Travel With Baby: My Experience
After Faith was born, we received an overwhelming amount of suggestions to travel with her before she got too big and fidgety, and while I could still nurse her so that her ears wouldn't hurt on a plane. So we booked our 10 day trip to Hawaii and anxiously waited for the day we set foot on a warm, sandy beach. Since we'd been to Hawaii a few times already, we didn't plan much about where we would go and what we would do, we were more worried about how we would manage our way through the airport.
Packing the night before was a tad bit stressful. Before Faith, I used to have my suitcase open a month in advance, and throw all potential items I wanted to bring into it, and organize it the week before. Now I have no time to do that. The good thing about travelling to Hawaii is that it was familiar to us, and we could always buy something that we may have forgotten, and/or extra diapers if needed. The main thing I was stressing about was what to bring on the plane. I researched online for tips and suggestions and followed the ones I felt were important. The main one was wipes. Faith luckily already had her 6 month shots so I wasn't TOO worried, but planes are notoriously germy, so I had an array of wipes with me in my diaper backpack.
From reading other parents' experiences and asking other friends and family, we decided that I would carry Faith through the airport in the Baby Bjorn, push the stroller with my diaper backpack in the seat, and Irwin would handle the two suitcases. Since the TSA lets you walk in with the baby still strapped in, getting through was relatively easy and fast. Once I walked through the metal detector, they swabbed my hands, and then proceeded to do a hands on check of the stroller. What I didn't know until after we returned from our trip, is that I could have carried a full water bottle on the plane, and say that it was for the baby, and they may or may not test the outside of it and let me through. This would have been handy since I ended up suffering from dehydration when we came back home (not fun).
I had wipes to wipe down our seating area, antibacterial hand wipes, refreshing wipes, baby wipes, and nose wipes. I felt pretty confident that I had everything covered, and fortunately, I was spot on. When using an airplane bathroom, I refuse to wash my hands with the water on the plane, see here. So those antibacterial wipes came in handy, and at least I wouldn't have to deal with the liquid limitations from the TSA with the gel bottles.
As soon as we got to our seat, I wiped down our arm rest, tray tables, tv screen, window, seat belts, and anything that we would be touching on our 5 hour flight. Irwin held Faith while I did this, and it helped to have him keep standing while more people boarded the plane. This prevented her from getting bored too fast while sitting on our lap.
I also dressed Faith pretty warm, even though we were going on a tropical getaway, I didn't want her to get too cold as I know planes have the tendency to feel that way. I think we dressed her well, in a long sleeve oneside, leggings, socks, and her Robeez. She also had her Mickey Mouse hoodie, but from all her fidgeting, she was getting too warm so we removed it. Layering was definitely key.
I luckily only had to change Faith's diaper once each way. I had changed it right before we boarded, and she had a minor poopy diaper on the way home, but it was manageable. The airplane bathroom was a bit bigger than I expected it to be, but it would have been harder for say, Irwin, to change. There was just enough space for me and Faith.
We also bought 3 new toys for her to play with, a teether, and a couple of other toys that made wrinkly/crunchy sounds, and one with a spinner that could stick to the window or the tv screen. We purposely hid it from her and only presented it when she was getting fussy. It only lasted a few minutes each time, because she would want to touch everything else, but luckily she also fell asleep for about an hour. Eating was also tricky- one of us had to hold her while the other scarfed down their food. Irwin had packed her food in a thermos, and since it was frozen, it had softened up enough to feed her on the plane. This was helpful, as well as the other yogurt melts and puffs that we had for her to snack on.
Overall, I think we did well on our first plane trip with Faith. We kept our expectations low and tried to be as flexible as possible, so it wasn't as stressful as we had imagined it might be.