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Monday, December 6, 2010

So, I need your help.

In two weeks, we are packing up our little family & flying across the country to visit my extended family in St. Louis for Christmas. While I am beyond excited to introduce Claire to everyone, I'm also freaking out & losing sleep over it. Call me dramatic, but I've never traveled with an infant before & I am so nervous.

Anyone that travels with children (baby or not), knows that packing takes a lot of time & planning. I have been reading the travel section in my "What to Expect the First Year" trying to prepare myself for what I need to pack. Basically, I need everything but the kitchen sink in my suitcase.

Claire will be almost 4 months old when we leave, and we will be gone 4 days.

Ladies who have traveled with young kids, here's where I need your help, give me advice on ANYTHING you can to help calm me the F down!:

*What do I really need to pack?? I don't want to bring a bunch of crap I don't need!
*Should I just pack her entire closet? We will have access to a washer/dryer, but I still don't know how many outfits to bring.
*Do you pack diapers? Or just buy them once you reach your destination?

Airport/Plane Ride
* Does TSA allow you to bring bottles on the plane? If not, I'm screwed!
*Do I check her stroller AND car seat? Or can I bring her car seat on the plane? (I doubt it)
*What can I expect on the plane ride?
*Should I feed her when we take off & when we land so that her ears don't pop?
*Where do you change their diapers? Just on the seat?
*Suggestions of toys to bring to keep her occupied? She hates sitting still for too long, so that should be interesting!

Hotel Stay:
* I called the hotel & they provide Pack n' Plays for babies & claim they thoroughly clean them after each use. I was just going to bring my own sheets. Should I trust the hotel or should I bring my own pack n' play?
* Since I exclusively pump, what am I supposed to do with the breast milk. The rooms don't have fridges. Do I just buy a mini cooler to store it?
*How did your kids sleep while out of town? Were they out of sorts the first little while due to time changes & environment changes?
*Where the heck am I supposed to bathe her? I can't pack her bathtub, obvi. Just in the sink?
*Claire goes to sleep at 7 every night. How do we plan around this? Do we keep out passed her bedtime until WE are ready to go to bed? Because we obviously don't go to sleep at 7, also.

I would SO appreciate your opinions/advice on any of this! If you can think of anything else I should know, please tell me! I am so anxious that this is going to be a disaster!

Thanks in advance!!


  1. Oh dont worry you will be fine. I traveled with my daughter when she was a few months old and its not that bad.

    *Try to feed her right before the flight though so maybe she will sleep most of the way.

    * Also just pack her main holiday outfits and then the basics since you will have washer/dryer access.

    *I would check with the TSA though about the bottles. I flew with my daughter and we were allowed to take bottle on the plane up to a certain amount but i can't remember how many.

    *I would just bring pack n play sheets.

    * Usually as far as diapers i just take enough that fit in my bag and then buy a pack when i get there least for me its easier that way. Hope that helps a bit :)

  2. hi first time commenting but i've traveled a lot with my LO (almost 8 months) including a trip to Africa (when she was 3 months) so i'm going to try and answer the flying questions

    *you can bring bottles for babies, just be prepared for it to take a little longer because they do a little test on the liquid
    *you can check the carseat for free and the airline will probably even provide with bag. you can also do planeside check for the stroller if you want to have it in the airport. the only way they will let you bring the car seat onto the flight (if you haven't paid for a seat for your LO) is if the flight isn't full.
    *my LO slept a lot on our flights and she played in our laps. We also got up and walked the aisles when we could.
    *for take off and landing i would either feed her or let her suck on a pacifier. my LO never had any problems with it, but some babies do.
    *there should be a changing table in the plane's bathroom. we used that and sometimes i did change her in the seat.
    *i would bring toys that she hasn't seen for the flight so they will be new and interesting.

    hope that helps.

  3. I'm from St. Louis, so we've traveled there a handful of times since Jackson's birth:)

    1. St. Louis has lots and lots of stores, so if you forget anything you can buy it. I know this isn't ideal, but it calms me to know if I must have something I can get it.

