Starting a family, a zillion miles away from my family, and most of my friends was not part of my life plan. However, it is what it is, and although distance can be a real pain in the ass, it has made me an expect in one area. Traveling with babies.
My three-year-old has more frequent flyer miles than most of my friends. I’ve lost count now, but she took 16 flights before her first birthday. Yes, I am aware of my insanity. Despite the crazy looks most people give me when I say that, it usually sparks some curiosity as well. So here is my advice for newbie baby travelers.
Getting through security. Basically, just be prepared to get the shake down. I’m pretty sure you could shout “BOMB, GUN, TERRORIST” and not get as much attention from the TSA, as a mom with a diaper bag. Put everything you can in zip-lock bags. That will help you reorganize after every last thing is ripped from your bag and haphazardly thrown back in. All the while, you and baby may be pulled from the security line by a kind TSA and hand swabbed. I usually get hand swabbed, put back in line, walked through the detector and also, hand wand checked. Hey, maybe I look shady? Whatever, back to the diaper bag. If you have any milk or formula they will have to inspect it, if it’s open, it will need tested. The separated plastic bags keep your bottles and pacifiers clean while they lay on a germy surface that 1,000 people touch every day. Meanwhile the person checking your formula for explosives will wear gloves, HA HA. HA. Sorry, that part always gets me. Hey, there is good news, you can take any amount of liquid or food through security if it’s for baby, so don’t worry about that. Yes, sir that bottle of cabernet sauvignon is for the baby. No, just kidding, don’t do that. But your all good with snacks and water, milk, formula, whatev.
Now that you have made it through security, mostly unscathed, find your gate. Depending on your flight, try to time it so that baby is ready for nap and bottle (or boob), (if they are still at that stage). When they get a little older a sippy cup and snack will do the trick. My babies are usually sleep deprived and starving by the time we board the plane. One or both babes are crying hysterically as we wait for “family boarding” to be called. The other passengers cringe as they realize the screaming kid crew is on their flight. My husband looks away and pretends he’s not with us, I just smile calmly because it’s all part of my master plan.
Once we are cleared for take-off, I give baby the bottle and get her in a comfy spot. They usually fall asleep from pure exhaustion. You know, because I haven’t fed them or let them rest in hours. That should buy you an hour or so. The bottle or sippy also helps with their ears and the pressure. I dress them in comfy jammies and bring a light weight blanket. I don’t give a shit if they look like homeless dirtballs, keep them comfy! Throw a change of clothes and a couple empty baggies in your carry on, our kids seem to have a total diaper ” blow-out” every single time we fly. You have not lived until you have changed a massive shit diaper in an airplane restroom. I’ve always given the girls a little Tylenol before the flight just in case they have ear pain or anything else that makes them grouchy. Go ahead and judge me for medicating my babes, (insert middle finger here).
Make sure you have a couple favorite toys. Don’t bother bringing everything though, they will just throw toys at other people and laugh. Download the fisher price laugh and learn “animal sounds for baby” app on your smart phone or tablet. It’s free and that will keep them entertained for a little. Once they are into movies, you are set with buying a new movie and saving it for the flight. Until then, 15,000 rounds of peek-a-boo will get you half way up the east coast.
My best advice is order and drink and try to relax. Go ahead, judge me again, I’ll wait. My motto is that babies feel your vibes, if you’re tense they will be too. If the baby cries and people look at you sideways, don’t even worry about it. You paid for your ticket just like they did. In all reality, people are mostly kind. Lots of mommas and grannies want to fuss over the baby, and most flight attendants do everything they can to help.
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Happy Travels Dolls!
Disclaimer: I am aware, despite my sarcastic rant, that airport security is a serious matter. I respect the rules and flying procedure, as well as the TSA staff. Every airport is a little different and rules can vary. If you need real advice contact someone else. I’m just here for a laugh.
My flying baby crew.