Traveling 101 with a baby

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Back in May, I visited one of my very best friends, who recently moved to Savannah, Georgia. She and her husband also welcomed baby Jack in March of this year. To say I was excited to get down there is an understatement! I could not wait to see their new place, see my beautiful friend and hold that adorable little squishy baby! Originally, the three of us were supposed to take a family vacation to Charleston, SC and stop and visit our friends in Savannah. However, with the new job it wasn’t possible for Ryan to make the trip anymore. I happened to have a week free before starting my new job, so I took the opportunity to go down.

Driving wasn’t even an option. For starters, I personally have a 5 hour limit on driving anywhere. If it’s going to take longer than that, we’re flying. I HATE traveling in the car. On the other hand, I do have a lot of anxiety when it comes to flying but I have never let that hold me back from traveling. It usually requires a cocktail before getting on the plane and I’m good. However, a cocktail isn’t an option when you’re traveling alone with a baby {at least not in my book}. So, I put on my big girl panties and started looking at flights.

{Tip #1: Pick Your Flight Time Wisely}
There isn’t a direct flight from Ohio to Savannah ,Georgia. So I was going to have a layover somewhere. Looking at the flight times, I started thinking about what kind of baby Sam was like at 11am, 1pm, 4pm, etc. I also made sure our total travel time wasn’t more than 4 hours. The first flight was 1.5 hours to Atlanta and then just a 30 minute flight from there to Savannah. The best case scenario would be that Sam would sleep through the plane ride. So, I booked the flight for 9am, which would be during Sam’s first nap. I figured if he didn’t end up sleeping and skipped a nap, it was better to go with the morning nap rather than the afternoon. That could be catastrophic. My plan worked and he slept through almost the entire plane ride to Atlanta. For the remaining 20 minutes left, he ate some Cheerios and we read a book. Oh, and the flight attendants couldn’t stay away from him so he had some entertainment there too.

{Tip #2: Wear Your Baby}
Hands free is where it is at.  A friend of mine who frequently travels back and forth to Canada gave me this tip.  She travels with her two daughters and mentioned that having her youngest in a carrier was the best decision ever.  Rather than having to deal with the stroller and having to get them in an out of it, just strap them to the front of you and go!  You can go right through security with your baby strapped to you. I purchased an Ergo Baby Carrier before the trip. I picked this carrier because of recommendations from friends and the fact that you can carry up to a 40lb child in it! It was so comfortable. I wore it from the time we got to the airport in Columbus until we landed in Savannah and my back didn’t hurt one bit. Love this carrier.  I flew Delta and they allow you to check both a car seat and a stroller for free, in addition to your luggage.

{Tip #3: Check Your Luggage}
I can’t even imagine holding Sam and trying to hoist my luggage into the overhead compartment. Check it and forget it. One less thing to worry about and drag around with you.

{Tip #4: Pack Your Carry on Wisely…This is Your Lifeline}
I carried a 31 bag, The Retro Metro Bag. I picked this bag because it’s big without being too big… if you know what I mean. It also had outside pockets which I really liked. I stashed Sam’s pacifiers in the outer pockets for easy access and I stuck a quick snack of Cheerios in the other pocket. Inside I had Sam’s lovey {cow stuffed animal/blanket}, 2 toys, wipes, diapers, a small blanket, a change of clothes for Sam and a small cooler. Inside the cooler I had 2 packets of Plum Organics squeezable vegetables, a ready-made bottle and 2 yogurts. Sam absolutely loves yogurt so I knew I could resort to that if I was really desperate.

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I had a lot of anxiety before the plane took off each time. I just didn’t know what to expect and because a baby’s mood can change in the matter of a few seconds I just hoped and prayed all would end well! I remember on the flight back from Atlanta to Columbus, there was a young couple sitting a few rows back with a crying baby. I hugged my sleeping baby and started to cry. I can’t even imagine their anxiety at that moment. Mine was high just thinking about a cranky baby trapped in a plane and theirs was a reality. I cried because as a parent you try so hard to prepare and set yourself up for success but sometimes things just go awry. It’s a lesson I am learning as a mom and has given me a new perspective and appreciation for all parents.

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Jenna Davis Photography

We had so much fun in Savannah.  It was well worth all the hassle of traveling to see my best friend.  I can see that I will be doing a lot of powering through in the years to come for Sam’s benefit.  New experiences await him and I can’t wait to let him experience them!

 

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