Are you planning a trip with your baby?
I'm going to be honest. It was so hard, it actually broke me. I cried. When we finally arrived, and I managed to schlep all my kids and their 4 giant carseats and suitcases and double stroller onto the shuttle, and my teething, tired, overstimulated baby wouldn't stop crying (for what felt like hours), my 1 year old was crying because I wouldn't let him eat various debris on the shuttle floor, and my tired 4 year old was in tired 4 year old meltdown mode, I put my head down and started crying myself, right there on the shuttle. It was a traveling fiasco. I do not recommend traveling alone with 2 babies, a 4 year old and a 6 year old. It's crazy. Absolutely looney tunes. It can be done, but it is likely that you will suffer some sort of emotional breakdown.
Good news! Traveling with one baby is totally doable. Yes, you need to be super prepared, and anticipate everything that you and your baby may need, but with some good planning, your travels can go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips to save you from a public breakdown like mine.
1. Plan your seat ahead of time.
Consider if boarding early is a good option for your baby. Some families feel like boarding the plane early is less stressful, and allows time to get settled in the space without being crowded by other passengers. Other families find that the extra 30 minutes on the plane is simply an extra 30 minutes to have to deal with a baby's needs in a small, confined and stuffy area. Play it by ear, and decide what option will most likely work best when the time comes.
2. Be Prepared.
Pack extra supplies. Assume that your flight is going to be way longer than it is. Be prepared for an unexpected delay, a cancelled flight, lost bags, or a major diaper blow out that leaks all over you and the baby.
Know the rules surrounding traveling with formula or breastmilk. Check with your airline and print out a copy of the policy to have on hand. Occasionally, it seems like the people working the security check point are unclear about what is allowed. If you have the policy printed out, it is easy to expedite the confusion and get through with all your food, breastmilk and formula. Take all of your liquids out of the diaper bag when you go through security. Store them in a clear plastic bag within your diaper bag so that it is easy to pull them out, explain to the agent what they are, and quickly get through security. If your baby is eating food, the baby food packets and snacks are good, relatively mess free, and easy on the plane.
Changing diapers can be a bit of a hassle, and a few factors can go into figuring out where to change your baby. If there is no one sitting next to you, and it's not a crazy blowout and you think you can change it pretty quickly and neatly, the seat next to you is an easy option. If there is someone next to you, and they can handle it without gagging, you can change your baby on your lap. If those options don't work, you can change the baby on your lap in the plane's bathroom. Make sure your diaper bag contains extra clothes. Blow outs happen. A change of clothes for both of you is good to have on hand.