I’ve just arrived back from a solo trip to Paris with Baby P and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. Many suggestions came from those of you on Instagram. Whether it’s a short or a long flight there are a few things to make everyone’s lives easier. I don’t mean handing out ear plugs and treats to nearby passengers. I don’t believe in that. You don’t need to apologize for a baby’s cries. But hopefully with a few tips you can minimize any stress to you and baby.
Bring a baby carrier
I pack two. Because I’m crazy like that and don’t have just one favorite. The soft structured Tula Free To Grow is my go to for walking around and moving through the airport. I’m not often asked to take the baby out for security when using this one. I also bring a ring sling (and when Baby P was much smaller I brought my beloved Solly Baby wrap) for the flight. This is more comfortable for me to sit in, I can adjust his position for nursing and our comfort . I just pop the structured carrier into the overhead bin and switch to the sling mid flight when he’s ready to nap. The plane is basically a giant white noise machine and will hopefully lull baby to sleep. Mine won’t sleep with lights on and the flight attendants moving about as he’s too curious but once that’s over he’s out like a light.
Bring extra diapers and wipes. Because you just never know and being short on these isn’t a fun way to travel. I also put Baby P in overnight diapers for this long flight to avoid having to change too often. On our way to Paris I changed him in the airport bathroom which has a more spacious change area into the overnight diaper and left it until we arrived to France. Unfortunately that didn’t work coming back as he decided take off was a great time for the biggest poo of his life. Those tiny airplane bathrooms don’t always have a change table and are so cramped. I also pack disposable changing covers. Because gross. I bought chux pads in bulk from Amazon. I didn’t try this but several parents suggested doubling up on diapers if you fear a blowout.
Changes of clothes
Bring at least one change of clothing for both you and baby. Accidents happen. Make your outfit change simple. I usually travel in leggings or sweatpants (cashmere Leimere joggers are my current go to), a nursing tank and a nursing accessible top (the Gemma sweatshirt from Teat and Cosset is a no brainer. I was able to nurse discreetly on the flight, even when we both fell asleep. Out and about in Paris it was easy to nurse without a fuss. If you aren’t nursing, dress in easy layers since planes are often cold but sometimes can feel like a sauna. And don’t forget the pockets for easy access to your boarding pass, lip balm, phone and a toy or two. For baby, I prefer to put him in footed pajamas and call it a day. It makes changes easier and if something gets soiled there is only one item to change. I keep an extra in my diaper bag and a third easily accessible in carry on luggage. I pack a swaddle in the diaper bag too for an extra layer if cold or to use to cover us up if cabin lights aren’t being turned off and I need to get the baby to rest. A tip one parent suggested was to make a tent with the swaddle over our seat area.
Toys and snacks
I wrapped a few of his favorite toys in left over wrapping paper then stuck them in Ziploc bags. The unusual shapes, crinkly paper and plastic were layers of entertainment possibilities. I also brought a few teethers, multiple pacifiers, baby cereal puffs, teething crackers, his straw cup, and snacks for myself like fruit and nut bars. Also Babyganics hand sanitizing wipes to wipe everything down once it fell as well as our seat area as soon as we got on the plane. Oddly, my hand sanitizer bottle is one of his favorite “toys” so that’s in the easy to access pocket of my diaper back pack for hand sanitizing purposes but also as a back up toy.
Many people suggested getting the bulkhead seat with the bassinet. We didn’t get this as it was unavailable on the way to France but decided he was either going to be too big or just wasn’t going to use it on the way back. Baby P never slept in a bassinet so I decided not to bother. But if your baby does sleep in one absolutely request it. You’ll get more leg room and less likely to have seat mates. I was told that it’s first come first serve at the counter so queue early when you arrive to the airport. Since I was solo on this particular flight I preferred an aisle seat. Many suggested to take a window and and aisle if traveling with a partner to increase the likelihood of getting a row to yourself. Up to you if you want to try that as most middle seaters would happily trade seats for one of the others. I’ve found airport staff and flight attendants to be quite friendly and helpful (outside of NYC) and if you just ask for a better seat they may accommodate you. I also learned through pregnancy and these early months of parenting that I just need to ask for and accept help. I never would before but it’s necessary now.
Let them go while traveling. Watch baby’s cues and try your best to meet his needs. We don’t do strict schedules at home (not against them, just doesn’t work for our lives) but rather a routine. It’s hard to keep a schedule when you’re dealing with so many unknowns, new noises and things like flight delays. Just do your best and try not to stress. Jet lag in France was a bit crazy for us both and I was lulled into a false sense of confidence when Baby P seemed to adjust seamlessly on the first day. Day 2 he went to bed around 8pm only to wake at 10pm until 2am!! So we rolled with it. He joined me for dinner or dessert rather than fighting his desire to not sleep when it seemed like a reasonable hour for a baby to be in bed.
Don’t Forget Your Needs
All of this packing for baby may lead you to forget yourself. Don’t forget the items to help you survive the flight. I’ve been into audiobooks since Baby P hit the scene so I downloaded a few and brought my AirPods. (Which I probably lost on the flight to Paris and missed having on the return). You may even be able to sneak in a Netflix episode or two if bub is sound asleep. Bring snacks and water for yourself as well as any comforts you like (a neck pillow, cushy socks, ultra hydrating face mist).
At Your Destination
Once you’ve reached your destination you’ll want your creature comforts that make life easier. I packed a white noise machine that also had a night light built in as well as a small outlet extension with USB ports. This way I was able to connect everything without cables strewn all over. Because another favorite thing to play with are cables. And outlets. I brought outlet covers in the extension just for safety. (Which of course didn’t fit in France but are great for US destinations).
Travel high chair
A big shout out to Libi Molnar for this one. This folding travel high chair was fantastic. Compact and easy to use. I ended up never taking it out to a restaurant as we mostly ate at home but it could have easily fit under the travel stroller (we use the Baby Zen Yoyo). It can also be used on the floor or if you’re going to the park or somewhere outdoors for seating there as well. I almost used it to have a shower but luckily had hands available to watch baby. I can see this chair growing with us for a while.
I hope these tips help you in your adventures with baby! Enjoy!!
I always love feedback and additional advice. Feel free to message/ comment and share!