I’ve been messaged by several mamas on how we travel with our little guy.
Ever since Hank was born we anticipated traveling quite a bit through his first year. One of our goals was for him to be able to be put down to sleep virtually anywhere and feel comfortable. We try to make his sleep environment similar no matter where we are. He has a little doggy blanket, a sleep sack (or swaddle when he was younger), portable speaker that plays ocean sounds (controlled by our phones/spotify), baby monitor, and his binky. Whether we are at home, Grandma’s house or Hawaii these always stay constant. He can fall asleep on a dime as long as he has all of these things. Hank goes to bed much earlier then we do and usually sleeps in his own room. If all of us have to share a room we put his pack n’ play or crib in a walk in closet or large bathroom (of course making sure that there is plenty of ventilation). This way we don’t wake him when we come into bed and it stays nice and dark while he is adjusting to whatever new time zone we are in.
When he was younger he just slept the whole time and it really wasn’t much of struggle to fly with him. Getting through security takes a little bit longer so plan some extra time. Don’t forget to get “infant in arms” on your ticket BEFORE you go through security..or they will make you go all the way back to the check-in station (maybe happened to us a time or two ha). Bring extra of everything– outfits, diapers, solids, formula/ pumped breast milk, pump, outfits, toys, burp clothes and blankets. I used to bring my nursing pillow to help support my arms when he would sleep for an entire flight. It was just more comfortable. Blowouts always happen right before you board and for some reason your baby is extra hungry on that hour and a half flight and you may need that extra bottle. I pumped exclusively the first six months and always brought my pump with me. I couldn’t live without it and if it got lost with my luggage… I can’t even imagine. Plus, you don’t know how long a flight can be delayed. We have this carseat that converts to a stroller. We just drop it off at the gate and pick it up after arriving. We don’t have to carry Hank through the airport and then it folds up into a carseat. If you travel a lot it is something to look into. It can face backwards or forwards in a car. It says you could have a newborn in it, but I would suggest waiting until they were more like 6 months or so.
Now that Hank is crawling and nearly walking the long Hawaii flight was a little bit more difficult. We flew to LAX from SLC. We wanted to keep him up during the flight because we knew he would sleep in his stroller during our layover (1 hr 45 min). If I just cover his stroller with blankets and walk around he will sleep the whole time (We decided to bring the full fledged stroller because we knew we would want it to take on all of our adventures). From LAX to Maui we still wanted to keep him up as long as we could because we would be arriving at 8:45 PM and we wanted him to sleep once we got to the hotel so he could start adjusting to the four hour time difference. Hank cooperated and stayed up until the last 20 minutes. He was a dream, but we had to entertain him for that five and a half hour flight. We watched lots of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that we had purposely downloaded on to my iPad for the flight. Luckily we were in first class so we put a blanket down by our feet and blocked the isle with our bags. It made for a perfect place to dump all his toys out and let him play.
He went to bed when we got to the hotel and woke up at his normal Utah time. We were staying in a suite with my whole family so we would try and sneak out the door with the stroller and go grab coffee and take a morning walk. It was not ideal to wake up at 5 AM, but we sure took advantage of watching the sunrise. After a couple days Hank was completely adjusted to the time zone and it was no biggie.
We took a red eye on the way home. We brought all those things Hank needs to sleep with us. His sleep sack, blanket, binky and a prerecorded ocean sounds on our phones. He slept the whole flight to LAX and from LAX to SLC. We also brought all those toys and Mickey Mouse loaded iPad just incase we had to entertain him. You just have to be prepared and hope for the best.
Hotel/ Car Rental tips:
Weeks before arriving you can call your hotel and ask if they have a crib and/or pack n’ play. Most do and will have it all set up when you arrive. If you feel more comfortable you can bring your own sheet set. They don’t supply bumper pads for cribs so if you’re into those you would have to bring your own. Choosing a room that has a kitchenette makes things so much easier. Now that Hank eats solids/ whole milk we could just have everything we need in the room. It makes storing, preparing and cleaning less of a hassle.
Same goes with a carseat… You can call the rental car company and pay to rent a carseat if you don’t want to lug one around the airport or risk getting yours trashed when you check it (which I don’t suggest doing).
Every baby is different and you know what will work for them. Just think about your baby’s normal schedule and help give them those same que’s you do at home to make them feel some kind of structure when doing something out of the norm.
Hope this helps!