Saturday, May 12, 2018

Air Travel With Baby

Hi all!

Ok, so I've literally been working on this post for almost a year now.  Turns out finding time and energy to finish a blog these days is a lot harder than I thought -- I don't know how real mom bloggers do it! 

In the past year, I've done a bit of traveling with my little guy, for work and pleasure: Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, NYC.  I feel pretty confident in saying that I finally have a system that works for me, so I thought I'd share some things I've learned along the way.

Here's what I don't travel without:


This is an obvious one.  As tempting as it is to leave it behind because it's heavy and a real pain in the tushie, you will need one to get to and from the airport, and depending on where and how you'll be traveling at your next destination, even if carseat laws are lax, you may still want your carseat with you for the most obvious reason, your baby's safety.  
Yes, you can always opt to rent one at your next destination.  At a lot of places I've traveled to they've provided us with a car seat in advance, but I've never really used them because 
A) MOST car seats are installed incorrectly.  When you jostle the car seat's base, it should not move more than an inch.  I've checked rented car seat installs by jostling them and found that 100% of the time the whole car seat moved around!  

B) If you want to install a rented car seat yourself, be sure to read the manual or watch a video for that particular car seat to get the best install.  Because I'm on tour and on such a tight schedule, I don't have that kind of time or brain strength, so I haul my own along.  I know exactly how it should be installed, and the one I have is a super easy install.  The Britax ClickTight convertible car seat "clicks" locked when installed properly, and won't "click" if not properly installed, which is a nice safety feature.

(There are so many great car seats out there, and all of them, when properly installed, will help protect your baby in the event of an accident.  Because car seat regulations are so high in the US, most car seats go above and beyond.  The KEY is a proper install.)


This bag is durable and fits most car seats.  I've flown so many times with this thing, and it holds up.  I check my car seat at the ticket counter, because it's free to check a car seat, and I don't want to be this guy walking through security and a crowded airport. 

He's making it look way easier than it really is!!!
The risk of checking your car seat at ticketing vs. checking it at the gate is the possibility that it doesn't make it to your destination with you, as well as possible damage.  *knock on wood* I haven't had this misfortune yet  (>.<)

This thing is awesome.  I put baby in here when going through security.  If I'm lucky enough to go through the TSA Pre line, they usually let me walk right through the metal detector with baby on me in this thing.  There have been only a few times they've needed me to take the carrier off.  In a busy airport, it's nice to have baby close.  Sometimes he'll be totally asleep in there.  I've even breastfed him in there with a sweatshirt or wrap pulled around us with nobody knowing.

If your child is too big to wear in a carrier, you will need to carry him in your arms or walk him through the metal detectors at the airport.  Which means if he's in a stroller at security, you'll need to fold that up, put it on the conveyor belt, and carry him through the metal detector. 


When my hands and arms are full with baby, I prefer to wear the diaper bag on my back and out of the way.  The one I have is HUMONGOUS, and even though it's amazing because it carries everything I need and then some, it's almost impossible to find anything right away.  I know there are way cuter ones out there as well, so here's one as an example.  Not the one I use, but an example. 

You want a bag that can carry:
- enough diapers for every hour of travel time
(trust me, with diapers it's better to err on the side of more.  You never know what might happen.  I've heard so many stories of mid-flight poo-splosions.  My own son pooped 4 times during one flight.  And in the case of travel delays, you may find yourself wanting more diapers than you expected.
- a full pack of wipes
- extra change of clothes for baby (and you)
- room for bottles, sippy cups, food packs, snacks etc. (you are allowed to bring milk and water through security for your child.  You may want to double check with your airline on how much you can bring.  I've always brought a full sippy container of water for mine.  All they need to do at security is test it to make sure it's not, I dunno, an explosive liquid or something)
- toys, pacifiers, hand sanitizers, lotion, baby tylenol for sudden sickness/fever/pain relief


The stroller I recommend to everyone is the BabyZen YoYo stroller.  This thing has been so worth every penny spent on it.  It's lightweight and folds up with one hand into a size that's smaller than most carry-on bags.  I've never not been allowed to bring it on the plane with me.  I've been questioned about it, but they truly could never stop me when they see how small it is when folded up.  It is nice to deplane with stroller in hand so that I can open it up immediately and put baby or even bags in it to help lighten my load.  Also, because of it's size, it fits through tight spaces, including those poles at the airport that don't allow luggage carts to fit through.  It's also not an obnoxious behemoth stroller in tiny places, like a small cafe in Tokyo for example.
This stroller has actually become my primary stroller at home due to it's ease and light weight.  Let's be honest, as cush as some of the other strollers are, they're still kind of heavy and a little bit of a pain opening and closing.

If you want to go for a more affordable route, I suggest buying a super cheap fold up umbrella stroller, for a lot of the same reasons.  It will be lightweight and easy to open and close.  Chances are much higher that they'll make you check the stroller at the gate, so you may have to wait for your stroller after de-planing.  But realistically, sometimes you end up waiting for the whole plane to de-board before you gather all your things and a (hopefully) sleeping baby. 


I mentioned extra clothes above because you will be so happy to have them when you need them!
Baby will have accidents: spills, throw-ups, diaper leaks.  And when these happen, baby will most likely be on your lap.  You won't regret having packed an extra shirt and pants for yourself, partner, and baby.

What to do to keep baby busy on a long or short flight?  Here are a few things that worked for us:
- sticker books
- crayons and paper
- mini watercoloring set
- mini books
- NEW toy - I usually find one at the airport before we board
- And then there's the iPad.  There are actually some great, mellow and educational apps out there.  I like to spend the extra $2 and go ad-free so there's less clutter on the screen.  And I tried to find less stimulating and less aggravating apps.  So here are a few favorites:


I swear this is how my son learned his ABC's

Music Time!

All music by Caspar Babypants, and allows child to play along on the vibraphone, guitar, and percussion.

Magnetic ABC

This is a simple "magnet" board that is peaceful and easy to use.


Easy, peaceful drawing app.


This is a beautiful drawing app that includes different types of pens and brushes.  Everything my son makes with this blows my mind.

Ok, I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things here.  Please feel free to leave a message, question, or share some tips that have helped you in your travels with kids!  As they grow, what you bring with you when traveling changes so much.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

💕Mama P