Traveling with an Infant or Toddler
The holiday season is coming fast, and I wanted to give you some tips on traveling with an infant/ toddler. I LOVE traveling with an infant. To me, it is way easier than traveling for a toddler. Here are some tips for traveling with an infant or a toddler.
Pack a bag for the baby and a bag for yourself to carry on. I nursed, so I also had my pumping bag with milk. In the bag for the baby, make sure you have lots of diapers, wipes, pacis, extra clothes, and some toys. Pack a different outfit, snacks, water, and your child’s birth certificate in the mom’s carry-on. You will need the birth certificate if you are traveling with any child.
When traveling with a lap child, you are allowed three carry-ons. I would bring the diaper bag, a bag for me, and my pumping bag with a cooler attached. If your cooler is not connected, it will count as another bag. Just keep that in mind.
Traveling with a toddler is challenging but so fun! I bring a diaper bag, crossbody, and our Doona Trike. The diaper bag has a change of clothes, water bottle, extra paci, lots of toys, and snacks. My crossbody has my wallet, my son’s birth certificate, and anything small that I need. The Doona trike is my lifesaver.
How to carry your infant or child through the airport
A baby carrier is a must. I use the Erogbaby 360 and love it. It is so easy to use, and you can use it from 7lbs to 45lbs. You can carry your baby through TSA with them in the carrier, so you never have to take them out. You will have your hands free to put everything else through TSA.
Another item that I love is the Doona car seat stroller with the travel bag. Since it is a stroller and car seat all in one, it is easy to travel with when you are flying to other places and need a car seat and stroller. You will not be able to push your child through TSA. You will need to carry them, fold the car seat, and put the Doona through the x-ray machine. Once you get to the gate, you will need a gate check tag. You will bring it down with you, and it will be gate checked. Once you land, your Doona will be waiting for you when you leave the plane.
I carry my child in the carrier with the Doona on my back. This way, I have my hands free. Once we are through TSA, I will put my child in the Doona so I can push them and not carry the Doona all the way through. This makes it much more manageable. Now, if my husband travels with me, he holds the Doona, and I will carry the baby. Let’s face it, it is much easier to travel with someone else, but I often travel with my little one alone.
Now traveling with my toddler is a little different. I have the Doona Trike, and it is terrific. I let him walk until security. At security, we put everything through TSA. Once through TSA, I open the trike and push him to our gate. Once at our gate, I fold the trike, which has a bag I can carry on my back. I let my son run around and play when we are at the gate. I want him to get as much energy out as possible. I also allow him to walk on the plane to stretch his legs. When I am not pregnant, I bring my Ergobaby 360 to carry him.
Traveling with milk (breast milk or formula) or water
My little one was breastfed, but he also got a bottle of formula at night, so I would bring both with me. You are allowed to bring milk through security and a water bottle (sealed) for formula or water already in the bottles. I would bring my pumping bag, which had a cooler on the bottom. I would bring ice packs that would fit bottles of breast milk already filled. My formula would be in a container, and a bottle of water would be in my bag. Your milk will be tested. They will not touch it and wear a new pair of gloves before testing the milk. I would open the caps and hold the lids; they would put a stick over the top (not touching) and test it. They would give it back to me to put the cap back on. This process takes a little bit of time. Depending on how much milk you have, make sure you are at the airport early. You can also bring frozen breastmilk, and they will look at it.
You can bring a sippy cup for your toddler. It can have water, apple juice, milk, etc. They will also test the sippy cup. You will need to do the same process if you are bringing bottles.
Take off and landing
When traveling with children, you can board after priority. I always do this to get my seat, get situated, and have everything ready for take-off.
When I nurse, I put my cover on after the flight attendants go over evacuations. I get my little one ready to nurse. You will want your little one to either nurse or suck on their bottle for their ears to pop. Even if my little one weren’t nursing, I would still put my nursing cover-up on and feed them with the bottle so that it is dark and they will sleep (if it is nap time). I also bring the portable sound machine that I attach to the cover-up. Pacifiers help, also!
Even if it is close to a nap, my little one will sleep for a while. When he was an infant, he would sleep the whole flight. Now, if they choose not to sleep, which may happen, bring books and rattles and toys. I buy two new toys each time I fly so that my little one will stay interested longer. The flight attendants will usually talk to the baby and help you entertain them. Sometimes your seatmate, if they like kids, will help you also.
Don’t forget to nurse or feed your little one a bottle for landing. This will also help their ears pop. Pacifiers will also do the trick.
When traveling with my toddler, he usually does not nap since it is not in his environment. I bring toys, books, snacks, and my iPad for him to watch a show. I am not big on iPad time, but he will get it on the plane.
If he does decide to sleep, I put him under my nursing cover and bring my portable sound machine. He will usually sleep no more than 45 minutes. When we land, I try to get him as much play time as possible and then put him down for another nap.
Traveling with a little one is exhausting! You will be stressed and looked at, but you will make memories, which is all that matters. Your little one will be exposed to different cultures, music, and people, don’t let a little one stop you from traveling. You can do it!