Just under 3 weeks ago, my daughter (18 months old) and I made a trip oversees for a few days to spend some time with family and friends. It was not the first time traveling with her alone but the toddler stage was different. I learned a few things on this trip that help me and will prepare me for future trips when traveling with little mama again.
- Travel LIGHT. This might sound cliché but it isn’t. Let me explain what I mean here. It can be very stressful especially if you are traveling alone with a baby so I would advise you carry a good size diaper bag as your only hand luggage and stuff it with only what you need. The last thing you want on a trip with your baby or toddler is constant crying and fussiness throughout your flight while having to carry so many things at the same time. Ditch the strollers especially if it’s for a short trip and take a baby carrier (depending on your child’s age and weight).
- Allow baby/toddler breastfeed or suck from bottle or pacifier before take off and during landing. This helps reduce earaches for baby due to altitude and aircraft pressure.
- Wear comfortable clothes: This is important for both mama and baby. You want to be able to move around easily and feel light as you navigate thru the airport and handle your luggage(s). You also want to make sure your child is dressed in an outfit that’s easy to change when they have an explosion and you need an urgent diaper change.
- Don’t over pack: It is more than likely that you would want to shop for a thing or two during your travel even if it primarily involves buying more diapers that you may need to travel back with. Don’t try to stuff all your toddler’s favorite books and or toys in your luggage. Pack a light weight toy or coloring book for older kids to keep them entertained during the flight. Your child is not going to care if he doesn’t have all his toys with him when away. He really just needs his mama and maybe one toy that usually helps him self soothe like a comfort blanket etc. Lastly, pack just enough extra clothing incase of accidents depending on the age of your baby. Having just the right amount of diapers onboard is equally important. If your child goes through 5-6 diapers a day, I suggest grabbing 3 to 4 more extra.
- Make friends while traveling. If you can try making friends with fellow travelers so they can be willing to assist you were necessary. I remember when I was flying with my daughter alone for the first time. A lady walked up to me and asked if I needed help because she knows how it can be quite challenging doing it alone with a baby. I was grateful and very appreciative as it went a long way. More help could come from someone willing to get your luggage off the carousel or getting you a luggage stroller etc. s
- Snacks, snacks and some snacks. Make sure to stuff your bag with as many healthy snacks as possible for the kiddos. You can grab some granola bars, crackers and/or fruits (clementine, apples, bananas etc) are good fruits to travel with.
- Read up on Airline and Airport policies. Traveling with children is very different than traveling as an adult as rules and regulations vary by age of passengers. Do your research on if you child is old enough to travel as a lap infant or if you are allowed to cross security with a certain amount of breastmilk or already made formula or cereals. If you have to call to ahead to be sure do so to prevent disappointments and delays.
- Relax. If you are spending time with your little one alone either for the first, second or third time enjoy the highs and lows and embrace the chaos. Your child isn’t looking for a perfect mom. He is looking for a present mom. Travel and explore the world with them while you can. They grow up fast.