This blog is all about travel, and I want to make sure that I aim to include topics that readers of different backgrounds can relate to. Since I am not a parent, the subject of traveling with a baby is one that I am not familiar with, so I enlisted the help of an experienced traveler who also happens to be a new mom to an adorable baby boy. I interviewed my cousin Betsy, a Southern California-based teacher, all about her experience flying with a baby.
1. PB (pre-baby), what was your travel background?
For work, I used to travel internationally about 6-7 times a year. In the last few years since being married, we have travelled about 1-2 times internationally for pleasure and usually a road trip (camping, skiing, beach etc) every other month. We love to explore new places - from busy urban cities to remote landscapes and national parks!
2. Where have you traveled to with Emerson?
Temecula Wine Country (When he was a month old), Michigan (when he was 2 months old), California Coast/Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles (when he was 2.5 months old), Bay Area (when he was 3 months old), Michigan again (when he was 3.5 months old).
3. Have you taken any solo trips with him?
My first trip with him back to Michigan I traveled alone and flew with Emerson on my lap when he was just under 2 months old. It definitely was really intimidating at first, but it’s very doable. The younger they are, the easier. I was fortunate to fly Southwest and have very helpful neighbors who would hold in my son’s pacifier while I changed him on my lap.
4. What are some things you brought with you while traveling with a baby that have helped you?
Travel light, make sure everything you take is multi-use and very versatile. For example, instead of bringing heavy blankets for my son to lay out on if there was an empty seat for him next to me, I put down my sweatshirt or jacket. Instead of taking burp cloths, take napkins that you can throw away or a small blanket that can double up as a burp cloth. Bring a couple of the disposable pads (like the one the’s they put under you at the hospital or under the baby when they weigh him) and use those for diaper changes or mopping up any spills. Taking 2-3 pairs of clothes, plenty of diapers and wipes are a must but only enough to last you for a day of travel (buy some when you arrive to your destination). I checked the stroller until our final destination so I brought a baby carrier which allowed me to use the restroom on layovers and I always had a place for baby to sleep on the plane/while walking about.
5. What are some things you realized you didn’t need to bring with you when traveling with a baby?
A lot of clothes/shoes for our little one, bring a couple sets to last you a day, but then just do laundry…you have enough other stuff to bring with a little!
6. How much extra time do you allow yourself at airports now?
Maybe about 30 mins extra for pumping and a diaper change.
7. Now being a mom, have you noticed any ways airports help accommodate new parents?
YESSSSSS! Thank you to those thoughtful airports that have nursing rooms (inside security)! These are places where moms can go to nurse/pump and to change their little one’s diaper. Many have a nice seating area, tv, changing table, restroom, and sink! Some of the smaller airports have nursing rooms outside of security which is kinda annoying but better than none! Also, if you’re flying with small children you can as the airline for a gate pass so a family member/friend can help escort you to the gate even though they themselves are not flying. This was a huge help when I was traveling alone so I could have some down time before boarding!
8. Have you dealt with any rude passengers?
Not yet, flying Southwest is the best because people choose their own seats. Family boarding occurs towards the beginning and then the remaining passengers to board can choose to sit by a baby/child or not! So, people that like kids choose to sit next to you!
9. What are some suggestions you think airports and airlines can do to help parents traveling with a baby?
More family restrooms/nursing rooms for moms. A separate security line would be nice!
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com