Traveling with Baby plus Jet Lag suggestions!

Travel is something I can't put a price on. The experience alone is worth the trouble. Money will come and go, time spent having new experiences, getting to know a new city and quality time with loved ones won't wait around!



It’s not the most original advice but I thought I would jot down a few of the things I have discovered that is helpful when flying (especially the first time) with small babies!

Our first international flight (15hrs, 2 legs) was when Charlie was 3 months old. We had only just gotten her passport and visa processed so it was the first time we could have taken her out of the country. We have since flown to Hong Kong, Hawaii and shorter flights with all the same habits, some tweaked as Charlie gets bigger, mobile and more curious.

However, flight attendants and other passengers are MUCH nicer to me when I travel alone. We have not encountered full-on mean people but no one offers to help when Taylor is next to me.


General travel on airplane tips:

BE PREPARED WITH EXTRA CLOTHES

I can't emphasize that enough. Extra clothes for both you and your kid(s) in your carry-on/diaper bag because things spill, yes, but worse is that random (or predictable, I don't know) altitude sickness. It snuck up on us because Charlotte had traveled a dozen times already and it had never happened to her. In fact, it only affected her on the shortest flight at the end of a long day of travel to SLC from Hong Kong.

Now I prepare a barf bag during the descent and hold it as close to her face as I can without her seeing/grabbing/ripping it and rendering it useless.

BOARDING THE PLANE

Board first! If you are a seasoned traveler sans baby, you might know that the gate attendant invites families with small children to board first so there is extra time to get situated. When everyone starts lining up to board, you better believe I stroll straight up to the gate before they have even called the ‘small children’ crowd. I don’t have to be the first one on but I do want to make sure the gate attendants see me so they don’t speed through the 'extra time' of which I take full advantage.

I am always standing there ready to walk on because I have to get everything WIPED DOWN with sanitizing wipes (I have packed with me) before I get everything put away. I definitely don't trust the cleaning between flights to be thorough. I keep my own baby blanket out and make sure snacks, toys, books are at the top or outside of the diaper bag so they are within easy reach.

I have heard of people splitting up with one parent boarding with everything first and the parent with the baby boarding LAST so that they are on the plane the least time possible. I haven't tried that mostly out of habit but I can see it working. I think I might be too neurotic to accomplish separate boarding but I'll try to remember to give it a shot next time we fly. It's getting more and more interesting now that Charlotte is mobile and independent and lets her curiosity take the lead.

DIAPER CHANGING ON THE PLANE

Not all airplane bathrooms are created equal. Before you get up, especially if you have to get in a line, double check that the stall you're waiting for actually has one of the pull-down changing stations. It is the PITS to get in that tiny space and realize you can't even use it for your purpose.

I have a small separate bag with all diaper changing tools (wipes, diapers, diaper cream and mat) so I can just grab that bag (it even has a strap to hang it from my wrist while I'm carrying the baby) and get the job done. I have loved this one from Fawn Design because it's the perfect size and I don't have to mess with the entire diaper bag or even risk leaving something I need behind.
I love PurifYou products for taking wipes and antibacterial wipes in the amounts that I need. I get the big Costco wipes and those things are awesome and massive but the size is not always helpful on a trip.

Oh the days when she would sleep through layovers and diaper changes....

DO YOUR RESEARCH FOR TRAVEL GEAR

I have this Babyzen stroller that I love and is actually our ONLY stroller. It can't be beat for how small it folds down and simplicity. We never check it as it's small enough to carry on so we never worry about it being damaged and we always have it ready to put the baby in when we need to hold other things. It's not heavy duty i.e. you feel every bump/a twig will stop it in its tracks and it doesn't hold very much in the basket but there are always going to be compromises. These things haven't been a deal breaker for us. 
When number 2 comes along (NOT an announcement) we will get the riding board attachment for Charlie and let you know how it goes!

   
    Newborn - 6 months attachment (we only used it for 5)          6+ months seat

REQUEST A BASSINET

There are weight and height limitations for the bassinet but it is always in the bulkhead row and depending on the airline, it might be the Comfort+ or slightly higher than economy seating, therefore, making the ticket a bit higher. I say, if it's a long-haul flight, totally worth it. If it's less than a 3 hours flight, I'd stick it out and make sure to switch off with people traveling with me.
That said, I have also had the experience of flying by myself for 11 hours and no bassinet. It wasn't great but Charlie was 3 months old and it wasn't bad. I wore her in a wrap most of the time because she slept through most of the flight. I wish I could say it wouldn't be terrible with an older kid but I highly doubt it. HUGE kuddos to moms who fly alone with multiple children. Bless your hearts



Jet lag is tough on anyone but especially rough for babies and children but here are a few of the things I have done to try and get us both through it!

There is no secret cure to jet lag. No trick or tip can be guaranteed because every baby, parent and situation is different. These are just things I’ve tried that seemed to work (until I have something else to blame like teething or indigestion, or most recently a case of roseola. Eek!)


1. Start adjusting to the time change at home

I started a week before our longer trips for this one. Depending on which way the time is changing, I would put Charlie to bed sooner or let her stay up a bit later. This helped us slowing shift closer to the an adjusted bedtime in our destination so it wasn't so hard for her to sleep once we got there.


2. Keep a normal schedule while traveling

Regardless of how long our flight is, our bodies don't adapt to the time just because the clock says so. Charlie always keeps her normal schedule while we fly. She wants to play and interact for a few hours then have eat/nurse and nap for 1-2 hours. Then up again to play, same as she would at home. For our red-eye flights, she'll get comfy and sleep for 8-10 hours even if that might be slightly interrupted by changing planes or getting into a car, train etc.
As she eats more and sleeps less, I don't get to watch movies anymore but watching her look out the window is pretty stinking great.

3. Bring at least one new toy/book

Charlie has been really young on all of our super long haul flights so just one new toy has been sufficient. She's not really entertained by screens at this point (but that doesn't mean we haven't tried or won't let her) so books and her favorite, familiar toys have worked to capture her attention for spurts of time. The absolute best is to walk up and down the aisle with her because she LOVES people watching.
Now that she can walk, she thinks she can wander on her own around the plane but since it's not always level, I force her to hold my hand so she doesn't fall headfirst into an arm rest...the stress! It beats trying to wrangle her in the seat though.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hall of Breakfast - Mommy/Daughter date!

Old Town Alexandria - dressed-up for Halloween

Birth story