The One with How Do I Travel With an Infant?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and with that brings family gatherings and traveling afar. But I have a question, cuz I don't know so many things about babies:
We will be eating Thanksgiving with nearly my entire paternal family (sans my immediate family, boo) here in Newport Beach so that's no biggie - just pop Fox in his car seat and drive an hour or so and we're good to go. We'll pack the diaper bag with a few more diapers and an extra pair of clothes or two and that's that. Done and done.
Now Christmas. That's another story.
We're driving to Denver! Yippee!
But what do we bring? Since we're driving we can pack the car with pretty much anything. I'm soooo nervous about how Fox will do in his car seat for such an extended period of time. He can barely stand being in there for more than 5 minutes....
What I'm mostly wondering about is how to FLY with an infant?
We're going on a spur of the moment trip to Washington in January and flying there. With layovers on the way to and from... Obviously I can't pack the whole kit and kaboodle so what do I bring? I really need your expert help. I feel like I need to pack an entire suitcase of just diapers! Let alone the big ticket items like the pack-n-play, swing, car seat, stroller, bouncy, entertainment center, etc. Do I just buy diapers when I get there? Do I kindly ask my parents to get a car seat to keep at their house for our visits? Can I bring the stroller all the way to the gate and then do they check it?
Muchas gracias.


  1. For the flight pack only what you'll need for a good chunk of a day. Send along a list to the P's to have waiting for you when you get there (diapers mostly). A stroller and car seat will be necessary, but I'd count on not needing a lot of the entertainment stuff. Also, our pack-n-play lives in Colorado so we never have to travel with it. Good luck!

  2. I have an extra infant car seat if you want it, good for the first year, you could leave it at your parents.
    xo sam

  3. Flying does seem scary with an infant. Before Karsen ever turned one, he'd been to Southern California and then Hawaii (twice!) via plane and then camping in Chelan and then Whistler, Canada via car ride.

    You're right about driving, you can take everything with you. But remember, other places do have grocery stores where you can buy extra diapers or wipes or whatever else you need, just in case.

    For the plane ride, I would take enough diapers in your diaper bag to change the baby every 2 hours. You probably won't need to change him every 2 hours, but it's better to have more than less.
    FYI - Diaper bags do not count as your carry-on when you are flying with a child under the age of 2. :-)

    You can also gate check your carseat (with the base attached) and stroller. We never took a stroller anywhere, because especially when you're visiting family, someone is always willing to hold him! :-) You can always take a baby bjorn or sling instead. But car seats are expensive, and I would just gate check it. When you go to board, just tell the flight attendant you want to gate check it and they put a tag on it and have you leave it right outside the plane door once you get down the jetway. You'll pick it up in the same place when you get off the plane. Super easy!

    I do suggest bringing 2 changes of clothes for Fox and maybe one for yourself for the plane ride. Karsen had a tendency to blow-out his diaper and I was so thankful that I had back-up clothes! You'll also want a plastic bag of some kind to put the "messy" clothes in to.

    I also brought my Boppy pillow on the plane, it was nice to have a place for Karsen to lay in my lap without me having to cradle him in my arms the whole time. Plus it helps with feeding too.

    I don't know if you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, but either way, you'll want to have Fox eating or sucking on a pacifier during take-off and landings to help with the pressure in his ears. If you're breastfeeding, just bring a blanket or one of those nifty covers and you can feed him in your seat (I sat right by the window with my hubby next to me in the middle seat so no one could really see what I was doing.)

    You can bring bottles on the plane, if you're formula feeding, the formula is supposed to be pre-mixed and of course breastmilk doesn't need to be mixed anyway. But they're considered medications. I carried them on in a little cooler and durig security, just let them know you have breastmilk and/or formula (I've taken both). If you don't want to pre-mix formula (I didn't like to), you can bring empty bottle with the powder formula cn or packets (LOVE the ones from Enfamil!) and then buy a bottle of water once you get through security to mix with. You can always ask the flight attendents on the plane ride for hot water to heat up the milk/formula.

    Just beware that you'll probably get a few nasty looks from people sitting near you when you get onthe flight because they don't want a screaming baby near them the whole time. But Karsen always ended up sleeping most of the time and we always got compliments from people when we landed. Your flights won't be too long, so it shouldn't be too bad.

    Let me know if you have questions! I think I've mastered the art of travelling with baby by now! Haha!
    Good luck! :-)

  4. Traveling with a baby can be tough, but totally do-able especially with Chris with you. :) So for the flight, you can check baby items (stroller, car seat, pack n play) for free right at the gate if you want or when you check in. I've always brought diapers/wipes/formula and everything, but you can always buy some in Washington too. Call me if you have any questions. :) Good luck!

