Thursday, August 30, 2012

Will Travel with Baby

By the time he was 5 months old, H had been to TEN states: Virginia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri, and DC.

I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I was on that first flight (6 hours to L.A.!) but he was actually pretty good (read: he slept almost the entire time.)

Traveling with a baby is no walk in the park. In fact, it is utterly exhausting, especially when you are travelling for work. When H and I went to Missouri and Oklahoma in May to see family, it took two flights to get there, plus a 2 hour car ride. By the time we got to my grandma's I was spent, but I was generally more relaxed because I didn't have to worry about waking up on time and being at 100% for work meetings, etc.

In addition to being insanely stressed out when you are traveling with a 3 month old, here are some other fabulous road blocks/annoyances to make your trip extra exciting!

  • Even if you have a well behaved baby there will always be people who glare at you as you board and exit the plane. These folks will make you feel insanely self-conscious and make you scrutinize your every move.
  • Airplane bathrooms suck. Period. Most don't have a changing table, and even if they do there's hardly any room in there to change the baby in the first place.  Because of this I've become quite good at changing H in my lap while sitting on a toilet. I've even had a fellow parent tell me that he and his wife have changed their child's diaper right out in the open on the plane. I think we should consider petitioning airlines to provide family friendly bathrooms--the non-parents would appreciate it, too.
  • While we are on the bathroom note--say you are traveling alone with your 3 month old. And say you have to pee. You have to pee really, really badly. What do you do? Ask one of the people sitting next to you (a glarer, no doubt) to hold the baby? Lay the baby on your seat all defenseless while you go to the bathroom? How about take your baby to the bathroom with you, then lay the baby in the sink? I know, I know....none of these are safe options for your little one. So, to avoid utter bladder destruction, here's what I recommend: before traveling with your baby practice holding your baby with one arm, unbuttoning and pulling down your pants with the other arm, sitting on the toilet, and peeing (if you're a dude, I have no idea what to tell you here, but I imagine it's easier with a penis.) That's right. That's what I did multiple times while traveling solo with  H and now I am a pro at it. Having the baby in the baby carrier works, too but I've found that H's long legs hang below my crotch, so I have to lift him up if I am wearing him and need to pee. Isn't parenting glamorous?!
  • In order to keep your little one from crying during take off and landing, most doctors and other baby-traveling pros will tell you to either breastfeed or bottle feed the baby during take off and landing. The sucking helps their ears acclimate to the changing cabin pressure.  However--if you have a super tall/long baby like I do, then this only works until the baby is about 4 months old. After that, when you are holding them to breastfeed (across your body, in your lap) their little head or little feet end up on top of the person next to you. Yes, I spent a whole 2.5 hour flight with H lightly kicking the arm of the guy sitting next to me. He didn't cry at all, but he kicked. I apologized to this poor guy at least twenty times and fortunately, he was super-duper nice and took H's annoying kicks like a champ.  I doubt I will get so lucky next time.
  • Gone are the days of traveling light. Babies require a bunch of crap: diapers, bottles, breast pump, bouncy seat, clothes, more clothes, more diapers, bathing items, sunscreen, hats, swimsuit, swimming diapers, toys, blankets, white noise machine, and more. There's no way to sugar-coat it. The loads of baby crap is shitty to travel with. It is also quite heavy and you will be left paying $50-$100 for baggage fees.
What are your favorite travel-with-baby stories? Please share!

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