We traveled to Colorado from Boston last week. My husband had business, and the baby and I tagged along.
Before I get into the story of how it went…my advice for parents who are flying with their babies
1-Buy them their own seat. No, really. After 4 hours of holding my 11 lb 4 month old, my back was ready to give out. Also, it will give you somewhere to change their diaper.
2-Most planes apparently don’t have changing tables. Which makes it fun when your baby poops at 30,000 feet. As mine did. Twice.
3-Bring your own car seat. We got a “free” one from Hertz. After spending an hour installing it, rethreading it correctly (two of the straps were through two different shoulder strap holes), and adjusting it to fit the baby, I would have KILLED for my own carseat. The rental one looked old and beat up enough that I actually googled to see if there had been a recall on the model. Hertz (and I assume other car rental places) do NOT install carseats. Make sure you know how and have done it a few times. My car seat at home was professionally installed by the nice officers at our local police station.
4-Make sure you have tried out and understand how your cheap travel stroller works and if your baby fits into it appropriately. Wow…wish I had found out in advance that Elanor HATES facing away from me in a stroller. I thought she’d be fine, especially as when she’s in a sling if she doesn’t face out she gets PISSED. I’m guessing that she feels safe facing out if she’s being held against us, but when she’s in the stroller, she needs to see us to feel safe. As a result, Elanor was carried pretty much the whole weekend as she’d begin crying within minutes of being put into the umbrella stroller.
5-Buying diapers on the other side creates more space in your suitcases. Ditto on wipes.
6-I highly recommend drop-ins, especially when travelling. That way you only need to bring 1-2 bottles, a ton of drop ins (that are thrown away after use) and nipples. I recommend bringing enough nipples with you that you’ll have to do minimal (if any) washing.
7-Leave the travel swing at home. We brought ours and never even put it together. It took up space and weight in my suitcase that I could have put to better purpose.
8-Pack before the night before/morning of your flight. Your body will thank you later.
The plane ride there was a bit of a nightmare. Not because E was loud…she only cried for a small period of time. What sucked was that I was dead tired-operating on only 3 hours of sleep. And that Elanor only wanted to be held, even though there was an empty seat between us. I began cursing myself for leaving our car seat at home at this point (and never really stopped). I tried to give her to Ravi several times, but she was tired and sobbed when I handed her to him. He would hand her back and she’d stop. Not exactly the kind of parenting validation I want.
The rental car was the straw that broke our backs. First they gave us child seats instead of an infant one. But that’s an honest mistake. Then they brought out an old, fugly bucket seat and refused to install it. Okay, liability…annoying, but whatever. Then I realize that the carseat is threaded wrong. Then we have trouble installing it. After an hour of struggle, it’s finally installed and the baby is in it, and we are ready to go. Cursing ourselves for not eating when we arrived in Denver all the while.
Bopping around Colorado with the baby and the husband was pretty similar to bopping around Massachusetts. The only thing that was a bit weird was not having the usual stuff we have at home…no gymini, no crib sidecarred to the bed (so she slept with us), no bumbo.
Flying home was much better. I’m not sure if it was flying at night, or that I’d gotten more sleep so I was handling everything better, but she dropped off about a half hour in, and I got to watch a dvd on my laptop. And life was sweet.
Our next trip that involves air travel is in late August/early September. As it’s international, I’m sure it will bring a string of new challenges. But I think I may be slightly better prepared for them. I hope.