10 things you need to know when traveling with an infant

Don’t do it. Just kidding. It’s not all that bad. Here’s our travel story.

“Taylor will be almost 7 months old by then – it’ll be fine” – me, 5 months ago, convincing myself it’d be fine. She’ll be waking up less in the night. She’ll be settled. She’ll be on a good, solid routine. These are all the thoughts I had while entering my credit card details on the Jetstar website. We could totally do a solo trip to QLD, Taylor and I.

That was then. This is now. 

I wouldn’t say don’t do it… but I would say there’s a lot you wanna know before boarding the plane/s. I only had 2 x 3 hour flights (cudos to anyone who has done an overseas flight with an infant). And LOLS at me for thinking it was going to be easy when we finally arrived at our destinations. If I could warn my former self, these are the five tips I’d have given…

For the flight/s

1. Take a bottle on the plane. A bottle of Gin. Cos you gonna need a drink. Or 10. Kidding! (or am I…?) No but for realzy’s, take a bottle of milk for your little babe. Probably seems a bit obvious to those who formula feed, but for those who breastfeed (like myself), it mightn’t be something  you’d think of. I took a bottle of expressed milk on our flight to qld but on the flight home I left it in the fridge at my Dad’s and didn’t realise until we were boarding. Ah! The pain! When Taylor got a bit whingey I had no option but to flop my boob out and try latch her on but she does this thing where she fights me at the boob before finally latching and, well… let’s just say I was “advocating” #FreeTheNip.

2. Take a blanket. It’ll keep you warm and cosy during your peaceful mid-flight nap. LOL. Kidding. What is sleep? Take it for your little person. It’s all about your little person. You wanna make it as comfy for them as possible to encourage sleep (and build a sound proof forte around their ears – seriously this actually worked for us).

3. Train your bladder to hold onto wees. It’s easy. Especially now that you’ve given birth. Just hold off on peeing (when you’re busting) for a little longer everyday and eventually you’ll be able to hold onto wees for the length of your flight, which means no risk of having to wake sleeping baby on your lap. Alternatively, be sure to have whoever is taking you to the airport watch baby while you pee before getting on the plane. Either or.

4. Download a movie or TV series on your phone. I’ve heard great reviews about that new movie ‘I feel pretty’. Relax. Enjoy. Have another Gin while you’re at it. Or, download something baby-appropriate for when shit gets real and your little babe gets sick of you selfishly getting comfortable while they slept. We went with bananas in pyjamas on my I phone. Love you, B1 & B2.

5. If you’re not given a window seat, take a window seat anyway. I mean it. Push past whoever you gotta push past to get to it first. Then when you’re already all settled in the window seat, whomever was allocated the window seat will see you with your bub and feel bad if he/she asks you to move, so you’ll get to stay. The window seat is good. We love the window seat. Taylor and I got an aisle seat on the way home and if one more air hostess knocked my little girl in the head while she slept I was gonna push the food and drink trolley over and have a proper tanty. Taylor was sleeping. No one disturbs my sleeping babe. No one. The window seat also gives a little more darkness (cos you can control the blind) and privacy (if you’re not advocating for #FreeTheNip, or whatever).

For the accomodation 

1. Take anything you can that forms part of your baby’s sleep routine. Chances are your little darling is gonna be a little off routine with his/her naps and sleeps (a ‘little’… chyea…. right…..). By bringing along things that you use at home for naps and the bedtime routine, like nightlights, sleeping bags, sound machines etc, you’ll achieve nothing. Nah just messing, you’ll help them connect the dots and realise that while they’re not in their own bed, this is a safe place to nap and sleep. I’d like to say this worked for us, but it didn’t. Taylor was in a new house to sleep almost every day and she didn’t get a chance to settle in anywhere. Which brings me to my next point…

2. You know how the Queen in an ants nest stays put and has everyone else come to her for food, visits etc? You gotta be the Queen ant. Do not move from your nest away from home. Have everyone come to you. It’s not selfish. You are with child and everyone understands how tricky travel is with an infant. Especially solo travel with an infant (i.e. without baby-daddy).

3. Throw your hands in the air and throw any routine you had bub on while you’re at it. By the second last day of our ‘holiday’, I did exactly this. I was so stressed about sticking to her routine and making sure she slept at the right times etc, that I lost site of having any fun at all. Taylor was 6 months old. She was meeting a zillion new people everyday. She was in a new place to sleep everyday. Like she was ever, ever going to stick to a routine. Looking back, I don’t know what TF I was thinking. I put way too much pressure on myself and on her, when what I should have been doing was rolling with it.. Taking each day as it came. Focus on the routine when you get back home. Chill out babe. Pop out that bottle of gin and pour ya self another.

4. Hand baby over to his/her grandparents and run away. For a shower. Then come back and be mummy. Taylor has separation anxiety and freaks out a little when I hand her over to anyone. I actually kinda love this, but on the odd occasion mumma does need her hands. She was actually pretty good with her grandparents, but I still didn’t really take any time to myself unless she was sleeping. One night I ended up getting ordered to take a damn shower and eat the damn pasta bake while my family played with, fed and bathed Taylor. It was great. I could still keep an eye on her and hear her, but I got to finish my shower uninterrupted AND eat my food while it was hot. Let people help you. Pasta bake. Mmmmmmm.

5. Remember to have fun. Your baby is only a baby once. You have to enjoy this chapter of your life, as chaotic and challenging as it may seem. Don’t be hard on yourself if things get messy. Out of whack. Off track. Routines are great and all but babies have their own ideas and if they wanna fight sleep for 7 hours and whinge to you about why you’ve not successfully put them to sleep yet while you go back in to try settle them for the billionth time, then that is what they damn well will do. Now you see why you need the bottle of Gin.

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