-sized one in addition to the regular one)

I'll keep adding to this list until we depart!

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Anonymous said...

we're visiting family across the country this summer and have been researching this stuff for the last few days. i plan on doing the moby , diaper bag, disposables, car seat (incl. the base) thing. we just bought a stroller frame to fit our car seat and since airlines check them free, i'm taking that too! i dont plan on checking anything since a diaper bag counts as a purse and i can take my usual suitcase as a carry-on.

good luck!

Ulrika said...

If you haven't already, check out the post at A Cup Of Jo: http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2011/05/motherhood-mondays-traveling-with-baby.html

Might give you some ideas.

Good luck!

Michele said...

When you check in you can also ask for a "gate pass" for Matt. That way he can walk with you through security and go as far as the plane door (just like the old days). I've asked several times, simply explained that I needed help getting to the gate, and I've never been denied. Nursing at take off and landing has also been a huge help in getting through those slightly stressful times. Last-- if you can pack an extra change of clothes for both you and Henry in your carry on. That has saved me and many people I know from spending a few hours in stinky clothes after a diaper or spit up incident.

diana said...

I traveled with my son when he was 5 weeks. I definitely agree with taking an extra shirt for you. I wore a light tank top under a cardigan, which was great for warmth but easy access for breastfeeding. I stashed an extra tank in my carryon, and used it before we even boarded the plane!
Also when we flew, there was no issue at all with getting a pat down so Logan could stay in the carrier. Security assumed I wouldn't want one and kept telling me I could take him out to avoid it, but I said it was easier and they were fine with it.
We also didn't use cloth for our trip. (4 days, out of state.) It sounds to me like you are taking a good number of outfits for Henry. I took way too many, about 3 per day) and he didn't use half of them.
I posted about our travels here: http://gardenbeneaththesky.blogspot.com/2011/05/travelingflying-with-5-week-old.html
Good luck! I'm sure it'll be fine!

Courtney said...

Hi Sara!

I came to your blog through a pregnant friend who has been researching ways to implement the Montessori method at home. I've really enjoyed reading your story and getting some ideas for Montessori books/methods to try with my son Jack (almost 18 months). I especially loved the book basket idea - my friends have laughed at my attempt to have a F/NF basket (I'm the Director of Literacy for a network of charter schools) but I will say that in practice, I'm just happy he is learning to put the books in the basket and am not worrying about which books are going where :)

I'm also a TFA alum (as is my husband) and we live in New Orleans. I had to share a post I wrote on our family blog (which is infrequent at best!) about traveling with a baby. I've taken a good number of trips with Jack and definitely think it was easier before he started becoming mobile. Good luck with your trip and enjoy the 1-on-1 time with your son on the journey! (At least that's how I always tried to view the experience)


Courtney Landry

kacey said...

Maybe everyone will be super nice to you because you have baby on board? Good luck and enjoy the sun!

Rachel Burger said...

Good Luck Sara! Last month I flew alone with my four month old daughter to visit my husband, where he was working out of state. Although we did have a layover, the trip went very smoothly. The trickiest part for me was trying to shove the carry-on under the seat in front of us with my girl strapped to my chest. That is where the kindness of strangers really came in handy. :)
I wish you a pleasant visit, and worry-free and safe travels!

kerstin said...

for you crafty mamas out there (i saw you linked to an amazon post for nursing cover), i made a nursing cover for a friend a few months ago using this pattern - http://blisstree.com/live/free-pattern-to-sew-your-own-nursing-cover/ and it turned out GREAT! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm just restating most of the good advice from above, but I figure if you hear it a couple of times, you know it is good. I've never had a problem getting a gate pass, and it can be very helpful. My dad always gets one and my kids are 4 and 2, so I really don't even need his help anymore. When my kids were teeny, no one gave me any problem about the Moby wrap. No one even made me take them out. I've never had a pat down. I even traveled with my second kid at two weeks. Nursing on take off and landing is key, and basically whenever they want it! I've found my life is just much easier if I check as much as possible. I got into some scrapes when I had the baby in the wrap and I needed to place something up high. People were always nice about it, but it didn't make it easy. Even if someone helps you, it is awkward to place something up high while carrying a baby (I am also only 5'1"). A change of clothes for the plane is a good idea, but I would aim to only change a diaper if there isa massive blow out. It is hard to change diapers on planes. Good call on not getting diapers until your destination. I always just carry enough for the flight and buy when I arrive, toehrwise they waste too much space.

I have flown and traveled everywhere with my kids and find flying much easier than driving! We are even venturing to Scotland this summer (thank goodness for portable DVD players). Have fun and good luck on your first plane trip with baby.

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