Living abroad with a baby means you’ll be taking a trip back home for your entire family to love on that baby! So how do you bite the bullet and travel abroad with an infant? Here are some of the things I did to make for a smooth trip. Skyla has taken 10 flights in her 4 short months on earth and it was a breeze.
Okay so for early flights keep baby in pjs and just try to change the diaper like a ninja and try not to wake baby. I usually put a blanket over the front so it stays dark during the check in process and all the way to security. I’m wearing my baby carrier this whole time while baby is in her Doona car seat/stroller.
Then at security is when I put baby in the in the Baby Bjorn carrier and I wear baby through security. The Doona does fit through most security belts but I lie and say I need a stroller walk around, which means they have to walk it around, put on gloves and manually check it. I do it so I don’t have to break it down and put it back up by myself or have to explain it to people who are trying to help. I usually then put baby back in the car seat until I get to the gate.
Depending on time I do a mini feed at the gate, but I try to wait until take off as you want to feed on take off and landing to help prevent their ears from popping. I go to the counter and say I need a gate check tag for my stroller. I have the airplane bag so they put the tag on the bag not the stroller.
I board first. When I get down the ramp I keep the baby in the stroller while I break it all the way down and put the handle bar all the way back. I open the bag, put it on the floor, move the car seat on the bag, take baby out and put her in the carrier that I never took off. The guy taking the stroller or some nice person will zip up the bag. It’s easier this way. I tried wearing the baby first and then breaking down the stroller second, and that was a big mistake. Poor Skyla had to bend with me, leaving her flailing, and it put more strain on my back. Trust me. Break it all down first then get the baby out. Giving someone the instructions to “JUST ZIP” is easy!
TRAVEL WITH YOUR BOPPY! At this point I’m pretty much hands free. Maybe I’ll have a rolling carry on in one hand and the Boppy and a nursing blanket in the other hand. Pretty easy to maneuver down the aisle while you wear baby. Again someone will put your suitcase in the overhead bin, or I’ll do the free gate check of the rolling bag to free up one hand.
Put the Boppy on the seat, take baby out of the carrier and lean baby in Boppy. This is the time for you to get settled. I suggest putting wipes in a ziploc bag. It just makes it easier than the big ‘ol thing of wipes. Take out a few diapers, but on the safe side make sure your bag is packed with a diaper per hour of traveling. You don’t want to run out of diapers, as I’ve never seen diapers for sale in the airport. Take out your changing pad and put all contents in the seat back pocket for easy grabbing. It’s very hard to bend over and grab stuff in flight with baby on your lap, especially in a full flight with a middle seat. It’s best to have it out for easy access. If there are any other things you need like headphones, a jacket for yourself, etc get those out also!
Then I sit down with the boppy on my lap making a bed for baby. I always request two seats if possible or an aisle or window and explain I’m nursing. Depending on the flight they can move you or give you two seats. In theory you can bring the Doona car seat on the flight for the baby to sit in if you have two seats, but I’ve yet to do that even though I’ve had the option. The Doona fits down the aisle of an airplane rolling. But I think it’s easier to nurse baby to sleep on take off and then move baby and boppy to the extra seat. I just keep my hand on the baby/boppy while I sleep.
She hasn’t been wiggly until this last plane ride so I was actually able to sneak off to the bathroom while keeping an eye of the person sitting next to us. Again take the help of others, there will be some mom or person staring at the baby or offering to help. I’ve given a person hand sanitizer and handed my baby to them to go to the bathroom, I just asked them not to touch her face or hands and people understand. I’ve only done it a few times. And of course it was some Grandma who was missing their grandchild about that age, or the other time it was a mom who has adult children and can’t wait for grandchildren. Or an awesome flight attendant. Remember you're on a plane, people can’t steal your baby.
The pjs should have feet with a zipper and you should have a hat for baby plus that nursing blanket to keep baby cuddly.
Before descending in the plane, I change the baby’s diaper and put the baby into a cute outfit for the day, and then pop her on the boob. If baby is sleeping let them sleep during the descent. Exit the plane the same way you came on, with baby in carrier and wait for the stroller. Take your time getting off the plane as you’re usually waiting for the stroller. Ask someone to unzip it, put baby in, and then pop the car seat up to make it into a stroller, throw the bag and the boppy on the hood of the stroller and strut your stuff out of there.
Now of course all of this is easier with your spouse... or is it. The one time we flew together I just told my husband to hold the boppy, because it was actually to difficult to explain everything I was going to do. So he just watched me in action and he was impressed!
Skyla’s first 5 flights were month 2-3... super sleepy. I really just bounced with her in the seat. She was pretty entertained by the ceiling, the people, and looking out the window. She’s just now starting to interact more. So this trip I brought a few of her favorites but never had to bring them out. She just wears her clip-on teething necklace or brings her stroller toy for entertainment on the go.
My advice is be prepared, but pack light. Don’t be that mom lugging your house on your back. Diapers, wipes, milk and a change of clothes for them and don’t forget clothes for yourself. That’s it. You got this! I support you! And babies can travel.
Tell me your travel fears, I want to help! Or tell me your triumphs, in the comment box below!