    2. But diapers, baby food, wipes, etc. there. I only bring enough to get me there and through the first day.

    3. You can totally bring milk, bottles, frozen breastmilk. I was so nervous our first flight, but it was no big deal.

    4. Feed her during take off and landing. I packed all sorts of toys, but in reality Jackson slept after I nursed him and I didn't need it. It's a new environment, so there's lots to keep them entertained.

    5. Don't mess with bringing a tub, if you have too, buy the $10 one when you get there and leave it. Otherwise, just bring her in the shower with you.

    6. We never worry about bedtimes when we travel. Jackson sleeps like crap anyway, so it's just as nice to have him visit with family. If she won't sleep in the pack'n'play, bring her in bed with y'all.

    7. I'm not sure what kind of diaper bag you have, but we traveled with a backpack diaper bag and it was awesome.

    8. I borrowed strollers/carseat from friends, so I didn't worry about that.

    Safe travels! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me:)

  4. Hey there. I have never traveled with a little one, but I can TOTALLY see your concerns!

    I think you should bring enough diapers to get you there and a few hours after till you can get to a store!

    As far as bedtime goes, I would just a)put her down in a quiet, safe place so you guys can stay up. Just check on her every now and then or b)put her in the Moby wrap or carrier on you for bedtime and just carry on. My LO sleeps through most talking, tv noises, etc.

    Good luck to you! I'm sure you are going to have anxiety, you sound like me. I pack 10 diapers just to go to WalMart :)

    Just do thorough washcloth baths with her or get creative and use a large mixing bowl! You can pick one up at target when you get diapers!

  5. We live in St. Louis. You will do just fine, take a few breaths! I flew when my son was a couple months old and luckily for me he slept on the plane.

    You should be able to take bottles on the plane, you can feed her on takeoff and landing if you want. I few my son right before we got on the plane and he went right to sleep. Good luck!

  6. This is my first time commenting on your blog but I have traveled with my 15 month old daughter many times. TRY not to freak too much, it will just make travelling SO MUCH harder! I would honestly MUCH rather travel with a 4 month old than a toddler ANY DAY!!
    I would bring some diapers on the plane but in the interest of cutting down on your packing just buy a pack when you reach your destination. Since your room doesn't have a fridge I would just get a mini cooler (the soft material ones that are insulate so you don't have to lug a cooler home).
    If you purchased a seat for her then you have to take her carseat on the plane, if not then you have to check it. The stroller can be gate checked (not sure about the carseat though but you can ask when you get there). You can bring bottles for her, as many as she would need for the flight and I would definitely feed her at take off and landing or at least have her suck on the paci.
    Depending on the time of the flight or your daughter's schedule, she may sleep the whole time or a good portion of it. I would just pack a few small toys that she has never seen before so it will be something new for her. My daughter hates sitting still but a plane is a totally new environment for her so she may surprise you an tolerate sitting for a while longer because of all the stimulation around her. **I HIGHLY recommend getting the infatable duck tub (I got it at target) it folds so small and you just blow it up and bam you gotta baby tub! My daughter still fits in hers. Just bring your own sheets for the pack n play. Try not to overpack, it will just add to your stress. As far as her bedtime and you being out, I'm a total schedule stickler but there are times it has to go. Do your best to keep the same nightime routine but don't freak if she goes to bed at 8 instead of 7. I'm sure if you watch TV in the room with the lights off she won't even be bothered by it.

  7. Just bring a handful of outfits and use the washer and dryer. I always take way too many clothes and never end up using them.

    I would bring my own pnp sheet. I would not bring the entire pnp.

    I also exclusively pump (7.5 months now). I have traveled several times (both with and without my daughter). I always try to get a hotel with a fridge (did you see if they could provide one for an extra charge), but that doesn't always work. Since you area flying, I would suggest buying a styrofoam cooler once you get there. You can just keeping adding ice while at the hotel. Can you store the milk at your family's house during the day? I would suggest that. I would bring a smaller cooler for the plane. Prepare only a bottle or two ahead of time and store any extra milk in bags since they take up less space. I use playtex ventairs normally, but switch to playtex drop in's when traveling (take up less space, less to wash). I use the microwave bags for the nipples.

