Kiddo Travel Hacks – Infant Phase


I love traveling with my daughter.  She’s at an age where she understands that the pain of the drive, the airport, and the lines is more than worth the adventure at the other end.  That said, I remember preparing for infant trips with a pit in my stomach.

She took her first flight when she was a few days shy of six months old.  My husband’s dear aunt was supposed to come visit us, but instead of flying she was doing another round of chemo.  Her cancer was back, but I desperately wanted her to meet her grand-niece.  “No problem,” I said, “We’ll come to you.”  Brave words, but the idea of flying with an infant was terrifying.  On the plane there is so much stuff to bring and so little control over her.  Who hasn’t wanted to rip their ears off because of an infant screaming during an entire plane ride?  Did I want to be that mom with that kid?  While I knew most problems could be solved by baring my breast and feeding her I was not confident nursing in public, so I came up with a backup plan.

My brother-in-law was traveling with us.  Rather than sit with our family, I asked if he would sit in the row in front of us.  Then I made my request.  “If she starts screaming, will you please stand up and start berating me?  Loudly?”  He looked at me with surprise and I justified, “See, I can’t handle some stranger going off on me, but if you preempt it and just start telling me to ‘shut your damn kid up’ and that I’m ‘a terrible mother’ you might circumvent others yelling at me.”

All of my in-laws think I’m crazy, and I did nothing to change my brother-in-law’s mind that day, but he agreed.  I boarded the plane confident that the worst I would have to endure was a baby crying and my brother-in-law acting like a maniac.  I could handle that.  I was armed with bottles, pacifier, diapers, changes of clothes, toys, and digital devices to keep her happy, but if those didn’t work I was also armed with a plan to keep the meanies away.  As usual, when you’ve planned every contingency, the flight was easy.  My daughter fell asleep drinking her bottle as we took off and woke up as we were landing.

When traveling with an infant, figure out what scares you the most, and make a plan to deal with that.  Puke?  Pack two changes of clothes.  Poop?  Do the same.  Germs?  Bring a bag full of 3 oz bottles of hand sanitizer.  Mean people?  Bring your own meaner person.  Travel with an infant is a total wildcard, so do what you can to address your own fears.  If you are calm, you’ll be able to better deal with whatever surprises come your way.

The first in a series of Kiddo Travel Hacks where I share my best advice for not just surviving, but enjoying travels with kids.

15 thoughts on “Kiddo Travel Hacks – Infant Phase

  1. I love that you brought your own mean person! HAHA! The infant days were much easier than the toddler days, I have come to realize. I used to be so worried and stressed before a flight with my 6 month old and then she would sleep the entire way. Now that I have a toddler, however? Not so much. We fly out in a few weeks to Europe and I am dreading it more than any other flight we’ve ever taken. I just keep telling myself… At the very worst, it is only 8 hours of your life. Even if she screams, and everyone on the plane glares at me as if I am the world’s worst mother… It is ONLY eight hours. In the grand scheme of life, that isn’t that long. 🙂

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    1. Oh, the toddler phase! That’s the next blog post! I agree that it is so much harder than flying with a baby. My daughter was 20 months on the flight I took with her that made me never want to fly again. Gah! I’ll get my post up and hopefully you learn a new trick to ease the flight to Europe, brave soul that you are. I’m impressed. We’ve yet to travel internationally with the kiddo and our longest flight was 4.5 hours, and that was the one when she was the terror. (Perhaps the reason we haven’t gone overseas yet? It was too scarring?) Know that you are making a great traveling companion by flying now. My daughter is a primo traveler at age 8! I love it!

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            1. Thanks to you for inspiring me to write about traveling with my daughter. I love your posts and am glad for the excuse to look back on the years of trips we’ve had together! Good luck on your next traveling adventure.

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  2. Such a great idea to bring your own mean person! I flew a few times with my daughter when she was an infant. I would always dread it but she always did pretty well. No one ever wanted to sit next to us though! But I was always relieved that she slept and I didn’t get

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    1. I feel like I always end up next to someone when I travel with my daughter, but they have always been good sports. I’ve never been yelled at flying with my kiddo (knock on wood) but the fear has never left me because I’ve witnessed some nasty people on planes in my time.

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  3. Pingback: Kiddo Travel Hacks – Toddler Phase | Afthead

  4. Pingback: Kiddo Travel Hacks – Kid Phase | Afthead

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