We’ve all been there. You just sit down in your way-too-cramped airline seat, buckle up, turn your phone on airplane mode, and start to settle in for the long trip. Then it starts. A whimper, a cough, then a tiny scream. You, of course, got seated in the dreaded area – in the proximity of a baby. Settle in for a flight of exhaustion and annoyance.
I know it’s pretty cliché to say, but my mindset on this scenario has completely changed – I’ve been the parent of such a child! Now I can give people the same sympathetic, knowing glance that so often comes my way during travel.
Babies are unpredictable and hard to please sometimes, and somehow know exactly when to be the loudest during the quietest moments. It’s inevitable! Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to survive the STRESS of toting along an infant. You got this, Mama! (or Pops, I’m not leaving you out, I promise!) 🙂
- Prepare/portion food and bring a thermos if you formula feed.
It’s not an original thought, but a great travel hack of mine is portioning out formula ahead of time. We follow a pretty strict feeding schedule so I count how many servings I need and possibly a couple extras just in case. Then I portion out each serving in a different plastic sandwich bag. We take along a thermos of hot water and a bottle of regular water to make it the temperature it needs to be. All you have to do then is tear a corner off the bag and pour it in the bottle with the water portioned out. Easy peasy!
It has helped so much on day trips! You can use the hot water to rinse the bottles as well, or do what I do and rinse it out in a bathroom sink with soap I bring along. I’m sure I’ll have more food advice as Thom gets older and eats real food, but that’s it for now.
- Bring extras and just in case’s.
We’ve learned the hard way – always be prepared. Plan for “just in case”. Bring a plastic shopping bag (or just use dog poop bags in a pinch 😛 ) because if you don’t, it’s inevitable. Your baby will poop all over their clothes and you and you’ll have to tote around a disgusting mess. If you bring a bag, you probably won’t have to use it. Always, always bring a change of clothes for baby and if you’re smart, for you as well. Bring more diapers and food than you think you’ll need.
- Do your research.
Does the place you’re going have a lot of stairs? Tight spaces? Museums? Kid-friendly restaurants? Ask people you know or ask Mr. Google. It’s gotten exponentially easier now that we can sit the baby up in a high chair at restaurants and not use the car seat as much! But it turns into a big decision whether we want to bring a stroller or baby carrier with us on a trip with lots of walking. We almost always opt for a stroller because that boy is freaking heavy and then able to sleep, and now that we have a smaller umbrella stroller it’s even easier. That being said, we’ve taken a stroller when we really should’ve just worn him, so lesson learned for next time. Always keep a carrier in the car or even in the stroller pouch just in case. (side note: I plan on reviewing the travel strollers and carriers we use so stay tuned!)
Currently thinking back to when we were in a very serious German history museum and the stroller wouldn’t get up the stairs so we had to carry Thom. He was incredibly bored so was just very loudly babbling and whining at the most inappropriate times… Which brings me to my final point:
- Don’t care how loud your baby is.
I’m actually facepalming while writing this because it is so. dang. hard. to do. I’m still learning and fail constantly! I worry about making too much noise and the dreaded thousands of heads turning to see where the source of such misery is coming from. They can probably feel the heat radiating from my red face.
But, let’s face it, you’re dealing with a tiny, crazy human. You can’t expect them to be silent when they’re taking in so much of the world. Let them express and use those somehow giant voices. You will live through the embarrassing situation, I promise. And if you have to/are able to, leave the environment (like a museum) until things calm down or they’re a little older and able to handle it. Obviously exercise some common courtesy and extricate yourself from a quiet environment if you’re able.
(currently thinking of all the times I’ve wanted to just curl in a little ball when Thom is having a meltdown in a crowded or quiet place)
**Oh, and BONUS HACK: If your husband/friend/significant other offers to push the stroller, hold, or wear your baby, take them up on it!!
To Sum It Up
On the bright side, I’ve gained sooooooo much empathy for the poor soul who is dealing with the crying infant on a plane or during a quiet tour. Mostly I’m just thankful when it’s not coming from mine 🙂 I hope that the world will give moms a break when their kids are acting up and be a little understanding when we’re doing the best we can.
But hopefully these very few travel hacks will help you on your next family excursion. Sure, it takes more planning and is a little harder than before. It’s a wild way to travel but so rewarding when you all can share in the adventure together! It’s worth it, I promise.
What did I leave out? What is your favorite mom hack – for travel or just for life?? Does traveling with an infant make travel better or worse for you? Please share in the comments.