Our recent trip out to South Carolina really showed us what it is like traveling with a baby under one. To be honest I was really nervous to travel with Alina. I was prepared for it to be a lot of work, but I was more worried about her getting sick. Overall, the trip went very well, so I wanted to share my experience on what seemed to work well for us in hopes that it might help you and your family as well!
The number one piece of advice I have for you and your mental health is to remember that you will never see those people on the plane ever again. You can read all the tricks in the book, but at the end of the day, each baby is different and each plane ride is different. You are doing the best you can with the situation you are given on any given trip. After you’ve digested that, I have some other things that seemed to work well for us!
Alina’s attention span is so short right now, so she gets bored very easily. I made sure to pack a Zipbloc bag full of teethers to keep her busy. When she got bored with one, I could switch it out easily. I also brought her favorite stuffed animal raccoon for her to play and cuddle with. Lastly, I brought a book that had things she could learn – like how to unzip a zipper or how to snap a snap button. The key to all of these things was that they were silent toys. They were ways to keep her occupied while not necessarily bothering the people around us.
Be prepared for your baby not to take a bottle. In my research, I read that you should try to feed your baby at take off and landing to help distract them and get them to swallow to prevent popping ears. Alina would not take milk no matter how hard I tried. What ended up being a lifesaver were the Cerebelly pouches I brought. They are great because you can keep them unrefrigerated until they are opened. I fed her those and it seemed to work like a charm. You could also bring little baby led weaning snacks or water – anything to help them swallow during the altitude changes.
Along with food options, I also made sure I packed a TON of Lysol wipes and the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Pacifier Wipes. I disinfected basically everything she could possibly touch on the plane to further avoid her getting sick. The Pacifier Wipes came in handy more than I thought because Alina would throw her teethers and pacifiers on the floor.
Try to Bring Help
If you can travel with a partner, it makes a huge difference. I give huge props to single parents who travel alone, but I could not imagine not having help. They can help with entertaining the baby, carrying bags, folding the stroller when you hold the baby. Speaking of strollers, we used the Doona because it snaps so easily into a car, but this will probably be her last time using it because she is in the 94% for weight now. One of the negatives to the Doona is that it’s hard to fold up one handed. If you are traveling solo, this might not be the best option for you. Next time, we will probably just check a car seat and use the Joolz AER Stroller since it’s compact and foldable.
Choose Flights Accordingly
When traveling with a baby under one, I would try to book flights according to your baby’s schedule. Our flight out to Hilton Head was in the middle of the day, so Alina was super active and needy. I tried my best to keep her from hitting the seat in front of us, but it’s always such a tight space. If you can, book bulkhead seats so the baby has more room to move around and kick without disturbing the people in front of you. It also helps if they are starting to walk because it gives her a little place to stand and move around.
On the way back, she passed out 15 minutes into the flight because it was a 6am flight. We had to wake up at like 3:30 from Hilton Head to make it to Savannah for our flight. She didn’t even wake up on the landing. I wish we could do that all the time!
The flight was also a direct one and only 1 hour and 30 minutes. I think both of these factors made it way easier traveling with a baby under one.