"Can I just say how refreshing it is that you don't have a giant stroller?" says my favorite barista Alicia. See, I have this little umbrella stroller that I bought at the Walmart for fifteen bucks. Mainly because it was neon green and had an eye on it. Not to say, that I don't greatly covet the fabulous Bugaboo Strollers. (Go big or go home right?!) I've even tried to convince my husband that we should purchase one.
For as much as I am "hoarder" I am also a big minimalist when it comes to baby stuff. Especially when travelling with my baby girl. I'd like to tell you about my latest travels with the lovely Aiko. Which, in all reality went so WELL! After my slight fall apart on the last flight (here) I was determined to make the next four a happy memory. I contribute it to these lovely guardian angels.
My Nameless Guardian Angel, who was also traveling with her father. She held Aiko the ENTIRE flight from Denver to Iowa. She played with Aiko and got her to sleep. I never even asked her name.
Lynn, who fed, held and watched Aiko, while I tried to figure out what we were going to do, since they just canceled our flight out of Cedar Rapids.
Leslee, who was there to let us go ahead of her in line even thought we all had been waiting an hour anyway. She helped carry bags, and kept a positive attitude when the airline decided to put everyone in a hotel. She walked with me through the shady streets to find some baby food. It was so nice to eat dinner with someone who felt like home.
Last, but not least, my little sister Hannah. She really does a lot for us and luckily, she came to Iowa with us! Aiko just loves her Auntie. I often wonder when Hannah will just throw in the towel and say "No, I don't want to change that adorable baby's diaper anymore!"
All these ladies made traveling so much easier and pleasant in fact.
So what have I learned on these last four flights?
1. Keep a positive attitude, no matter what. Babies can feel your stress. So, my flight back got canceled. I had just turned in my rental car, driven 2.5 hours to get to the airport, packed just enough food for my baby for the flight home and I just decided to check in my bag with all my extra stuff. Now, they were trying to get everyone onto different flights. My wouldn't leave until the next day. It was kind of overwhelming. Lucky for me, my lovely angels above were watching out for us.
2. Don't be afraid to let people help. I'm not usually one to just let complete strangers hold my baby, watch my bags (at the airport nonetheless) and then feed my baby, but for some reason I did. Those lovely ladies touched my life and I hope to pay it forward someday. It also kept Aiko happy.
3. Keep your baby's belly full! Always pack extras. This makes it a little harder for me as I make all her food from scratch. I've found that if you just put all the food in bottles ahead of time and then add a little water it's SO much easier. She doesn't need to be spoon fed all the time. Also, the airports let you take as much food as you want...at least I got 4 bottles full of food plus my extra in containers. They'll just check it all one by one. I also recently decided that it is worth it to buy these...even though they are ridiculously expensive they are ever so practical while traveling.
(See how the nipple is orange? Peaches, Sweet potatoes...all have been through that puppy)
4. Be sure to get there somewhat early. Sometimes, you have to make 20 bathroom runs. Baby pooped? Oh, now you need to pee? Or they will have to check each bottle of baby food you brought. Or you will have to wait 10 minutes while they let everyone behind you go before they check your baby food one by one.
5. Pack it light. I am a pilot's daughter. Not only do we have strict military like table manners we also learned to pack like a commercial pilot. You don't put your elbows on the table and you must always chew with your mouth closed. You MUST roll your clothes in tight rolls and stuff your underwear in your shoes. (Or in my case, my bras, you can't put much in size 5 shoes.) For the week I was gone I had my cow bag (which is a duffel bag with wheels), diaper bag and Aiko's car seat. I'm not as organized as my dad, nor can I pack it in like him.
Here's what I packed in my cow bag.
5 outfits for myself and baby (we visit laundromats)
1 pair of shoes (I try to take shoes that don't need socks)
extra baby food making items (I make her formula out of chia seeds, millet and dates so they are dry ingredients)
1 extra swaddling cloth
bathroom items (we have a bag that's filled with all the necessary items in the appropriate TSA approved sizes)
an obscene amount of tampons (she always visits when I travel)
(wearing the Moby)
We were gone for 7 days (8 if you count the extra surprise hotel stay) and you may be wearing the same outfit twice...but who cares. Your baby isn't going to care either. We seem to have a ton of pictures of Aiko wearing this same giraffe print. Although she seems to care that we are matchy-matchy.
6. Traveling isn't a fashion show. Yeah, so I don't always look the cutest when actually traveling (like in the air), that's because, I am traveling with a baby, by myself.
(I'm wearing the cover-up that basically looks like a shawl and is Aiko's blanket)
So I wear practical shoes, that are easy to take on and off. Simple shirts that I can nurse in, and pants that I know are comfy. Plus, I carry Aiko in the Moby everywhere. You'd think people had never seen a baby before. I got so many comments...probably because Aiko's little round face just sits out bouncing along. Like here. I need to keep my hands free and I don't have hips big enough for her to sit on.
7. Make a list of items you need to take. I usually make mine a couple days before I leave and start packing. Why? Well, because I like to pack early and then if I forget something I at least have a couple days to think about it and whether or not I really need it. I'm not really an organized person, truly, that's why I have to start early. You better believe everything in my list was just thrown in.
(via Etsy here)
Here's a list of things I took in the diaper bag:
Moby Wrap (well I wore this all the time so we don't take a stroller)
Cover-up/Shawl, which also doubles as her blanket (I also wore this much of the time)
4 Bottles packed with Food.
Diapers, Wipes, Changing Pad
Extra Outfit for baby
Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oils
(calming and protective oil)
Book for me
2 Baby Toys
Now, I'm not pro at this whole baby thing, but I do feel somewhat confident now that I've flown with her. I'm sure when we have another baby everything I thought I knew will all be garbage anyway.
(Finally home and yes, still wearing that moby)