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Last month I went to Sanibel Island with my family and my 3 month old. I learned a lot, and I can honestly say that it wasn’t the worst experience of my life! Traveling with an infant does take a bit of preparation, and it definitely helps to chat with other moms who’ve travelled with their babies. The most important thing to remember is that you can do it! Here are a few tips I learned from taking my baby on vacation!
First and foremost, read up on your airline’s policies regarding traveling with infants. Also, bookmark this webpage. It’s the Transportation Security Administration’s screening procedures page for traveling with children. If you’re flying domestically (in the United States) you are allowed to carry-on breast milk, formula or juice, and TSA cannot seize those items from you.
This is for domestic travel only. If you’re flying to another country, make sure to look up that country’s specific TSA equivalent and their procedures regarding breast milk, formula or juice. Like I said, bookmark that page in your browser or print it off and bring it with your boarding documents.
Also, make sure to bring a copy of your baby’s birth certificate. Some airlines require it, some do not. Even if they don’t require it, it might be good to have in case someone at the airline, TSA, or airport is uninformed about company policies.
LOL. But seriously. Only bring the essentials. When I flew to Florida with M at 3 months, I packed way too much stuff. I am a chronic overpacker, and I knew that I would overpack for this trip. I even took stuff out of our bags before we left for the airport to minimize my carry-on weight and checked baggage. It was still too much.
When you’re packing, make a list of everything you think you need. When you’re done, recheck the list and circle what you absolutely NEED. Anything that isn’t circled should be reevaluated with regards to whether or not it needs to go with you.
I will say that a great tip I got from a bunch of mom’s who are more seasoned at flying with infants than me: bring your Boppy if you’re nursing. Bringing the Boppy was a bit cumbersome on the airplane, but it was totally worth it. Those airplane seats are tiny, and flying with a lap-child (a baby that sits in your lap) is not comfortable for whatever amount of hours you are flying. The Boppy helped so much with giving M a comfy place to lay while nursing or while sleeping. And it gave my arms a bit of a break from squishing into my mom’s ribcage (sorry, Mom).
Which brings me to my next point: if you can travel with another adult, do it. It is SUCH a huge help. Especially when it comes to boarding the plane and putting things either under the seat or in the overhead compartment, while holding a baby and trying not to hit your own head on the low ceilings of those tiny freaking airbuses.
Anyway. Traveling with another adult is so much easier than traveling alone. I honestly don’t know how I would have fared without my helpers. I was accompanied by my mom, dad, aunt and brother on that trip, and they were all incredibly helpful for the entire week we were on vacation. Except for my brother one night, but that was because he got food poisoning. But that’s a story for another time.
Wear That Baby!
Wear your baby as much as possible. This is especially helpful when you are going through airport security. If you wear your baby, you don’t have to take her off. Which for me, helped take the anxiety out of going through security. I didn’t want to be separated from my son for even an instant, and knowing that I could wear him and no one could take him from me was extremely comforting.
The other nice thing about baby wearing is that you don’t have to lug a stroller around with you. Yeah, the stroller was nice to have for towing all of my excessive baby stuff with; but I shouldn’t have overpacked in the first place. I would much rather have worn M and just brought a single carry-on with me, instead of a stroller, carseat, two carry-ons, a boppy and a baby. Just sayin’.
Plus you can wear your baby just about anywhere that you go. Take it from me! I wore M mini-golfing, and I played my best game ever! The carrier I used was an Infantino Mei Tai carrier. I also have a Lillebaby carrier, but I wanted the lightweight aspect of the Mei Tai for flying. Remember, I overpack? I needed something light!
Keep calm and vacation on Mama. You can do this. I know you can, because I did, and I ended up having a pretty good vacation. Listen. I know traveling with a baby isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It’s mostly leaky boobs and spit up in places you don’t want to talk about; but you CAN have a fun trip with your little one.
On the first day of my vacation with M, I thought I had made the worst mistake of my life, and that I would have to spend a week in the Florida humidity with a pissed-off, teething 3 month old. I did spent a week in the Florida humidity with a pissed-off, teething 3 month old, but I also got to go to the beach, eat at some amazing restaurants, and even take M swimming!
Just breathe, and remember that all of this is temporary. Your baby will not be grumpy forever. You will sleep again someday. And your vacation is NOT a waste of time or money. You can have a good time. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Summing It Up
- Research your airline’s policies regarding travel with an infant, and bookmark or print off the TSA travel guidelines for traveling with children, and breastmilk or formula.
- Bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate.
- Pack as light as you can. This will seem like a lost cause. Do what you can!
- Do pack extra clothes for you and for baby on the flight. Your infant will blowout his/her diaper. It’s inevitable. There will be poop.
- Travel with a helper (spouse, parent, sibling, friend, hired help) to ease a bit of the struggle. I know this isn’t always feasible, but if you can swing it, swing mama!
- Wear your baby with a carrier through security, on your adventures, and beyond!
- Breathe, and enjoy your trip!
Have you ever traveled with a baby? Tell me about your trip in the comments below!