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Friday, April 2, 2010

Guest Post: Traveling with My Infant- First Time’s a Charm

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Elise Jones, mom of 2 lovely girls & blog editor of www.babybites.com


Before having children, my husband and I traveled extensively with a close-knit group of about 10 friends. We trekked all over the U.S. as well as many parts of Europe. So once I found myself with child, we naturally were urged by our childless-traveling buddies to plan on continuing our trips with our little bundle. Surely traveling with a non-walking infant was E-A-S-Y. Plus no how and no way was our pre-baby travel schedule going to alter just because we had a BABY. Just strap them on /in and we’d be on our way.

So the first European trip was booked BEFORE the baby came and was to happen soon after the child’s second-month shots. We were all off to Bordeaux for my husband’s first marathon (oh yea, he was training for it the months leading up to and just after having our FIRST child; that was so much fun). I had the passport application in and her first “mug” shot taken as soon as I received the birth certificate and Social Security number in the mail. She was 6 weeks old when we received her first passport and she traveled for the first time 2.5 months after she was born. Her first airplane trip was to FRANCE; how lucky can one gal be?!?

Well let’s just say, this trip was my first lesson in “let me show you who’s boss, lady.” As I packed and planned in the weeks prior to leaving, I was certain I hadn’t overlooked any little item we would need, much less anything “surprising” that might come our way. I mean, I may have had a 35 lb. bag just for the 10lb. baby, but one never knows what crazy things might happen. The fog of new motherhood and the craze of sleepless nights, did seem to only help the situation. I mean, now as I look back and I’ve mothered two little bits and I know what it means to travel with said little bits (fyi, I’m on self-imposed, ground-stop travel as of the past six months) I think I must have been a bit crazy at that moment in my life but was too punch drunk to know it!

The lesson gleaned from this first foray into infant travel and subsequent international and national plane trips can be summed up in five little “helpful hints” for all of you who are looking to dip into the unknown abyss of plane travel with the under one set:

1. Check everything you can! Do not fool yourself into believing you will save ANYTHING by carrying on as much with you as you are allowed. What you may make up in money, you will lose in sanity. Plus your medical bills because of crazed, airport-induced stress will far outweigh any savings in the long run.

2. Only carry on the following items: sling/baby carrier, diaper bag, and gate check the stroller. I usually don’t use the stroller in the airport to transport the baby. It has most frequently been used to transport bags, coats, the massive amounts of magazines my husband insist on buying at the newsstand, blankets, and liquids (bought after security, of course).

3. Once you approach the security line at the airport, give the first security guard a pitiful look. It’s the sure-fire way you will be escorted to the “family” line and get through security lickety split! No one likes crying babies. And even worse than crying babies, is screaming babies in long airport security lines. And the grand mal of terror is crying babies, pissy parents and longgggg airport security lines. At the security checkpoint, everything must go through the conveyer belt X-ray machine. EVERYTHING (except, of course humans). So be prepared to do the dance. It’s fun (in a really painful doctor’s visit way) and you’ll only smile afterwards (as they paw through every baby item you painfully folded/washed/stuffed into your diaper bag). Weeeee!

4. Speaking of diaper bags, here’s what I suggest packing in yours: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, lotion, changing pad, pacifier, bottle, bottled water, baby food, change of clothes for both mom and baby, non-squeaky toys, books, traveling documents (in a Ziploc bag; don’t ask), blanket, and sanity. Please don’t leave this last one at home; it makes for a rough trip for EVERYONE. All of these are in a quantity of at least one day’s worth of items. God forbid, you are delayed or your bags are detained, you will be at least prepared to get through a day where you can locate emergency supplies if need be. All of the liquids must be in small quantities. Just enough for 2 days (travel day plus one more). No need to go to the gym in the days leading up to the trip as you can see you will need to save up your energy for the weight of the bag and of course the baby you are carrying for many, many hours.

5. Once on the plane, make sure you have requested bulk-head so if the baby is small enough and your ride is long enough, you can have a bassinet to place the baby in to free up your arms for eating, reading and all of those other things you THINK you are going to do when traveling on a plane with a baby. Also if the little one is lucky enough to get their own seat, there won’t be a problem with them kicking the seat in front of them (unintentionally, of course) and making you a lifelong “friend” with the passenger in front of the child. The most important rule of travel is make sure the baby is sucking going up and coming down: pacifier, bottle, breast, sippy cup, or whatever. This is help with the pressure on their ears and it will help you eliminate one more possibility for the cause of the child’s wailing. I’ve also offered ear plugs to nearby neighbors on planes. Mixed reactions can be found to this ploy. Alcohol purchases are more successful.

Before you know it, you’ll be landing in wonderful Bordeaux and trying to figure out how those Europeans drive in such small cars with no storage space for bags. I guess it’s all about journey, not the destination.

I am taking a Spring Break this week and am lucky to have some guests posts. Today's post is by Elise Jones, mom of 2 lovely girls & blog editor of www.babybites.com

1 comment:

storybookmom said...

how to be a guest post?:)

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