Prior to our trip to visit Dan’s family in California last week, I looked online for tips to travel with a baby. There were a lot of sites out there that gave plenty of advice. I didn’t find any that told you what NOT to do. Consider this my attempt to fill that void.
1. Don’t board with a tired baby
We didn’t have a lot of control over this one, but Lizzy’s nap was long overdue, and it was time to board the plane. She doesn’t sleep in our arms, so we had a challenge getting her to nap, especially since we were sitting on the tarmac for an extra 30 minutes. Our neighbors were treated to 45 minutes of screaming (though Dan and I kept our outbursts relatively quiet).
2. Don’t pump milk on the plane
I’m still pumping milk and feeding it to Lizzy via bottle. I’d planned on pumping in the waiting area before getting on the plane, but we didn’t anticipate the time it would take to get there. So we pretty much got right on the plane after we got through security. Nothing says “potential terrorist threat” like a woman operating a chugging motor under a blanket, while messing with tubes and bottles underneath her shirt. We were sitting in the last row, so I provided entertainment for everyone waiting in line for the bathrooms.
3. Don’t bring pumped milk or baby food through security
TSA says you can do it. They seem downright friendly by not putting exact limits on these items. Because you need to carry the baby through the x-ray, then manage to put your shoes back on while holding her, and gather the rest of your items, you’re limping along after the TSA agent who has kidnapped your milk and baby food. The agent hand examines the items, then places them in a fancy looking box that analyzes them each, individually. Inevitably, the supervisor needs to come out to assist with the fancy box, which has identified one bottle and one jar of baby food as potentially explosive. I know the baby spinach can be explosive when it goes out of either end of Lizzy, but I wouldn’t call it a national security threat.
After the food and milk failed the test, I had to open each bottle individually and allow them to wave a magic wand over each item (it looked like some sort of litmus paper). The magic paper informed them that my baby’s food wouldn’t bring down an airplane. Glad they sorted that out.
4. Don’t separate all your possessions among several bags carried by you and your spouse
There’s nothing like rummaging around through one of four carry-on bags (2 personal items and 2 larger bags each) to find a toy to sooth a cranky baby. We spent most of the trip digging through our bags to locate the liquid and solid items that got re-distributed after security. I needed to find Lizzy’s food, Dan needed to find his food, I needed medicine for my growing headache, Lizzy wanted more toys, or I needed to find Lizzy a completely new outfit after she pooped through the one she was wearing.
5. Don’t assume you’ll leave the plane wearing the same clothing you boarded in
I can count on one hand the times Lizzy has soiled not only her clothing but mine as well. Two of those times happened on the plane (the way there and the way back). Of course, both times I neglected to pack additional clothes for myself. I hoped people would ignore the stench and assume the large wet spots on my lap were from turbulence induced water spillage.
Air travel with baby is for the birds!