Traveling With A Baby

Monday, May 10, 2021

Traveling with a baby for the first time? Us too! And let me tell you...traveling with a baby is quite the TRIP. I recently heard someone say, "Traveling with a baby is a TRIP, traveling with just your husband is a VACATION" and it couldn't be more true! We traveled to Salt Lake City, UT to visit my grandparents and extended family so it was a quick flight, but wow also very exhausting. For being so little, Merloe needed so many things. I'm sure some of the items we brought weren't a necessity, but I think they also made our trip more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, we will definitely travel with her again but we might have to extend it longer than 4 days. 

I figured I would write about our experience for other families looking to travel and give you more insight on how it was to travel with a baby during a pandemic. I feel like everything is slowly reopening and getting back to normal, which is good but also made for busy travel days. Since all events were cancelled last year, we actually had flight credit through Southwest so we decided it would be a good time to test flying with Merloe on a quick flight before attempting a longer flight like Hawaii. At the end I'll also link our travel favorites so you can stock up before your next trip.



Like I mentioned above, we had credit to fly through Southwest. We love flying Southwest, especially with the free checked bags. I figured we would need to utilize that more with Merloe's bags so it's definitely a perk to consider when booking. We also considered flying around her nap schedule but since she's still so young it changes day to day. We booked a direct flight during the day, we felt like it would be easier to do one flight and we thought during the day other travelers might be more forgiving with a crying baby compared to a red eye. For this trip, my mom actually drove down the day before us so we had her take some of our luggage to lighten the load. When booking tickets, infants under 2 fly free -- as long as they're sitting on your lap. We figured since it would be a quick flight we didn't mind. We looked into buying her a seat, since it is more safe for them to be buckled into their car seat but it cost just as much as our ticket and we weren't willing to make the splurge. (Side note: After flying with her, I would purchase a seat for a longer flight, but if there are empty seats on the flight they will let you use one for free!) When you book your child's ticket they ask for her information, it also mentions calling but when we did they didn't really do anything for us just gave us pricing if we wanted to purchase her seat. When you arrive to the airport you will need to go to the Ticket Counter with a copy of their birth certificate to show the agent. (We brought a real certificate and a copy, but they only needed to see the copy. You still get to keep it.) 

We showed up to the airport 2 hours before our flight. And good thing, because the airport was so busy. It took almost 30 minutes just to talk to someone at the Ticket Counter. So give yourself that extra time. We checked her pack n play, which counted as one of our two free bags. We didn't buy anything special to protect it and they mentioned they're not liable for any damages. (Note: there was no damage and it was waiting on the side of the luggage carousel when we arrived.) We decided to push her stroller and car seat through the airport and check it at the gate.

At Security they had us unload the stroller, put all bags and electronics through the conveyor belt. They also asked me to remove Merloe from the stroller and carry her through. She was asleep, so that was a bummer having to wake her up. We also used a baby carrier through the airport, which she loved! They scanned her stroller on the side. We only feed her formula now but they didn't check any of it. We brought 3 containers (6 oz. each) worth of formula powder and 3 empty bottles. You do have to get water for the bottles once you're through Security. I've heard if you have breastmilk they will test it, but you can definitely bring it through. 



Once you arrive to the gate, be sure to check in with the agent at the gate window. They will give you a special tag for your checked stroller and car seat. We purchased the travel bags for our UPPAbaby Vista Stroller and UPPAbaby Mesa Car Seat because they cover any damages made by the airline. The bags weren't too expensive and gave me peace of mind knowing they would be safe after we picked them up. While we waited for the plane to arrive, Seth packed up the stroller and car seat in the travel bags so they were ready to quickly drop at the door as we got onto the plane. If you leave them at the gate, they don't count toward your checked bags. Some of the passengers did not cover their strollers and they seemed to come out ok, but I wasn't willing to risk it. There are other travel bags if you're looking for something a bit cheaper.

Before we left, we asked our pediatrician about flying. His advice was to give her a pacifier or bottle during take off and landing. This will help with their ears popping. Our flight leaving Las Vegas was actually delayed and it was during her nap, so she fell asleep as we were boarding the flight. When flying Southwest if you have children you're allowed to board a little early. If you're familiar with their boarding process, A Group goes first, then families, then B Group and so on. We tried to check in early  to get A Group, but it was completely full so we were thankful to at least get on somewhat earlier. Once we got seated, I kept our diaper bag under my chair for easy access. Seth had some of Merloe's items in his backpack too. The only thing I wish we would've packed more of was her bottles. Because the flight was delayed we used her last bottle during take off. I would've liked to have an extra for back up, but we ended up not needing another one. We did purchase and bring this Bottle Brush Travel Kit, but I had packed it so we didn't have it in the airport.

She was sound asleep as we sat down, but then the pilot came on to make an announcement and she woke right up! We used Babyganics Hand Sanitizer Wipes to wipe down anything she might touch: window panel, arm rests, seat belt, tray table, seat back in front of me. We clipped her pacifier to her shirt and any toys we brought out we tried to clip them to her too. I found this Busy Baby Mat with detachable tethers, you can also use this on their high chair. Around the last 15-20 minutes Merloe finally fell asleep -- surprising? We made sure she had a pacifier as we landed and she slept through the entire thing. Getting on and off the plane is a little tricky with a baby, diaper bag and wearing a mask but definitely doable! I wish we could've given her the little Southwest Airlines wing clips, but the agent said they didn't really do them anymore. I did keep her ticket as a keepsake! 


I hope our experience was helpful for you and eased any anxiousness you might have. I was definitely anxious, but some advice I've heard: the flight is only temporary, you can't control your baby no matter how many tricks you try and the best tip of all -- you'll probably never see anyone on that flight again! So if there are other passengers getting upset, just brush it off and know your doing the best for your baby in that moment!

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