I'm sharing everything I learned from our travels to help you prepare better for yours!
I'm an over-packer and proud of it. So below are lists of everything that you could possibly need when it comes to packing for baby or yourself + a carryon! You can download the checklists for free on my website, just add in your email and you have access to all the PDF's!
We packed enough diapers and wipes for travel (including planning for delays/change in travel plans/etc) and then had more delivered from amazon to our hotel (along with some non-toxic laundry detergent)
I love using packing cubes to keep the luggage organized (and our hotel room when we arrive!) You also want to make sure that you have identification tags on ALL your luggage, including your diaper bag/carseat/stroller incase you end up checking items or misplace them!
The night before I weighed our luggage and moved it all to the front door (since we opted to UBER instead of drive, you can also load them right into your car). I have a list of last minute "To Do's" of things I need to grab/do before we go, along with a printout with details for our dog sitter.
We flew out of O'Hare which is a HUGE airport, so we aim to arrive 2 hours early so we have plenty of time to check our bags and go through security. But adding in a little one means contemplating the drive there, naps, feedings, and fussiness!
We flew out in the morning so I woke up an hour before we had to go. I let Adalynn sleep while I grabbed the last minute items we needed and got ready myself. I then woke her up and fed her (again, giving her PLENTY of time to eat).
After she ate, I got the wrap on before we even left the house- in preparation of arriving to the airport and it being a bit chaotic. Our UBER driver arrived and my husband loaded the luggage while I loaded in Adalynn's carseat. *PRO TIP: Learn how and practice installing YOUR carseat without a base!
Since it was the morning Addy was still very sleepy and fell back asleep during our hour drive to the airport, but as soon as we got to the airport she was awake (eeek! this means hungry). We skipped the feeding and put her right in the carrier (that I already had tied on me!). If you choose to travel with a stroller then you can easily transfer them there at this point instead.
We chose to fly with Addy on our laps (in the US children under 2 fly for free in your lap), but some people will opt to pay for a seat for their little one and keep them in the carseat for extra safety. You can also ask the gate attendants if there are extras seats available and they may possibly change your seat to allow you to bring the carseat on for FREE but this is NOT the case for full flight.
Either way, you can gate check strollers and carseats for free. Meaning you can bring them throughout the airport and as you are getting on the plane you leave them to be stored underneath. (This is why you want to make sure everything is tagged with your name and number!). We chose to check our carseat with our bags but IT STILL GOES TO THE SAME PLACE. We watched an employee take a whole cart of carseats down to our terminal to be gate checked with the others. (Gate checking ensures they are treated with special attention, it's up for argument how safe it really is).
I had a backpack car seat carrier that we immediately put the carseat in which made it easy to check right away OR bring through the airport if we chose to gate check. *we also stuffed some extra diapers and wipes in the bottom of ours :)
I also used a fanny pack to keep our important documents in so that I could easily access them. This included Addy's birth certificate, boarding passes, ID's, luggage tags, cash/credit card, and pacifiers for Adalynn.
I kept my carrier on which required an extra step in security (they swabbed my hands) but be prepared for them to ask you to remove the carrier and the baby because it is a possibility!
I didn't travel with breast milk so I'm not sure the specifics for that, but I do know that wipes will be detected and require a bag search but they seemed very understanding of anything baby related (but maybe I just had really good experiences).
Delays are so out of our control, but THEY SUCK. We arrived at the airport at 8:00am and went through delay after delay (ON and off the airplane) until 4:00pm. A full day of keeping Addy happy while not making it anywhere, it was rough but my biggest tip is to stay calm.
Babies pick up on our feelings. If I was stressed, overwhelmed or embarrassed and anxious to keep Addy quite- then she would feel that and most likely be extra fussy.
Staying calm and letting things play out however they did, kept Addy happy and calm despite the torture of delays.
I'm not saying that this will work... but give it your best shot! And if your babe is extra fussy, don't worry about it. People will understand, and if they don't you'll never have to see them again!
Once we finally took off (the next day at 5:00pm!!!!) Addy was a complete angel. I used my carryon checklist to pack her bags so you can see what to include but the biggest game changers were the items below.
3. Travel Sound Machine
5. AirPods/Downloaded show for mom
6. Water Bottle with straw
As soon as we got on the plane I stood up and rocked Addy to sleep, so she was asleep during take off (and didn't wake up when her ears popped so that was awesome) but if baby is awake I encourage you to have them sucking on something to help the ears! This can be a your nipple, a bottle, or a pacifier!
While she slept I had her wrapped in the swaddle and resting on the boppy (the boppy made it SO much more comfortable to hold her for an hour and a half in the uncomfortable airplane seats.) I also had the sound machine sitting on her chest to help drown out other noises (like other fussy kids, announcements, and the flight attendants).
I watched Bridgerton with my AirPods and was so grateful to have a water bottle that I could easily grab and drink from.
When Addy was awake she ate! I'm the type of momma who is completely comfortable feeding in public so I didn't bring a cover, just used the boppy to support her and fed her right there. (I sat in the aisle seat so I had more room, but for more privacy you may want to choose the window seat!) *if you are anything like me you are extra hungry and thirsty while breastfeeding so make sure to pack some snacks!