    We just traveled over Thanksgiving week and my daughter (who sleeps great at home in her crib)had a horrible time sleeping. At home she goes to bed at 6pm. While away, she stayed up so late and wouldn't sleep in the pnp. I ended up putting her in bed with us. We also were visiting with family during the day/evening and going to a hotel later. I would try to put her to bed at our family's house (in the middle of a bed - she doesn't move around yet). I then woke her up to take her to the hotel. It wasn't ideal, but i didn't want to have to leave at 5pm to take her to the hotel. Once we got back home, she went right back to her normal schedule.

    Put her in the shower with you. Have someone hand her to you and then hand her back when finished. Be careful...they are so slippery!

    You'll do great. I am such a worrier and stress out about traveling with my daughter. BUT, it is always much easier once we actually do it. Good luck!!

  8. I forgot to add...if you have any questions about traveling and exclusively pumping, let me know!! It's hard, but so worth it!

  9. I never flew with an infant but we do travel 5 hours often to visit family.

    Clothes - I would plan for 2 outfits per day..not sure if she spits up a lot or has diaper explosions. And a sleeper for each night, maybe 1 or 2 extra in case she has an explosion in her sleep.

    Toys - babies do get bored, so I would have a few different toys for the flight, and maybe one that lights up and plays music, and a couple of books to read to her.

    -I have heard to feed them during take off and landing so their little ears can pop.

    -The hotel pack and play should be fine (I would just bring your own sheets), since she isn't mobile she won't be touching the sides and chewing on it, etc...

    -You can call your airline regarding the regulations on strollers, carseats and bottles.

    You may have read this blog before:, she is a friend of mine and she traveled by plane when her baby was little too, she is very sweet and would be glad to help.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  10. Hey Girl! Don't stress! Seriously, flying with a babe is easy, and people are really nice and helpful. I've been flying alone with my son since he was a month and a half and he's six months now. I'll answer your questions in order.

    Take the bare minimum. You have stores and a washer. I never used half of what I packed.

    Airport/Plane Ride:
    1) Yes. But allow yourself extra time to go through security, because they take quite a while to screen your milk.
    2)Yes. You can pay to check them at the counter, or if you're cheap like me you can check them at the door of the airplane for free. You can't take the car seat unless you pay for an extra seat.
    3)Easy. Everyone loves a cute baby! My baby always slept a lot and played quietly.
    4)Yes. I nursed; you could give a bottle or a paci. But it's important--they'll be a lot happier!
    5)There are changers in the bathrooms.
    Here are a couple of other things: If it's not a full flight you can ask to be moved to an empty row.
    I love to use my Moby Wrap while I'm in the airport. So convenient. And then I have it for my trip and I don't even have to have a stroller.
    I bought Shane a little flight log book and I have the captain fill it out each flight he takes. Also, I ask the flight crew if the pilot will take a picture with the baby (always has been "yes", just wait till everyone else debarks) and some airlines even give you a "Baby's first flight" certificate.

    Hotel Stay:
    1)I co-sleep. If you are comfortable with that, it's a great way to reassure the baby as they are sometimes tense in new surroundings with new people and smells and sights. Or just take your own sheets.
    2) Not sure about in the hotel, but I packed a little cooler with milk and ice in my checked baggage and it was still frozen a day later. You very well may be able to tell the hotel your special circumstances--a lot of places will bend over backwards for a mommy.
    3)See # 1. There's a little adjustment; after all, everything's different. A few snuggles with Mama quickly set things right for my son.
    4)Sink, or in the bathtub or shower with you. It’s fun to shower with the baby and they love it.
    5)I think Claire will let you know what she needs. Shane was perfectly happy to be held while he slept and I was visiting.

    Sorry I wrote you a novel, but I know I was so nervous before I flew with him the first time alone and it would’ve helped to have someone to ask! Best wishes!

    Alesha @

  11. I would suggest bathing her in the sink. We bathed our daughter in our bathroom sink for a while because it was a lot easier than bending over to her tub. Just pad the sink with towels if you need to.

    We have a travel system (the infant carrier and stroller) and we gate checked both of them. That way when we got to the airport we slipped her into the carseat, then into the stroller and we were ready to switch over to the car easily.

