Iya’s traveled quite a bit already before even reaching her first birthday! She’s flown to Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose, Dallas, Tokyo, Cancun, & Chicago. All but Chicago being between the age of 3 and 6 months so I’ve rounded up some tips and must-have products to help simplify the chaos that is traveling with an infant; lord knows it isn’t easy! The reason why I’ve “capped” this at 6 months is not only because of when we traveled but because everything changes after then… eating solids, crawling, getting distracted much easier, etc. If your babes are still super young or you’re expecting soon.. travel as much as you can while they’re still sleepy little immobile milk machines haha.
Iya’s first few flights I traveled with her alone and it was so exhausting! Not only is traveling with a baby always difficult, I was brand new to it still figuring out the kinks. Our first flight especially I ridiculously overpacked (such a newb!); on top of luggage I was dragging around her carseat, Dockatot, and Mima Xari Stroller too. It took a couple more flights to figure out how to downsize our luggage and it took one instance of gate-check damaging my Mima to realized I needed a travel friendly stroller solution ASAP! Strollers are not cheap enough to let them get damaged that easily AND i was struggling with the size & weight. Babyzen generously sent us a Yoyo stroller before our thanksgiving flight to Dallas and it traveled beautifully fitting in the overhead compartment; but it was our trip to Japan that really sealed the deal for us. This thing is so compact, lightweight, and smooth!! It folds and unfolds so easily, light enough to carry on my shoulder, and so easy to lift together up and down stairs. Iya has several luxury strollers and this is by far my favorite.
[UPDATE] ummm seriously just buy a Doona and thank me later! Probably THE most brilliant baby item on the market!
2. Nursing Covers
Since Iya was born I’ve always nursed her in public. I am 100000% for normalizing breastfeeding but I personally choose to cover. I never quite figured out how to drape a blanket without it falling off so I always keep a Milksnob Nursing Cover in my diaper bag and I never forget it while traveling. The nursing cover is really versatile too, it doubles as a carseat cover and I also put it over her when she sits in shopping carts or restaurant highchairs serving as a little germ barrier. But I digress..
I nurse as much as possible on the plane to keep Iya calm and if i’m lucky, sleepy. Nursing during take off & landing helps keep baby’s ears comfortable while the pressure changes — so far Iya’s never reacted so I’m going to say it works! Having her under the cover creates a nice, safe, & familiar space for her too. I always fly in a Bun Maternity Nursing Sweatshirt as well for easy access and you really don’t need a cover at all with these but I use both together lol. I get too much anxiety about people looking when Iya’s trying to latch or when she randomly pops off; no one has ever looked btw LOL.
3. Baby Carrier
The most important airport hack in my opinion.. BABYWEAR!!! Even if you’re not traveling alone, you really need your hands while maneuvering through the airport and TSA. I would have never been able to handle any of my solo trips if I wasn’t babywearing. Keep everything really minimal to avoid TSA asking you to take baby out of the carrier, I recommend a very simple carrier like the Baby K’tan. It’s just two loops of fabric without any metal or extra fluff so you can walk right through the metal detector. I’ve only been asked to take her out during 2 of our 14 flights and losing my hands both of those times made everything so much more challenging. Unlike a loose wrap, the K’tan is sized so check the chart before purchasing!
I highly recommend babywearing even after getting to your destination. My husband really loves our Cybex x Jeremy Scott 2.go Carrier; its super stylish and really comfortable for both him and Iya. She spent a lot of time sleeping in it while he carried her around Japan. I personally love to hip-carry (every parent has a different preference!) so I’ve grown to really love ring slings and I think they’re so cute too! I own a couple different brands but my absolute favorite is Wild Bird! Its perfect all around.. the width, length, “toughness” and grip of the linen; very comfortable for us both as well! There is a slight learning curve so I suggest practicing a little before really taking it out for the day; it took me a couple tries to confidently get it right and break in the fabric.
I used to pump when Iya was really young and we’d be visiting with family. I’d get engorged quickly during that time and couldn’t always nurse around everyone (like my FIL or uncles lol), plus family members enjoy giving a bottle. I traveled with my Spectra S2 pump a couple times and it was such a pain and took up so much real estate in my luggage; not to mention all that sterilizing when you’re not in the comfort of your own kitchen! Packing a compact manual breast pump made things so much easier!
Iya used to scream bloody murder in her carseat until about 6 months of age so I’d have a lot of anxiety about traveling with her because of the car ride to and from the airport – not the actual plane ride! Milk was the one thing that’d keep her content so I’d always travel with two bottles, one for each car ride, another reason why I had to travel with a pump! I’d keep my milk cool in my Medela Breastmilk Cooler Set. Airport tip: freeze your milk if you don’t need it right away, TSA doesn’t need to check it if it’s solid!
They get kind of in the way when baby’s asleep in your arms but they really come in handy when the flight gets noisy (or those pesky announcements!). One time a toddler directly in front of us was throwing an insane tantrum so we slipped these over Iya’s ears and she slept through it all!
Iya always wears these when we go to weddings btw! Really great for protecting her hearing.
Iya stopped taking a pacifier around 4 months (such a blessing AND a curse) but before then it was such an awesome combo with my Baby K’tan carrier. I’d have it clipped to the carrier not her clothes, she’d latch onto it and fall asleep nuzzled against my chest. Getting around with this set up was so so so easy especially in the airport, I FOMO those times lol. This Pacifier Clip is not only so cute, there’s also no metal so I keep it clipped on through TSA. The beads also serve as a teether!
After the fiasco of completely overpacking our first flight, I try to downsize where I can. Instead of carrying my full diaper-bag on the plane and lugging it to the bathroom, I’ll keep this in my backpack/carryon and can easily carry it on my wrist to the bathroom. It’s really the little things that make flights so much easier. Imagine a diaper blowout on a flight and trying to carry a diaper bag, clean outfit, and dirty baby through the narrowest aisle to the smallest bathroom of life lollll!
Good luck mamas & let me know below if you have any travel hacks for me!! Also, I’d love some feedback on how much i write lol. I’m such a long winded person because I try to be as thorough as possible. Is it helpful to read my experiences this detailed or do I need to get to the point much sooner? hahahah LMK!