As a breastfeeding mom with a demanding career, my oldest daughter went where I went!
By the time she’d was one year old, she’d been to California, New York, Washington, DC, Vermont, Ohio, and Arizona, just on business travel! Along the way, we added two more daughters. While our travel has slowed down some, we’ve learned quite a few tricks along the way.
1. Bring way more diapers than you ever thought possible.
Seriously, stuff those bags full. There is something about airplane travel – maybe it’s the pressure changes? – that gets babies to blow through diapers like tiny little poo-exploding rockets. If you have a relatively newly born babe, I recommend bringing a change of clothes for yourself in the carry-on bag, too. Trust me on this and risk at your peril – my sister once famously fashioned a diaper for her baby out of a maxi pad and HER OWN UNDERWEAR when she ran out at 10,000 feet.
2. Screen time YES!
I’m a big fan of limiting screen time under normal circumstances for children. This is not that time! Make sure to have child-sized headphones for each child and each device. Preload them with TV shows, movies, their favorite music, podcasts and apps that work without internet.
3. Car Seats. If you’re flying, it is safest for your child to have their own seat on board, with their car seat buckled into it.
Make sure it’s approved by the FAA for air travel. If his/her normal seat is one of those big, bulky ones, get a light one. If you can’t swing the extra seat and your kiddo is under two, skip checking his/her seat in with luggage and have Amazon ship one to your destination ahead of time. Your friends or family can put it into their car for curbside pick up at the airport.
4. A backpack of goodies for each kid.
Snacks, coloring stuff (we love those “reveal” coloring books with the magic pen without any colored ink it it.) Busy things for little hands if they get bored of their devices. A lacing/sewing toy is a long time favorite.
5. Extra pacifiers.
And if you’re on public transportation, like an airplane or train, some of those pacifier leashes. Because, gross, those floors are disgusting.
6. The frozen milk stash.
Pumping moms: if you’re traveling with a milk stash, don’t forget it! My husband dropped me and the babe off at the airport only to discover we’d left the cooler at home! Ahhhhhh!!!! I don’t know how many traffic laws he broke, but he somehow managed to get it to us before the flight took off.
7. Leave early.
This goes for if you’re traveling by car or plane. If we’re headed out for a long car ride, we leave as early as humanly possible. By 5am if we can swing it. We load kids in pjs and they *usually* go back to sleep. If we’re traveling by plane, give yourself LOTS of extra time for commuting and checking in, getting to gate, etc. Scope out ahead of time if there are any play areas in the terminals.
8. Take breaks.
Not as easy in plane travel, but definitely possible on road trips. Plan ahead with stops at parks and playgrounds. If you’re breastfeeding, your baby may or may not want to nurse on the normal schedule, but try to offer on the same frequency. For plane travel, breastfeeding will soothe your baby and help with ear pressure. Try to stand up and walk around, especially on long plane trips.