    Honestly? Ryann is pretty much impossible to get to sleep if we don't follow her routine, so when we aren't at home, it is easier to just keep her up until she is a little extra tired and then she just passes out after her bedtime bottle.

    I know on a regular basis keeping the wee one on schedule is in everyone's best interest, but sometimes you have to just make the baby go with the flow. My cousin (mom of 3) always tells me if they really need to sleep, they'll fall asleep.

    Good luck!

  12. Ok, I totally know how you feel. I travelled to Northern Ireland and back with my baby when she was 4 months old. I can assure you that its not as bad as you think.

    First thing. Take a deep breath. Its always best to go in thinking that you will get through it. It can get overwhelming, but I travel a lot, alone with my daughter and its never as bad as I think it will be. I just keep reminding myself to stay calm.

    Second thing. You have to turn off that voices in your head telling you that your baby can't cry on the plane. If she does? Its ok, take your time and try to calm her down. Even if you get stares...most people have been there and they can eff off if they dont understand.

    Also I think a lot of people answered your questions, but the first time I flew I was pretty clueless. So I emailed the airline with all my stroller, carseat, bottle questions. I made sure to print off the email so I had proof of what they told me.

    I know that you are always allowed to check a stroller at each gate, but I think a carseat would have to be checked with your baggage and would count as a bag.

    When I went to Ireland for 3 weeks, I packed a lot of onesies, a week worth of jammies, and made sure to pack outfits I could mix and match so I didn't need as many.

    I bought diapers when I got there. I just brought enough to get me through the day of flying and an extra day afterwards.

    Feel free to email me if you have any questions that weren't answered!

  13. I wish I had advice..I was a nervous wreck the first time we flew with R..thankfully it wasnt too bad at all!

  14. You poor thing...I can imagine you are losing sleep over this, considering your list! I'm no help (21 weeks pregnant with our first baby!), but I just want you to know I am thinking of you! You'll figure it all out!

  15. I have never commented before.. but I'm from St. Louis! haha so I felt it was necessary apparently.
    If you don't have one I'd invest in a good carrier. Like an ergo, or a mei tai. That way you don't need the stroller in the airport.
    Babycenter has a babywearing swap board where you can get carriers for a lot cheaper that are lightly used. You should also check out their babywearing board! Idk what I'd do with out babywearing... Id never get anything done! haha!
    Well.. good luck! and I hope you enjoy STL!

  16. Everyone's comments are really good- you'll be just fine. My piece of advice regarding the plane ride is to just let her sleep as much as possible. If you have her on a schedule- throw it out the window for the day. Grace slept through take-off on one leg of our trip and landing on the other and was fine with the change in pressure. I probably fed her into a small coma, but it made for an easy flight and a happy little girl (and momma...ha)! :)

  17. Buy diapers when you get there, but pack more than you think you'll need for the flight(s) there.

    Put the pack & play in the hotel bathroom. Get ready (brush your teeth, etc) before she goes to bed, but that way you and hubbs can be in the hotel room until you're ready to go to bed. Or if you plan to eat/drink after she goes down, brush your teeth in the hotel common bathroom near the lobby (yes, I've done this, but it is worth it to not have to sit in dark silence after the baby goes to bed)

    Pack an extra shirt for yourself in the diaper bag for the never know when a blow-out, spit-up, throw-up, pee leak incident may happen on Mama too!

    I've never flown with my son, but we have done the 11 hour drive (each way) many times since he was born, so I have SOME travel tips!

    Good luck!!

  18. *I would see what will be available to you once you're there. Are there family members that have kids that would lend a bumbo/bouncer/etc? Bring that one toy that she can't live without. She'll manage for 4 days without the rest.

    *Clothes: We go away for weekends (fri-sun) and I bring one outfit for each day plus two extra outfits. I'd say to bring 8 outfits. Don't forget socks!

    *I bring diapers. I figure about 6/day. You could just pack a small pack of diapers so that they're contained and easy to grab. Don't forget to refill the diaper bag!

    Hope this helps. We travel a lot on weekends and I've learned to not stress too much. If you find that you've forgotten something, just run to the store.

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