well, i survived. we survived. traveling with my little buddy was ... an experience. i am lucky in that i did get some amazing travel tips from lindsay loo prior to heading to her neck of the woods in KC, and learned a few along the way. i was so grateful for an email she wrote to me, outlining what to do. i learned a lot of "what not to do's" as well. good times.
when you are a working mama, and are getting ready for a trip it can be overwhelming to think about what to take and how to prepare - especially when you are traveling ALONE with your little mini. i basically wrote her a text desperately asking her to just put it in writing - a step by step of what to expect and plan for. it was awesome. here's the jist of what i learned from her, and what i learned the old fashioned way - on my freaking own.
do's and don't do's
- buy a cheap umbrella stroller like this one. it's a
bitboat load smaller, and easier than your fancy schmancy bob and you won't f it up by gate checking it. aside from that awesomness, it's simple and easy and wyatt loved it. may have felt a little janketty in comparison to the big daddy, but hell - it was $30 and didn't come with shocks and rubber tires. what do you expect?
- definitely take the time to ask what items will be at your final destination so you don't have to pack them. lindsay reminded me that she had a car seat, pump, diapers, baby food, a pack n' play, and sound machines so no need to stuff those into an already jam packed suit case.
- put your ID and ticket in your back pocket or easy to grap spot in your diaper bag.
- add your mini to your ticket before you get to the airport. one less hassle. that said, i did do this and my "customer care rep" did it wrong and put me in an exit row with a "lap infant" (that's what they will call your nugget) which caused a major head ache at check in. awesome.
- book an aisle seat. seriously, trust me. i was told they "prefer" people with "lap infants" sit in a window seat, but boy are they wrong on this one. i had to ask grams and grampsie next to me to high tail it out of their seats a few different times because wyatt was full on tail spinning out of control. it was super fun. one time gramps had his table down, a DVD player going, an eye mask on, headphones in and a beverage to maneuver on my way out. super fun for him too.
- check your bags - obviously.
- carry on should include only your essentials. lighten the load as much as possible. buy a few fun toys/books for the babe so you can "surprise" them with something new to look at. i know wyatt's totally into light up toys that have spinning stuff on it and books with mirrors or fur. his faves:
- puffs rock. he loved them. his faves right now are the orange/mango/sweet potato flavor by plum.
- drug your baby if you are so inclined. i did on the way there because he's teething and they say it helps with the whole plugged ear debacle. i didn't on the way home and didn't notice a difference at all. who knows.
- ok listen up nursing mama's - i know you carry your milk stash with you at all times and assume you're all good in this department and a bottle is not necessary. ok, maybe that was just my assumption. lindsay reminded me to take one "just in case" ... that "just in case" did happen on the way there. he was a mess, i couldn't let down and thank the Lord above i listened to her. the only thing i would think twice about next time was taking the formula vs. a thawed b-milk bottle. i took powder thinking it would be easier through security, but they checked me anyway and saved zero time in the long run. next time i'll just take a thawed bottle rather than try to do anything one-handed again during a "crisis" like screaming-child-at-take-off.
- change them right before you get on the plane.
- don't go on early even though they let you. totally not worth trying to pass minutes that long before take off.
- put your essentials in a zip lock and put it right into the seat pocket when you sit down - diaper change stuff, toys/books/snacks, and bottle.
- pack extra clothes for you and him -- "just in case" -- i would recommend one pieces for your little one. so much easier to maneuver a busy body in that rather than a riding t-shirt and bunchy pants. this lesson i learned on the way there. for you - wear dark pants and just pack an extra shirt. (there really isn't that much room to take extra pants for you!)
- this one is straight from lindsay: "try to make every little thing you do/play with him take as long as possible... it's all about passing the minutes! for example... if he's eating puffs, each puff, make him find it in your fist... make a game out of it..."
- drink lots of water! surprisingly, you won't have to pee as much as you think and it's good for you if you're nursing. plus, i did pee holding him, so anything is possible there.
- make friends with your flight attendants fast. i love alaska. (needless to say, michael wasn't an alaska airlines flight attendant!) one of the attendants held wyatt and showed him top secret switch boards in the back of the plane that easily killed 4.5 minutes.
- let people help you.
- don't wear any jewelry. 9 month olds like to tug on earrings and necklaces, a lot. not awesome when you are a sweaty claustrophobic mama trapped in the window seat.
in the end, it was all worth it. going to KC with my little guy and spending some quality time with the bowens was the absolute best. seeing our kiddos play together was so special. i grew up with this girl and it was fun to see that our bambinos will grow up together too.
i think that's it for now. i'm sure this list of friendly tips will change drastically the next time i fly solo with the kidlet, and i'll surely provide you with some updates. until then, happy flying!