Wednesday, April 24, 2013

traveling with an 8-month-old

Thinking about traveling with your infant?

I have three words for you: don't do it.

No, but in all seriousness, you need to prepare yourselves. Granted, I think this trip would have looked a lot different if 1) our baby wasn't sick and 2) we had driven/had a car with us.

Here are some of the lessons I learned:
1. Don't bother buying expensive toys to keep your child entertained while traveling. We picked a few light-up/squishy toys for like a buck each from Walgreens and they did the trick. Elden was also more interested in his shoes, the cup they gave us on the airplane, etc., so there's that.
2. Give your child acetaminophen or some other pain-killer about 30 minutes before your flight is supposed to leave to help with any earaches that may arise.
3. Nurse/feed/provide pacifier during take-off and landing to reduce ear popping.
4. Don't bother bringing your pack n play. I cannot emphasize this one enough. We lugged ours all over Chicago and Elden didn't sleep in it once. I guess if your kid is uber flexible and has never had issues sleeping at different locations (such as a pack n play at a friend or relative's house) you might want to bring yours. I should have known better and not even bothered. Elden slept in the bed (or floor) with me the whole trip (naps included) because he was freaked out by his new surroundings and wanted to be close to me. It was the only way we got any sleep.
5. Be prepared to get very little sleep. This goes back to #4. Elden nursed all night long every night we were there and had fitful sleep, going to bed later and waking earlier than usual. The plus side is all that marathon nursing did wonders for my supply.
6. Bring things for the kiddos to eat where ever you go. If Elden got fussy at the airport, on the plane, on the bus, in his stroller, etc. we would give him some Gerber Little Graduates and he was so content.
7. The stroller is your bestie. Embrace the stroller. Elden surprised us all when he consistently took naps in his stroller the entire trip. Lifesaver.
8. This goes back to my preface, but if you can, drive. This will accommodate things such as last-minute urgent care trips and coaxing a restless child to sleep (especially if they are screaming loudly and you don't want to disturb other hotel patrons) much more easily than public transit. Also. It will allow you to leave early if you are as miserable as we were.
9. Don't bother bringing a laptop, homework, etc. You won't have time. They are heavy and unnecessary. Jon learned this the hard way.
10. If forced to use public transit, baby carriers are your friend. They take up minimal space without tiring your arms and they encourage napping in the way strollers do.

If you are traveling with a baby, prepare yourself. Also keep in mind that no two babies are the same--yours might be an angel the entire trip and you will genuinely enjoy yourselves. I wish I had been more (emotionally) prepared for this one so that it wouldn't have been such a surprise. I was totally caught off-guard! I guess the adage of hope for the best but prepare for the worst is what I'm going off of here.

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