Lucy and I finished up our fourth flight together today. This time, we flew to Chicago for the weekend to see Aunt Sara. We had a blast! A few tips for keeping baby (and mommy) happy whilst getting from A to B…
1. Invest in a good stroller. Lucy is a hefty 21 lbs now so carrying her in the Ergo, even on my back, gets old real fast. For this trip, I did the first leg with a cheap-o umbrella stroller from Wal-Mart. This stroller is great for a quick trip to the mall without too many turns or uneven surfaces. However, after using a whole bunch of muscle just to get the thing to turn, and one time of almost chucking Lucy out onto the sidewalk, we had to make a change. My sis and I went to Target and we upgraded. I got the BabyTrend City Micro. It was half off on clearance and this thing is the bomb-diggity for travel. Lightweight? Check. Folds up easily? Check. Unfolds easily? Check. Doesn’t send your child into traumatic brain injury land when you hit a small bump? Double check. Lucy rode in style and comfort for the rest of the trip.
2. For travel, a backpack diaper bag is the way to go. I recently was gifted a Petunia Picklebottom backpack diaper bag. Yep, that is an actual brand! This thing rocks. It has a diaper changing pad on the front that zips in and out, pockets for diapers and wipes, bottles, waterproof fabric, and straps for back- or shoulder-wearing. How did I not know about these things earlier? Walking with a toddler means lots of bending over, and, before Miss Petunia PB entered my life, lots of Lucy getting hit in the head with my shoulder bag. The back straps also clip on and off, so you can clip the whole bag onto the stroller handles when traipsing through the airport with your toddler like a boss. Ok, like a tired mom with a tired baby. But I still felt cool.
3. Two words: curb check. Why go into the airport lugging your luggage, pack n play, carseat, and high chair? Check that shiz-nit at the curb, yo. I must give a shout-out to Southwest here. This morning while checking in all our gear, the nice man working at the curbside check-in took my credit card and ID then told me to go wait in my sister’s car while he tagged, organized, and loaded all our stuff. It was 11 whole degrees out there, so I accepted. Go Southwest! Customer service! He also got a fat tip from me!
4. Bring random “toys.” Sharing 6 square feet with your 14-month-old takes a bit of strategic planning. For Lucy’s entertainment on the plane, I stayed away from toys she is used to playing with every day (these also typically involve balls and blocks that can be thrown or dropped). I packed:
– 2 Medela milk storage bottles (hello, caps that twist on and off!)
– An old wallet filled with my old license, business cards, and used gift cards
– Foam stickers that unstick and restick very easily to any surface
– 2 interactive board books (fuzzy animals and peek-a-boo)
– My iPhone – in case of emergency. I downloaded a new app called Perfect Dog. It includes picture after picture of dogs, organized by breed. Lucy is in love with dogs of any type, so I knew this would be a winner.
4. Keep the kid eating. Lu really chowed down on this trip. For me anyway, a full tummy means no motion sickness. Chewing also helps with ear pressure. So I made sure Lucy would be ready to eat at takeoff. We snacked on waffles with peanut butter, cut oranges, apple slices, and bagels. All of these things take Lucy a long time to eat. Snacking alone took a good 30 min!
5. Take it all in stride. Despite my strategic planning and tedious organization, this last flight was not Lucy’s best. She was cranky and tired. She did have a delightful episode of peek-a-boo with the airplane safety card, but that was short-lived. Most of the flight consisted of me trying to make her happy. I even pulled out the in-case-of-emergency iPhone app. It bought me about 10 min. My mistake here was flying during naptime. Lucy was too stimulated to sleep but too cranky to enjoy herself. Sigh. She still handled herself like a lady and just had some minor meltdowns. In the end, you can only plan for the worst and hope for the best. We made it safely to our destination and my sweet hubby was there waiting for us at the terminal, with a Starbucks americano for his tired wife. Thanks, honey!