Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baba G's First Flights + Travel Advice

As we're currently gearing up for a trip to Arizona to visit Baba G's grandparents and other relatives — plus go to a Cubs spring training game — I thought I'd write about what worked for us when we traveled with BG last year.

You might remember that our very first trip with him ended in disaster, with all of us catching some sort of awful stomach virus in the Dominican Republic. The good news, however, was that the flights to and from the Caribbean went smoothly. We changed planes in Atlanta both times, so he went on four flights in total for that trip.

We carried all of BG's stuff on-board, with toys/food/formula I thought we'd need during the flight in a big duffel bag that I kept under the seat in front of me for easy access. The picture below shows just some of these "essentials." (Those of you who've read my other blogs through the years might remember that my poor kitchen table is never clean. This is what it looked like while I was working on my book.)

Not even 1/4 of all of his stuff
We had to wake BG up around 5 a.m. to leave (he normally gets up between 7 and 7:30 a.m.), so he was pretty out of it once we got to O'Hare.

Welcome to your first security line!

We took advantage of early boarding and got BG's car seat situated. Although most people advised us to skip buying BG his own seat on the plane, in the end we decided to spend the money on it because I was just too paranoid about turbulence and trying to stop him from squirming out of our hold and whatnot. For us, it was the right decision, and I know it would've been chaos if we attempted to keep him in our laps (he just does NOT sit still. Ever.).

We fed him most of his bottle to keep him occupied while everyone else was getting on the plane. Once we were ready for takeoff, we gave him the rest of the bottle in the hopes that the sucking motion would help his ears adjust.

When the bottle was gone, my husband attempted to hold a pacifier in BG's mouth, even though at that point (he was nine months old) he didn't use one anymore. That actually ended up working to our advantage, because I think he was like, "What is this random thing they're sticking in my mouth?" and seemed to want to help hold it in and continue sucking:

Pacifier to the rescue

Once we were in the air, we had a slew of new (that's the key — stuff he'd never seen before) toys for him to play with, as well as little snacks like Puffs and Cheerios.

What is THIS?

We reached Atlanta successfully and had an hour or so before our next flight. Unfortunately, the night before we left (while in the process of packing), my husband realized that the Traveling Toddler device we bought to lug BG's car seat around the airport only worked with full-blown car seats, NOT baby car seats. Oops.

So we flipped BG's car seat upside down and snaked it over the handle of one of our carry-ons. Witness this miracle of balance and heavy-load carrying:

Have baby and guitar, will travel.

One thing that was invaluable during our time in transit and once we were at our destination was the Skip*Hop Pronto Changer, which I wrote about before here. I had all of BG's diaper-changing necessities in its front zipper pocket, and so I'd just hand it over to my husband and he'd whisk BG into the bathroom and get the job done. We'd also lay the Changer out on the bed in our resort so that BG wasn't either on the cold tile floor or the comforter (I'm always freaked after seeing those "black-light exposés" on hotel/resort comforters).

When it was time to board our next flight, BG had gotten a little exercise running around our gate area and was ready to go.

Cool, huh?
The timing worked out so that we were able to give him another bottle while people were boarding and during take-off once again. He slept most of the flight — Hallelujah!

Having his really soft blanket on hand was the key! Once he touched it, it was lights out.

During the descent we gave him a teething ring he hadn't seen in a while, and that seemed to keep him occupied while also helping to avoid any ear trouble.

Who cares about the view when I can stuff my face with this ring?

And then we were off to catch the stomach virus — woo-hoo!


  1. this is really useful! We may be taking Paul on a trip in July so I'll come back to this then.

  2. What a guy ! Only 1 week left for another flight....excited in Arizona. Auntie MA