This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.
Traveling with a baby for the first time was one of the most intimidating things for me to prepare for. Thankfully I've gathered some tried and true advice from family and the good ol' google to share with y'all today other than the usual obvious tips like extra diapers, change of clothes, and a blanket! I thought I'd share my experience preparing for our big first trip with Wilde who was eight months old at the time. Andrew and I are creatures of habit and truly don't change our routine or travel often, so if you're anything like us, I hope these little tips ease your mind a bit!
1) Familiarity is key
If baby's happy.. mama is happy. And if mama is happy, everyone is happy! Do not forget to bring your babe's favorite few things from home, simple as that. If your little one is around the same age as Wilde, you know they are at the age where they are starting to have little personalities and let you know real quick when they favor something over another. I sat and thought about things that would comfort Wilde despite the completely different environment he would be thrown in. First thing that immediately came to mind was our yummiest baby detergent that his bed sheets, clothes and basically entire room smells like. I knew I had to bring his bed linens on our trip and I am so sure that's a big reason why he slept so well away from home. Whether it be your baby's favorite toy, stuffed animal, snack, it's worth bringing it! I even brought his sound machine, favorite bed time book, bath lotions.. you'd be surprised how smart these little ones are! I knew the smell of Wilde's bath lotion would remind him it's bed time, even though I laid him down in a place he'd never been before.
2) Two words: PACKING CUBES
Marie Kondo would be very proud of this one. One of the best things I've ever purchased in regards to traveling with a baby's belongings. Think about it.. their things are just teeny versions of our own belongings. Tiny sweaters, tiny shoes, little accessories, and don't forget the necessities like bath items, books, bed linens, etc. Wilde and I shared a suitcase and it would have looked like a bomb blew up and anxiety town if I didn't have packing cubes to organize and separate his items from mine.
I had three separate categories of this things - sleep, clothes, and bath, which I am so glad I did! We arrived to California super after his bedtime so I was in a rush to get him ready for bed the moment we arrived at our airbnb. I just grabbed the "sleep" packed cube and everything was ready to go for me in a pinch! I could be waaay late to the packing cube game, but either way, my life is forever changed when it comes to packing for us both. I bought these cubes from amazon, super affordable and it comes in a set of with a ton of sizes!
3) Wear baby!
I am a huuuge advocate for all baby wearing.. slings, wraps, straps.. I'll take 'em all. If your little one is a clingy to mommy baby, this will work wonders for you. Wearing your baby through TSA is an absolute breeze. If there are no issues walking through the metal detector, the TSA is normally very accommodating to mothers with babies and try to make security check as smooth as possible for you and not make you remove your baby from the sling. This was a huge weight off my shoulders because security gives me the most anxiety when it comes to flying.. I hate the pressure of needing to rush and get my items out of the next person in line's way, so wearing Wilde was no added burden due to having my hands free and not having to worry about him getting messy or in danger! I'm also really glad I had my baby carrier during the flight. Wilde was so fussy and exhausted, so while the seatbelt light was off, I tucked him in the carrier and just walked up and down the aisles so he could take a little nap on me to get some much needed rest. Such a life saver.
4) Nursing or bottle feeding at take off and landing
I would have never thought about those sweet baby's ears needing to pop as much as adult's do! Back in my parent's early parenting days, easy advice through the internet wasn't accessible, so something like this totally slipped my dad's mind when flying with babies. He told me once he ended up standing and rocking my sister in the airplane bathroom while she screamed in pain the entire flight until they finally touched down - realizing the culprit were her poor little ears killing her! So if it isn't obvious, have a bottle ready the moment those wheels lift off! If you're lucky and your babe still nurses (Wilde unfortunately does not), they will quite easily nurse themselves to sleep to the hum of the engine. IDEAL!
Wilde was unbelievably tired at the beginning of our flights, so I wore a nursing cover over my head while I bottle fed at lift off and he miraculously fell asleep while feeding (Andrew did the same on another flight in this picture above). He hasn't slept in my arms like that since he was like three months old, it was heaven. I probably looked insane with the cover draped over my entire head to keep his environment dark and cozy.. but it is no joke when they say once you're a mama, ALL shame goes out the window and you do whatever you need to have a happy (and sleeping!) baby.
5) COMPACT TRAVEL STROLLER = GAME CHANGER
The number one advice I got before we left for our trip was to ditch our incredibly expensive and well-loved car seat and stroller for something easier to lug around. Both items go through hell and back in the hands of any airline. I've heard horror stories of either a car seat being returned in shambles or an expensive stroller being stolen. I spent my prettiest pennies on our UppaBaby Vista, so I knew this wasn't an option.
Not to mention, our every day stroller is pretty heavy and I wasn't a fan of folding, unfolding and hauling it throughout our trip. I browsed UppaBaby's site and was ecstatic to see their less expensive and smaller strollers specifically for traveling. We chose the MINU for it being their lightest and easiest stroller to maneuver in busy crowds (Disney friendly!!), could recline so Wilde could still nap comfortably while we are on the go and literally have the ability to fold with one hand. This is, hands down, the best decision we made for our trip. Highly recommend to spend a little more for an extra stroller and car seat, especially if you travel often!
And last but absolutely not least, BREATHE! Babies are so resilient. I was so anxious and worried that Wilde would be absolutely miserable our entire trip from such a huge time change or overstimulation that he would never get back into our home routine. But to my dismay, he napped in his stroller and car seat even when I thought there was no way he would and he was my happy chunk even when I thought he would be crying from exhaustion. So, breathe! You will absolutely get back on your regular schedule as long as you are diligent and listen to baby's cues. Enjoy your trip and don't be afraid to ask for help! I am so grateful for my husband, it is such a huge difference to have two extra hands. Y'all got this!