My son and I recently returned from our first trip without daddy & as I imagined, I walked away with some lessons and some helpful tips that I thought would be worth sharing.
Let’s explain the travels first and then I’ll jump into the things that were a must-have for traveling with my son and the lessons I learned along the way doing it alone.
My husband and I lived in Houston, Texas for three years before we called Atlanta home. Two of my best friends, that I actually met at my old job in Houston, still live there and we try to see each other once a year. It was my turn to make the trip so I packed up my bags and purchased the tickets!
This wasn’t my first time flying with Tucker so I had a little bit of an idea of what he needed to stay content. We also travel all the time with him via car so I felt a little bit prepared. We flew to NYC with him at 2 months old and honestly it was super easy. He was still in the newborn stage where he slept ALL THE TIME.
Honestly, this plane ride was not super easy – I have a very active son who has a hard time sitting in anyone’s lap for more than 3 minutes so I had to get creative. Can any mama relate?
Here are some tips/tricks that I HIGHLY recommend when travelling with a baby between 6-12 months.
- Umbrella Stroller- They are a lifesaver. If your baby loves the carrier, that is great too. My little one screams the moment I put him in one, but is so happy in the stroller. I highly recommend a collapsible stroller that has a tray on the front. That helps a ton when trying to feed them in the airport. The one I use is linked here.
- Snacks, Snacks, Snacks. This saved me in the airport & on the plane. I packed zip lock bags full of cheerios, fruit, yogurt melts, anything that I knew he could eat and it wouldn’t make a huge mess on him or the floor. I know this seems like a “Duh” packing item, but it is a NECESSITY for a happy baby.
- This is not always possible, but I did try to plan to be up in the air during his naps so that he would be tired and want to go to sleep. At 11 months, he is taking 2 naps a day- morning & afternoon.
- Call me a millennial parent- FINE, but a good movie downloaded for your little one could be your lifeline if he is unhappy. Tucker is quite obsessed with Moana- literally the only movie that can keep his attention so I had it downloaded as a last resort on the plane . It saved me on the plane ride back – he was tired and did not want to be in my lap so I got my phone out and pulled up Moan. We almost watched the whole thing and it put him to sleep as well. (** Netflix Tip- If you have the app on your phone, there are certain movies that are available to download so you can watch them in airplane mode)
- If you decide to go the stroller route instead of a carrier, Whether you have a carry-on or you are checking a bag, I highly recommend a large travel backpack .I used the Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack & It was a so perfect with a baby and a stroller solo in the airport. Put as much as you can on your back especially if you are traveling as a solo parent with your baby- you need both of your hands available at all times!
- REAL TALK: You can not care what other people think while on the plane.You are going to get stares and if your baby is crying, you are going to get some nasty looks. It just happens. You kinda have to go into the situation with an attitude that no one else on this plane matters and your focus is to keep your baby happy then the anxiety of strangers being upset with you should fade. I am saying this because I had those anxieties and fears and I just had to push them aside. OF COURSE, it went 100 percent better than I had it figured in my head.
- Give yourself time- that means get there a little earlier than you normally would. Honestly. even at 11 months, babies are babies and they are still unpredictable at times. In case you have to change his diaper 5 times before you even get on the plane, just give yourself time to do that. ALSO- in case you don’t fly often and are unaware, they also do have changing stations on the plane as well so don’t freight if your baby waits until you are already in your seat to let it all out.
Those are a few of my tips & tricks when traveling with a baby between 6-12 months. I hope this was helpful for you & good luck!