Disclaimer: this is a VERY kid-centric newsletter and you will 10000% be bored if you don’t have kids. Consider yourself warned!! Delete this now! (The next newsletter will be less kid-boring, I promise)
K, here goes:
I’m writing this after being in the UK for the last two weeks… We had literally the most comically terrible journey to/from the UK—our flight was delayed by over 2 hours, the company I used to ship my luggage over ahead of time (to, in theory, save us the trouble of schlepping two big suitcases of kid stuff to London) LOST OUR BAGS FOR FIVE DAYS, we locked ourselves out of our Airbnb, United “lost” Tao’s return ticket, the list goes on.
But all that aside, we were pretty lucky because Ren and Tao behaved admirably on both flights… Tao took it upon himself to gummily smile at every single person who walked by him on the plane and Ren, well, Ren got some precious iPad time and was quiet for most of the journey.
Anyway, here are a few travel tips and must-haves… if you are traveling with your baby tomorrow, may the odds be ever in your favor ☺
Tip #1: BE PREPARED FOR VOMIT/TO BE COVERED IN VARIOUS FLUIDS
Pack an extra set of clothes for the kids and yourself in giant Ziploc bags and put extra Ziploc bags (or supermarket bags, etc) within the Ziploc bag to contain vomit-splattered items. Or, once you board the flight, ask the flight attendant for extra airsickness bags.
Tip #2: OVERPACK, OVERPACK, OVERPACK
Bring triple the amount of everything you usually have in your stroller: something about being up in the air means that they drink/go to the bathroom/everything more. I would especially recommend packing extra socks and having the kids wear slip on shoes.
If you’re formula-feeding (I finished BF’ing a few weeks ago and am simultaneously sad about it and also feeling very liberated…), have at least two empty bottles that filled with one feed’s worth of formula and then keep extra formula in this Munchkin container which has three compartments that hold 8 ounces worth of formula at once. This means you’ll have five feeds worth for your flight, which for our transatlantic flight was enough.
I also usually feed Tao homemade food but for flights we just use pouches, usually from Ella’s Kitchen.
For Ren, I always pack her most “special” snacks that she usually doesn’t get (cookies, etc) to keep her busy and happy. I also pre-download her favorite programs like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (her new favorite on Amazon), Peppa Pig, etc. I know a lot of moms who are all, like, “Oh, my precious child Apple-Seraphina doesn’t ever get screen time” and to that I say “DO WHAT IT TAKES TO SURVIVE, give the girl the ipad”.
Tip #3: PUMPING ON FLIGHT: JUST DO IT/HAVE NO SHAME
If you need to pump on the flight… I LOVED my Spectra S1 pump because it runs on a battery (and it can go days between charges). Check the rules for carry-on breast milk in different countries. They’re especially stringent in Europe and only allow you to carry-on a certain amount if your kid isn’t with you. Dress strategically in something baggy or button-down and bring something that will prevent you from flashing the entire plane. I can’t tell you the number of times, btw, that ignorant people were like “what is that, is it a pacemaker? Is it a defibrillator?” Uh, NO, it’s a breast pump!
(Sidenote: those of you guys who asked about how I did it in Europe when I was gone for a week… basically every night I would have the hotel concierge put my stash in the freezer (that poor concierge guy was always like, “what is this?” and I’d have to be like “it’s milk from the breast for my child” in rudimentary sign language/French/Italian. Poor guy). At the end of the trip, I packed all the milk with tons of ice packs in an insulated bag and then checked it in. By the time I landed, it usually just began to melt, if at all. I would use that milk first and freeze any newer milk).
Tip #4: TAKE ANY AND ALL HELP YOU CAN GET
Upon boarding the flight, scope out your neighbors. Look for kindly looking, grandmotherly types who coo or smile at your baby. Immediately befriend them because they might be the extra set of hands you need. On the flight back from England, one woman delightedly held Tao for eleven minutes which were the most blissful eleven minutes of my life.
Tip #5: SNEAK YOUR STROLLER ONBOARD
The best stroller for flights is the Babyzen because you can fold it up and put it in a tiny case that fits overhead, so you don’t have to wait ages upon disembarking (which we did—for 36 minutes on the way back from the UK. Seriously, guys, never traveling when mercury is in retrograde again!). Always fold it up and store it in the case before boarding, so they don’t notice.
Stuff everyone knows:
-have the baby nurse or suck on a pacifier or drink from a bottle on takeoff and landing to help unblock their ears
-wipe down everything (arm rests, screens, tray tables, seat belts) when you get on the plane. We usually use Herban Essentials because I love the way it smells—makes me think of a lavender-y spa which a United Airlines plane definitely is not
-immediately change your kids once home so they don’t track airplane germs on your couch, in your home, etc
-all adults should wear very comfortable shoes because you’re going to be walking up and down the aisle a trillion times (if you have a baby under the age of 18 months).
OK, I am sure I’m missing 102910 things but honestly the sleep deprivation from jet lag is very real. For those of you who read this newsletter despite not having kids, thank you, I promise the next newsletter will be kid-free (or lighter on the kid stuff).
PS: I don’t mean to scare parents who have to travel!! Ren flew about 20 times in her first year—traveling with one kid is actually pretty easy (and traveling with a kid under the age of 6 months is a BREEZE, DO IT OFTEN. Once they start crawling is when it starts getting much harder). Traveling with more than one is what makes is trickier!
PPS: the past newsletters are here…
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks
Random Stuff I Like: including my favorite bamboo papertowels, so random lol