  5. my mom always gave us dymatap when we flew as kids (which we did a lot) because for one it knocked us out and it also helps with the ears popping. But for some reason I dont think thats a good idea with a baby... And to this day I HATE anything grape flavored. yuck!

    But, I have a friend who is from Cali and lives in Utah. So when she travels to Cali she posts things she needs on her FB and will borrow them from friends when she is in town. Hope you get all the tips and help you need.

    And I have noticed that most people do bring their strollers to the gate and then the airline guys pack them somewhere special so when they land they are right there at the gate.

  6. we moved from denver to orem when jack was only one month old [i.e. an 8+ hour drive] AND i flew with him to arizona when he was two months old. i have plennnnnty to say on this matter but it looks like you're getting some good suggestions...if you need more ideas email me :)

  7. I haven't flown with an infant before...but we just got back from driving 6 hours to Vegas with her! It really helps if one of you can sit in the back with the baby! And yes pack a huge diaper dont need to nessicarily bring the bouncer or stroller or swing...just to make it easier! hope that helps!

  8. We've done a lot of travel with Miles (week-long family reunion when he was 2 months old, and multiple flights to Virginia and California).

    You've already gotten some great advice, but here's some other tips:
    1) It's actually probably a little easier that he's so little because he'll sleep a lot. Bring whatever will help him sleep (pacifier, blanket, etc.)

    2) Don't be afraid to budget in extra time for your car trip. If Fox doesn't really like his car seat, don't be afraid to take a half-hour break every few hours for him to get out and stretch.

    3) Bring new toys. They can capture his attention for a little longer and buy you some much-needed "happy time."

    Good luck! I'm worried about our flight to Virginia now that we'll be traveling with a super-energetic 20-month-old and not a sweet, sleepy baby.

  9. My one piece of advice is to try using the car seat as a "swing" if Fox is fussy and needs to sleep. I used to put my son in his and swing it back and forth (helps you build muscles too :)) and he would fall asleep in it (it's just like the swing, which I think you said Fox liked) and they I'd leave him in there sleeping (sitting it on the floor...not swinging it still), and he learned to really love and be comfortable in his car seat.

    And actually a second important piece of advice for traveling in the car. Whatever you do, however much he's crying and screaming, never, ever, ever take him out of the car seat when you are driving! I had a friend who's baby was crying and they were only a mile from the next exit so she climbed into the back seat and took her baby girl out of the car seat to console her for the few minutes it was going to take to get to the exit. That was about 30 seconds before a speeding car side swept them and they flipped and the baby was cut very badly from broken glass. She's 16 now and still has extremely bad scars from the accident. So a screaming, safe baby is always better than an injured (or worse) baby. Please always remember that. :) Hugs!

  10. Are you still breastfeeding? It worked wonders when I travelled with my youngest aged a few months. If they are drinking they are swallowing so it helps them with their ears popping and stops it being too uncomfortable. ( mind you a bottle would do the same!)

  11. I flew with Parker 3 times (twice across the country) before she was 1-year-old so I know a little about it :)
    You can bring the stroller with you into the airport, they check it at the gate and have it ready for you the second you walk off the plane. The carseat, I would def. ask your parents to have one in WA for your visits. It's gonna be way to hard to fly that out because you'll probably have to pay for it as luggage and you'll probably be holding Fox in your lap on the plane anyways. I would pack up the diaper bag, but just buy diapers in WA. Have a warm bottle with you ready for take off and landing. The sucking on the warm bottle should help his ears adjust to the altitude, which may actually be an issue in Denver too since it's so high up. Lots of visual aids for him to play with, that is only if he's up, who knows! He might sleep the whole way, wouldn't that be nice?! :)
    You'll all do great! Have fun!

  12. I've travelled across the country 2x plus per year with kids/infants for the past 6 years. If you are still hung up on what to do, let me know and I'll give you the low down via email, I'm pretty much an expert at this point. LOL - if I do say so myself. LOL People have given a lot of great advice. If you have a specific question, let me know. :)

  13. Ask Annie. She went to Utah by herself when Ella was about 4 months old. I'll tell her to get in touch with ya.

  14. you got a lot of great advice about flying with an infant! i flew when my daughter was a little over a year old by myself for the first time! it was definitely a little overwhelming but manageable! one thing you might when to look into is the baby b'air flight vests. i bought one for her and it's supposed to help in case of turbulence and whatnot! i second what everyone is saying about changes of clothes -- it's one of the advice pieces i read and of course, forgot to pack and i definitely needed it! best of luck to you!

  15. YEAHHHH!!!! LET ME KNOW WHEN! I can't wait to see you!! AND FOX!



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