Thursday, April 25, 2013

Have Baby, Will Travel - the infant edition

Welp. We're home from my girls (plus one breastfed baby) weekend. Though there were quite a few pitfalls, the excellent catching-up-with-friends times resulted in a net success over all.

I had to be hands free, so I looked much like a sherpa climbing a mountain with someone's gear: Baby in Bjorn, backpack full of baby essentials, diaper bag with carry on items that weren't quite as essential, and one roller bag stuffed to the gills. All of this for what ended up being 3 nights and 2 full days. I am a chronic over-packer and, while I can reduce my own stuff to mostly essentials, there are just a lot of baby contingencies. (AND my friends brought a car seat, pack n'play and stroller. Can you even imagine if they didn't? Guess G wouldn't have gone on vaca).

I picked up Georgia from daycare on the day before our trip and her sweet teacher, who can cuddle babies with the best of them but speaks relatively limited English, greeted me with a, "Oh, sweetie girl Georgia. Lots of diarrhea." AWESOME. This prompted some texts with her regular teacher to get some clarity on the actual poop situation that day. Again, AWESOME. Miss G has been blowing out her diapers everyday - I think due to new diapers - so we reverted to the good ol' Pampers Swaddlers for the trip, a size bigger, and she was fine all weekend. Phew.

I did read a tip about traveling with baby that I thought was helpful ... I packed 4 quart-size ziploc bags with a diaper and disposable changing pad in each, plus accessible wipes. This allowed for one quick grab when it was time to change a diaper (plus a bag to dispose it in) instead of shuffling all through the baby bag. I packed lots of sanitizer wipes and such but the reality is that Georgia isn't really touching anything and I didn't have any free hands once on the plane to wipe things down. Oh well.

Otherwise the essential carry-on bag had a change of clothes for G, a few burp cloths (she is a spitty baby), one quiet-ish toy, dipes/wipes, a bottle of milk with a gel freezer pack in a neoprene wine cooler bag, a bottle of water for me, and my phone/wallet/chapstick. The non-essential carry-on bag had a change of clothes for me and an extra outfit for G, a few more dipes, medicine, breast pump and parts, nursing cover and light blanket for emergency feedings (I'm not a public nurser). My system worked pretty well - stashed the essential bag in front of my seat, non-essential overhead with Bjorn. You can't wear a baby in a Bjorn for take-off or landing, so might as well not use it at all. I also grabbed an extra cup at Starbucks so I could give it to the flight attendant with the bottle to add some warm water. Worked great.

Not much to add other than the expected difficulty napping in a strange place and strange bed. I called ahead to inquire about an iPod dock for white noise, but ended up using a fan in our room and it was perfect (we all stayed in a rented house). Georgia just really only sleeps well at home, which is good for 95% of our life. 

Oh, and a word about pumping. I took a bottle of milk with us on the plane, but didn't really have a way to bring more milk. I had arranged for a sitter for Friday night and Saturday afternoon and all of a sudden it got kind of stressful to make sure I was pumping enough to have bottles for her when I left. I was pumping after each feeding and before bed and barely had enough. I'm not sure how I would have remedied this as Georgia hasn't ever had formula, but I might have packed an emergency single serving or two, just in case.

The trip stress was mostly related to flight cancellations / stuck jetways / delays and layovers in airports. Not much you can do to control that, though it is 10X more stressful with a baby. We were initially flying American who specifically said I didn't need any identification documents for Georgia, though we switched to Southwest at the last minute and they require a birth certificate or immunization record. I never ordered a copy of G's birth certificate (terrible!), so I fortunately had access to her shot record. Plan ahead on that one. Also, Southwest was great so I could board with "family boarding" and get an aisle seat. Seems to me that aisle is best if traveling alone with a small child for easy in and out. I think a window is great with a young toddler and/or if you are flying with another adult.

I took a picture with my iPhone of G in the airport and a quick pic the morning we left just to document that she was there, but otherwise no time/hands for pictures. Here are a few non-travel-related kid/media things I've come across lately:
The Kids Should See This - videos that kids will love, but not specifically made for kids
The Stories Objects Hold at Sesame Ellis 
And, as she links to, Kids Were Here
And an inspiring photo blog of kid pictures - You Are My Wild

1 comment:

Bets said...

The Kids Should See is one of my favorite sites! Videos get shown quite often in my classroom ... and my own living room for myself, if I tell the truth :)