This month’s “real talk, real moms” topic is all about travel. As you all know, I’m a girl with serious wanderlust – traveling to Istanbul, Marrakech, and beyond. Each year my mom and I plan a big trip to take together to a part of the world we have yet to discover. In the last month of pregnancy I kept telling myself – you can still travel, it’ll be a little bit harder but worth showing Jackson at a young age that the world is his oyster.
Our lifestyle has been to get out and explore and it all started for Jackson on day 10. We took our first short, but sweet road trip up to Tomales Bay for a friends annual birthday. Everyone thought we were a little ambitious and loco en la cabeza, but it went amazing (for new parent standards). Jackson cried for the first 20 minutes but after some sweet loves and singing he dozed off and has been a champ in the car ever since. I truly believed that taking this first trip made me comfortable taking him out around the city.
Fast forward to when Jackson was 2.5 months old and our first plane ride was approaching. We planned a trip to New York as a getaway. The twist, I was taking this first plane ride solo. Eric met us there from Arizona where he lives in March. When we booked the tickets I thought = no big deal, he’s in his sleepy state still, he’s quiet, I’ll be fine. As the days grew closer to going I got incredibly nervous. All the voices in my head, the thousands of pieces of advice were running through my head – Is he going to do ok when we take off and land? What if I forget something? How the hell am I going to get the stroller, suitcase and him? All valid questions.
Friends, one thing I learn from that first trip – don’t be afraid to ask for help. As we got to security I started to panic, which meant Jackson could feel my tension rising. He started to get fussy with the noise and I was attempting to close the stroller. Luckily two moms behind me asked if I wanted help and were in awe that I was traveling solo. Those two moms MADE my trip through security a breeze. They helped, distracted me from getting more tense and then Jackson fell asleep. I left thinking – alright now I just have to get through takeoff and landing. Jackson was a champ – he crashed on my lap during takeoff, slept for 3 hours. When he woke up, I changed his diaper (more on that below) and after playing with a new toy for a little bit, he passed back out until I woke him up for landing. He didn’t want his bottle but once I sang to him and popped the bottle in his mouth, his ears popped.
I’ve since taken him to Arizona and Portland. I’ll be honest, they didn’t go off without a few hitches – a little tumble here and there but we made it through. We’ve also taken him on a 9 hour road trip, which we planned around his afternoon nap and bedtime. Smartest decision we ever made because when it got dark he only wanted to sleep.
As Jackson gets older and more mobile I’m nervous about how he will travel – the wiggly stage I hear is the worst. But I have faith that we’ll get through it, it just may not be solo. I’ve pulled together five tips I mention to every mom that asks for advice when traveling.
1.) Baby Carrier. Have your baby in the Ergo through security. Then you are handsfree, hopefully they will fall asleep, and then they only swab your hands. It’s a win, win.
2.) Gate Check. Bring the stroller through security. At first I thought it would be silly to gate check but it’s the perfect place to put the diaper bag and if your baby wants out of the Ergo they can still be strapped in. With that being said, make sure you have a bag to put it in. I bought this cheap bag for $12 because I heard strollers get dirty in cargo – the bag came back with a TON of grease on it.
3.) Extra, Extra. I learned from that first road trip that bringing extra clothes for your baby and yourself are key. With the cabin pressure poops are more explosive. On that trip to New York we had one poop all the way up his back. It’s bound to happen but you never know when. Babies like to surprise us that way. So pack extra clothes, diapers and swaddles that you can use for spit up.
4.) Takeoff and Landing. This was something I was incredibly nervous about. Jackson ended up doing amazing but there was one leg of a trip where he finished his bottle incredibly fast and we still had 10 more minutes of landing. I was the mom struggling to make another bottle, with baby in hand. All I have to say is, make an extra bottle or two because you never know how long it will take.
5.) Don’t Overpack. Where ever you are headed there are stores on the other end. Bring what you need for the first day or so – diapers and essentials but then buy the rest in your destination. This was a great tip a mom mentioned. You don’t want to pack that huge thing of diapers. Also, if you forgot something, don’t fret – you’ll be able to get it on the other end.
What I’ve learned with each trip is that there is room for growth, you’ll have curve balls thrown at you. It is important to remain calm no matter the circumstance because it’s all going to turn out okay, even if it isn’t perfect.
I’d love to hear any tips you have on traveling – especially at this new wiggly stage as we prepare for a few trips that are on the horizon. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the Real Talk, Real Moms posts. I’m headed over now to take in all of their knowledge – I’ve linked to them below.
Photos by Katherine Harris