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Traveling with Babies or Toddlers

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

First off, I highly recommend traveling with your baby only after they are three months old. If you have an engagement within that period that requires you to fly, give yourself a little window and tentatively commit. Especially with your first child, you'll still be learning and getting used to each other in those first few months. Even after three months, traveling with a little one sounds overwhelming, but below are some tips that might help. 

Packing for a baby is a breeze. If you have everything well-organized, it takes less than five minutes. I was all about preparation during those first months. I separated my baby’s outfits into individual freezer bags so that I could just reach in my suitcase and grab a bag in the morning. If you have a little girl, there are usually hats, shoes and accessories, so this was the easiest way for me to keep everything together. I also kept two back-up outfits in the diaper bags at all times (more tips here for packing a diaper bag). 

My daughter and I flew a lot when she was little to visit family, although we never flew over two hours, so it was pretty manageable until she was fifteen months old. I think my biggest piece of advice, which I received from a girlfriend, is just to go and do it if you are thinking about it. At first I felt paralyzed because I thought I couldn't do anything or go anywhere with a baby. But I was wrong. You can do what you want, it just takes some preparation!

Here are my travel-with-baby tips: 

1. Wear comfortable, loose clothing that allow you to easily breastfeed if you are, and comfortable shoes. This is not the time to break out your cute heels.

2. Pack several healthy snacks for yourself and your baby. I always found something a little fun and different for my daughter. Those fruit/veggie squeezies are lifesavers.

3. Ask the flight attendant for water in a cup with a lid and straw, or bring your own cup/lid combo as back-up. That kept my baby busy the whole flight when she was seven months old. Genius!

4. Bring a pretty large linen (or other breathable material) scarf if you don’t want to bring a nursing cover. You will feel chic while feeding and it can double as a scarf if you spill on your shirt or get cold, which you probably will, because airplanes.

5. Skip the stroller and use a baby carrier. My child is two now, and I still go this route. It's nice to have your hands free and you burn extra calories going through the airport. Also I like to have my baby close to me when in crowds, which keeps her safe and calm. 

6. Stickers are your best friend if your baby is over the age of one, especially the reusable kind, so they can stick 'em all over the place - on a window, tray table, seat-back or your belongings - with no worry of any damage. 

7. As a last resort, I always recommend loading up a couple of good apps on your phone like PBS Kids. If your child is having a meltdown, you will be ready with a go-to plan, which is always better than sweating with regret and wishing you had over-prepared.  

8. Book flights around nap times and keep your child on their regular sleep schedule as best you can. 

9. Remember to breathe, stay calm and relax even if people are giving you looks. Just think, you will probably never see them again! 

With these tips and a little preparation, you can make your trip surprisingly easier than you thought!