Since Addy is just 4 months old, play time is lots of face to face interaction and observing the world. So I scrunched up the boppy on my lap and laid her down so she could see me and we just chatted, played with the mirror and some of her other little favorite toys.
I chose to change her in the airplane bathroom rather than on my lap but both are fine options. However, Addy was just about too long to fit on the airplane changing station so next time we fly it will most definitely be a lap change (something I may practice before the actual flight).
To make the diaper changes easier I had a diaper rubber banded to the wipes and I grabbed a single sanitizing wipe from the bag to wipe off the table before laying her down. I also brought a sweatshirt into the bathroom with me to put it under her head and cushion her if we were to hit turbulence and she shifted on the changing table (sure enough, it happened!) I changed her QUICKLY, and got back to my seat. *don't hesitate to ask for help, the flight attendants are usually more than happy to open up the changing station and close it for you when your hands are full.
What not to do:
- delay checking in (I missed it by an hour and couldn't get a seat next to my husband on the way home which made everything just a tad bit harder)
- sit in the last row right next to the bathrooms. This is a HIGH TRAFFIC AREA, so tons of commotion which means the baby is bothered, woken up, and it's so much harder to stand up and rock the baby if needed. Plus the toilet flushing is SO LOUD and may wake your baby every. single. time.
-Sit in the front row with "extra space" This is another place that people will come stand in if there is ever a traffic jam. Plus you don't have a seat in front of you to hold things which make it more difficult to grab (and you don't have a place to store YOUR carryon items which means they have to go in the overhead bin).
-Travel with an unorganized diaper bag. You are going to need a LOT of things, and the more organized you are the easier it will be to find anything you are looking for. Avoid tossing everything into a pit of a bag and take time to organize it all.
I contacted our hotel before hand to check to see what they had available for us to use (they provided pack and plays and highchairs) and also check to see if they had black out curtains.
If they don't have black out curtains and your little one needs them to sleep, consider having them sleep in the bathroom or in the closet, or packing a portable sleep tent.
If you are traveling to a place that doesn't provide pack and plays you can look for local rental services or bring your own. If they DO provide them, make sure you still pack your own sheet.
As soon as we arrived we unpacked our bags (I put the packing cubes straight into the dresser) and we created a diaper changing station using a towel on a desk they provided. Next to the desk we had diapers, wipes, a wet bag for laundry, a garbage for dirty diapers, and a bag for dirty pacifiers.
I included some must have items along with items that will just make your life in the sun a bit easier on my packing list and you can find my favorites on my amazon storefront.
Babies have some super sensitive skin, so make sure you are covering them up with long sleeve swim suits, hats, umbrellas, tents, etc. You also want to make sure you are feeding the baby OFTEN to avoid dehydration!
AND DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WE DID.
While Addy was completely covered up, she was in the water and the sun reflected up off the water and burnt her little cheeks! So be very very careful around water as well!
It's advised that babies under 6M don't use any sunscreen at all, but if you are adamant about using one my favorite non-toxic options are available here.
If you're baby does get burnt, make sure to notify your pediatrician & keep a close eye for blistering and changes in babies behavior. We treated with breastmilk which healed it up in less than a day!
All in all, traveling with a baby wasn't much different than being at home with a baby. But it was a lot different than traveling without a baby, and we definitely had to modify our expectations!
My main goal was to try and "go with the flow" which meant Adalynn napped in the carrier, by the pool, in my arms, and any other place we needed her to. It also meant we stayed up in the hotel room when we wanted to prioritize her sleep.
She didn't sleep as well as she does at home, but one week of modified changes isn't going to ruin everything... well at least it didn't for us! Addy went right back to her normal routine, just as I did.
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S !
Hi Friends! I'm Jessica Haizman. I'm 28 years old and married to my best friend. We spend 98% of our time together, and no we don't spend it all cleaning and organizing. I have created efficient systems in all areas of our home, our phone, our careers, and our lives- and I have made it my mission to share these tips with anyone and everyone that will listen. Why? Because these systems make my life SO MUCH EASIER and SAVE ME SO MUCH TIME. These systems keep my home clean, bring joy and calmness into my life, and allow me to spend less time picking up clutter and more time living life-and I want that for you too. The goal is to help, whether its a quick tip or life hack that I share to Tiktok or a day in the life on my social networks @jessicahaizman, a printable chart that helps me stay organized or my all-time favorite apps, an intensive course answering all the FAQ's or working 1:1 with clients to create healthy habits- these resources are all available to you! Some things you will stumble upon are how I use non-toxic natural cleaners, have made the change to no-waste by switching to reusable towels instead of paper or glass storage containers instead of ziplocks. You will also find lots of DIY recipes and how to use common household ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar and hot water to tackle some of your toughest messes. You'll learn about my favorite cleaning supplies and cleaning products including all purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, stain removers and more. Having a clean home drastically affects your physical and mental health, so jump on board and learn all the tips I have to share! Take the time to explore my website and interact with me on social media. I'm so excited to see how organization and a new approach on cleaning the home will change your life and leave you full of joy!