Sunday, March 24, 2013

Traveling alone with a baby: 10 things to make it easier

I'll be honest: traveling with a baby is harder than traveling without. When there's two (or more!) adults, things are bearable, but when there's only one? Then things get real. I can't imagine how it'd be to travel one adult with more than one baby... or a baby and a toddler. But that's not what I know about, so lets get back to the one adult-one baby traveling, shall we?

As you know, I am able to visit my family often (and they are coming to see Oath quite often, too, so I've seen them a lot this past year! This is strange, but nice). Oath is getting to know them despite living so far away, and I am really happy for it. I know I am blessed to be able to do it, though, as not every parent who lives far from home can, so I take every opportunity to go now. Nobody knows when things are going to change, right? 
Partner, on the other hand, can't come with us every time. Because, thankfully, he has a job to keep: a job that pays, and that pay feeds us. And food always goes first (well, not really, but you know what I mean).

This means that I and Oath travel alone. Since we cross the security check one one airport until we get out of the door of the other airport, we're on our own. One (petite and skinny) girl and her (stubborn and vocal) little boy.

I arrive exhausted, but I've been learning some tricks that make it easier for everyone (Oath, me, the other passengers...):

  1. Dress to walk, not to impress. This one is quite obvious, but I've seen some people at the airport that just make me wonder what they're there for. No stiletto heels, tight mini skirts, clothes too big they threaten to fall down... Tennis shoes, jeans and a polar fleece jacket (it can get chilly on the plane!) are my go-to clothes for traveling: simple and comfortable.
  2. Dress the baby in easy to change clothes, too. Chances are there won't be any messy accidents, but if there are you'll be glad you didn't dress her in that cute dress that's so hard to button, or those jeans that fit him so well that they do not come out easily.
  3. The less luggage, the better. Both checked-in and cabin. You'll probably have to carry a child most of the time, there's no need to burden yourself with even more weight!
  4. Backpacks are your friends. I put everything I'll need in a backpack, and this way my two hands are always free. Or they would be if I didn't have a baby!
  5. Put one change of clothing for the baby on the backpack... and one for you! There's no need to have some extra jeans in there, but a t-shirt is always welcome when that burp was a bit more than just a burp (it happens to the best of us, right?).
  6. Forget the pram, use a baby carrier. If possible, a wrap, because they have no metal in them and so you can pass through the control arc with your baby strapped on you. I wouldn't trust a ring sling or another kind of carrier to not set the alarms off, but I believe that it is much easier to navigate through an airport with as few things as possible... and a pram is a pretty big thing! (also, I know I wouldn't be able to fold it to pass it through the X-rays... and there's so many people there I can't trust there'll be a security guard to help me!)
  7. Bring some snacks for you and for baby if you are weaning. There's nothing that upset Oath more than having to wait in line at a cafe for me to get a sub or any other food, I don't know why. I try to bring some dry snacks (nuts, crackers, a sandwich...) and this way I can buy a bottle of water from vending machines (which Oath has nothing against).
  8. Bring one special toy. I have one that Oath only plays with while we're traveling. He loves it, and never gets bored of it because it's always new to him. Something small, that you can pop easily in your bag, it's best (ours is a rattle, and while I am sure some other passengers do not like me much because of it, I know they would like us less if Oath started his "I am bored, I want to go somewhere!" screaming!)
  9. Go with extra time, always. If you think you need one hour, plan for one and a half, and then add some. You'll end up waiting because you've been early, but that's much better than having to run because you are too late!
  10. And, last but not least, do not be ashamed to ask for help. This can be hard for some of us: if you are like me, you feel that if you have to ask for help you are a failure as a mom. But no, you are not. You just know your limits. Getting your backpack from the overhead storage can be tricky with a baby in your arms or in a carrier, and so can be many other things. If you need help, ask for it. There'll be many people glad to help you!
  11. And a bonus one: feed your baby at take-off and landing. It'll help with ear pain and, with a bit of luck, he'll fall asleep after and will sleep through part of the flight!
I have many more, but most of them might not work for other people: for instance, I always dress him with his cow socks, so when he kicks the bells in the cow heads jingle and he gets amused; or I let him have a pacifier, even though he does not use it, because he likes to chew it and play with it (it's like and extra special toy!) and it is hard to loose, what with being clasped to his clothes.

Any of you travel with babies often, too? What are your tips and tricks?

Oath's mom


  1. Thanks for sharing such a good information :)
    This is always good to know

    Have a great week!

    Lluisa x

    1. Thank you Lluisa! I am afraid I might have to write a second part to this post soon, now that I've traveled with a mobile baby. So many things change now that he knows he can move around on his own! It is crazy.

      Have a great week too!


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