Our Cross-Country Trip With A 5-Month-Old

Wine And Mommy Time - Travelling Cross-Country With a Baby

Folks, please bear with me. Since our trip from coast to coast my laptop has decided to shit the bed so my next few posts will be coming from my tablet. I appologize for any bad spelling or grammar, but I am doing my best! Thanks for understanding and being patient with me!!

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Traveling in general can be stressful at times, multiple connecting flights, worrying whether your luggage will make it, if your carryon has been packed sufficiently, the list goes on. Our first trip with our little guy would be from one side of the country to the other. Being a first time mom, the preparation for flying with an infant is daunting to say the least. Will my baby scream the whole flight? How will he handle cabin pressure? What if he decides now is the time to drop a diaper bomb if you know what I’m saying… How will we heat a bottle? How much stuff do I bring? What is check-able of his and what do I have to budget for bringing his things like a playpen? You know, just a few of the thoughts running through my head leading up to the trip.

Prior to our trip I called our airline to ask them a few questions about traveling with our little man, below is the outcome however read on after to see what transpired.

Q) Is there a limit for pre-made formula and what types of baby food are okay to bring via carry-on?

A: There is no limit to pre-made formula or baby food. All liquid for infant consumption is considered medically required so it cannot be taken from you. You should pack any bottled liquid or food for your baby in a separate cooler bag.

Q: What is the situation with carry-on/checked luggage allowance on our baby’s behalf?

A: The cooler bag and diaper bag are considered his carry-on, his stroller will be checked at the gate, his carseat and playpen are checked for free with the rest of the paid luggage.

Q: I’ve heard that you can sometimes fasten your car seat in the middle seat if the flight is not sold out, is this true?

A: This is dependant on if your flight has a lot of space or not, it is also dependant on the person at the desk checking luggage and the flight staff’s discretion.

The flight we had booked was a red-eye, leaving at 12:05am. Typically little man is in bed for the night around 6:30/7:00pm so this was our first challenge. In hindsight I think I would have kept with his normal routine of dinner, bath, bottle, bed, but again, this was our first time, live and learn! He gave us some attitude because of screwing up his night time schedule and wouldn’t nap at all. Worry was starting to set in. The day before our flight our friends let us stay with them and said they would drive us to the airport. I can’t thank them enough. Living in the greater Vancouver area we had no need for a car, until this point. Since we had so much luggage however, Geoff took Peyton in his stroller on the train, something familiar to him, which he fell asleep on for a short time, thankfully, and I got a drive with our mountain of bags.

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We got to the airport with about 2.5 hours before our boarding time, and it was a good thing we did! The bag check lineup was horrendously long and took forever. Once we got to the desk we were told that our playpen would be checked and we would have to pay for it, while I didn’t mind, in a previous phone conversation I was told playpen’s were free, but whatever, by this point we needed to get our little man fed so we shelled out the cash for that, 3 more checked bags and then our car seat was free. Prior to our trip I had ordered a gate check bag for both our stroller and our car seat. The lady at the desk wouldn’t let me use them, so if you are planning on doing the same make sure your gate check bags are returnable, I ordered mine from Amazon and will be returning them soon. Once through bag check we headed to security and since we had our little guy we were pulled into a magical line for people with pets and small children. Since we were told that pre-made formula was allowed I made a day’s worth of bottles and stashed them in a cooler bag as instructed. When we arrived at the gate my preparations proved to be a feeding issue. How do I now heat the bottles. Thankfully I had spare empty bottles and we brought our powder formula on the plane. ALL of the bottles I made ahead of time went to waste. Luckily I had a thermos with me so I filled that with warm water and we used that to mix all the bottles for the whole trip. The bottle I use is a Swell bottle, they keep water warm or cold for SO long, also the bottles from David’s Tea are amazing now that I think of it!

We pre-boarded, which is an awesome thing by the way. Unfortunately Peyton was going postal from before we got on the plane, we were getting really worried. Once we started taxiing and he got yet another bottle in him he fell asleep! Finally! He ended up sleeping on Geoff for nearly the whole flight up until about 45 minutes before landing. When he wokeup he was smiling and having the best time ever. Upon landing in Montreal we had a 3.5 hour stop over and got some lunch in our little guy along with a bit of a walk. Our second and final flight Peyton fell asleep right at the beginning again and woke up 30 minutes before the end of the flight. We really lucked out by not having to change Peyton on either of the planes as he slept most of the time, so I can’t say what that experience would have been like. Needless to say though the flights were successful!

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What would I do different next time?

  • Bring warm water, empty bottles and powder formula, not premixed.
  • Bring more burp cloths.
  • Bring LESS diapers, everything I read before said to plan for 1 diaper per hour of travel. Just judge by what your baby would normally use in that amount of time and add about 4 or so, you’ll be fine.
  • Follow his normal bedtime routine if we’re flying red eye.

All in all I was anticipating the trip to be tough, our little guy isn’t a huge cuddler, and prefers to sleep on his stomach. Peyton handled the journey like a champ, both Geoff and I are so proud of him! I guess we can give ourselves a pat on the back too, we made it!

If you are going to be traveling with a little one for the first time don’t over think it like I did. It’s going to be ok. Honestly we all prepare for the worst. Just take a breath, focus on your baby’s needs and just let whatever happens happen. If I could give any advice it would be the following:

  • Pack only toys your baby loves, preferably quiet or crinkly toys
  • Don’t premix your formula if you are bottle feeding
  • If your baby is awake, feed during takeoff and landing to help with their eardrums
  • If your baby has already eaten too soon before takeoff or landing use a soother, or yawn often in front of them, again for their ears
  • Days following up to your trip try to keep count of how many diapers you go through in a day or in the time period of which you’d be traveling and then add on 3-5 more diapers
  • Dress them in a sleeper, the less parts to get through when they need a change the better
  • Bring a blanket to wrap them in if the air conditioning is too high on your plane

Bear in mind not every airline has the same policies just call ahead of time and ask any questions you may have, especially about feedings. I have seen some people make little gift bags for people around them with earplugs and a little note or candy in them to have flight attendants to distribute for them, not a bad idea if you are concerned about your little one squaking, but again, that’s one of those nice-to-have things not a need-to-have. Regardless of my advice or others, all of our babies are different and we all have different feelings toward traveling anxieties, do what’s best for you!

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