Parenting Perspective: Traveling with the little Tot
January 8, 2010 (WPVI) -- It came as no surprise that traveling with a 5-month-old makes things a lot more complicated.
My husband and I used to have the luxury of packing for a weeklong trip the night before we left - just throw a few things in a couple of bags and that was it! Oh how things have changed. First of all packing starts days ahead of the scheduled departure time, and speaking of time&you need to allow for a lot more of it when you're traveling with a baby, especially when your mode of transportation is an airplane.
I've learned that planning ahead is the key, as well as giving yourself PLENTY of extra time to load up the car, get to the airport, get the bags checked, get through security, get the baby changed and BREATHE. I know, I know, I probably sound like a wimp. I'm aware that ONE five-month-old who is not yet mobile is a lot easier to travel with than, say, two or three children who seem to move their feet faster than David Beckham! Not to mention the speed of their minds which seem to thirst for a different source of stimulation every five minutes. But after years of traveling alone or as an adult couple, adjusting to traveling with even one little one is harder than it seems.
My advice is to pack a mini overnight bag with everything you need for baby - plenty of diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, a few toys, a book, blanket, changing pad, extra onsies etc. You're stuff just isn't a priority anymore. Check your bag and forget about it. There will be no freshening up, or books, or magazines to pass the time. Those are luxuries of the childless!
If you have a baby Bjorn or a similar product, this is the time to use it! This comes in especially handy if you and the baby are traveling alone. It frees up both hands and makes getting shoes and jackets off in preparation for that security check much easier.
Something else I found helpful is either write out a plan for the trip or make a mental schedule. For my trips this season, I make sure that after I check my bags and get through security, I buy a big bottle of water for the plane. I use half for Sienna's formula and the other half for me to sip on. It's virtually impossible to use that tray when you have a baby in your lap so don't plan on ordering a drink during the flight. About 15 minutes before boarding, I change the baby and then get a bottle ready.
Ok, here's something that's really important. I always try to time her feeding as the plane is taking off. It distracts her from the loud noises and bumps but more importantly, it helps with any problems the pressure may cause her ears.
We all know that planes are not the cleanest places so I try to bring some of those travel ant-bacterial wipes and sanitize the tables and armchairs or anything within Sienna's reach. Unfortunately, we can't do anything about the recycled air but surfaces I have under control.
Lastly, try to relax. It's a stressful few hours, it's crowded and hot and cramped. Don't worry about the baby crying or bothering other passengers. It's bound to happen and people understand. But if you are tense, I strongly believe the baby can sense that and in turn gets tense herself, which often leads to crying. Treat it as an adventure and try to stay calm. The flight will end&eventually. And I always try to remind myself, the sooner you start traveling the better. By the time Sienna's two-years-old I want this to be old hat. It's much harder to introduce a toddler to something new than an infant.
parenting - erin o'hearn, parenting, erin o'hearn
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