My trip to Nashville last week was the first time I've flown alone with 4-month-old Pirate. It reminded me of 2010, when Pigtail and I lived on the airplane. While I settle in from our time in Tennessee, and prepare for another trip right away, please enjoy this repost from November 2010.
Since Pigtail was born, I have flown with her twenty-three times. 23. In 13 months. This staggers me. And yet, we've survived. With very few bad experiences. That's a testament to Pigtail's demeanor more than it is to my mothering skills, but you don't take two flights a month without a "system."
Here's a refresher of my current hard and fast rules for traveling with a baby or toddler:
1.) If at all possible, Purchase a seat for the baby. I know this isn't in the budget for everyone, but use miles or save up. This decision will make a difference to your entire trip, if your flight is more than a couple of hours. Trust me. It is mentally and physically exhausting to wrestle with a baby on your lap for hours.
2.) One carry-on bag only. Seriously. The less you have to juggle, the less frazzled you'll be. It can be a big bag. Preferably a hands free bag. A large backpack is ideal, and I am the first to admit that backpacks are not cute. But they are oh-so-functional for travel, so slap on some extra lipgloss if you're feeling un-cute wearing it.
My process involves packing my backpack the same way every time, so I know exactly where everything is when I need it. My chargers go in a certain pocket, the diapers & wipes go in a certain way, etc. I make a big effort to pre-board the plane, and I arrange everything that I will need for the whole flight, putting the bottle in the seat pocket, and the diapers within easy reach. Being organized every step of the way keeps me and my seatmate stranger happy.
There is nothing that you need that won't fit into one bag. I promise that you need WAY less than you think you do, both for yourself and for the baby. (I write more in-depth about this here.)
3.) Wear cargo pants. There is a line in Jonathan Franzen's Freedom that says, "...Joey struck up a conversation with the mother, Ellen, who was pretty without being attractive and was wearing the stretch cargo pants that a certain kind of mom favored nowadays." Consider myself that kind of mom. When traveling alone with the baby, having my phone, ID, and $20 in pockets within immediate reach make the day that much easier.There's lots of ways to do the baby-travel thing. Whatever your way, these three things apply to you. Do you have a travel tip to add? Share in the comments!
Mondays are the day I've set aside to talk about all things mommy. Click here for past Mommy Mondays.