Before our trip to Chicago last week, I was quite nervous about our first time travelling with a little one. Most of the parents that I had spoken to, calmed my fears and worries by telling me that it’s easier when they are so young.
I wondered about what I needed to pack, whether he would do ok with the cabin pressure, or if he would nurse ok in public.
Despite the anxiety, I definitely enjoyed the trip as there were many firsts for Sagan. His first time through the security line, first time in the boarding room of an airport, first time down the walkway to the airplane, first time breathing airplane smells, first ascent and descent, first time out of Seattle and first time getting his diaper changed at 30,000 feet in the air. So many other firsts for us as parents too.
Here is what I did that seemed to work for me:
1) We did not pack the car seat. We carried him in our baby carrier and took shuttles from place to place. I think that packing the car seat would be a good idea if you were renting a car at your destination but for us, it worked out that we didn’t need it. We did pack the stroller. We didn’t check it at the gate but chose to check it with our bags. Again, he was in the baby carrier with us, the rest of the time. He did wonderfully. I think I would have packed a smaller stroller instead of the big one that works with his car seat. Maybe when he is older, I would be more comfortable with him in an umbrella/lightweight stroller.
One regret I had was not buying one of those plastic covers for the stroller to shield from wind and rain. We braved some crazy Chicago winds one morning to get to Bongo Room for pancakes. I felt like a dreadful mum when a bunch of folks waiting for the bus yelled out that the baby was getting rained on. We only had a blanket and another sarong cover for the stroller. You could definitely tell that we were not from around there and were first time parents. That was when M decided to wrap S in his windbreaker and walk instead. Thereafter, I had many other passerby’s look at my empty stroller, wondering what I did with my baby! That was fun, not! But guess what? Now I have that plastic shield and it is set up and ready for walks in our liquid sunshine.
2) I did not pack my breast pump. I nursed S exclusively for the entire time I was there. When I am home, I usually have to pump once or twice a day to build my stash for when I return to work and to cope with my oversupply. The first 3 days were challenging because S did not nurse as much. He was probably distracted by all the sights and the changes. But I got used to it, so much so that when I first returned home, I still continued to nurse him exclusively. I pump only once a day now so that M can give him a bottle in the middle of the night.
It did not save that much space but it was one less thing to pack and manage.
3) Plastic sweater bags. I use these to pack S’s clothes, his various other cloth needs (burp, bib, washcloth), my own clothes, my nursing items like pads, feeding bottle (in case I had to hand express and save some for a feed) and nipple cream.
If I was going on a shorter trip, I would pack diapers and wipes into one of these bags but we were going for about a week and so one pack of 80 diapers saw us through.
4) Sleeping. We had the option of having a crib in our room but I opted for S to sleep in his stroller and our bed. His stroller allows him to lay flat so we padded it with good soft blankets and he slept like a baby (pardon the pun). It was way more comfortable than our bed, in fact. We had a bed that sank in too far. Not fun. If I didn’t wake to nurse frequently, my back would have hurt.
I’m glad I got through this first trip and I look forward to many more with my boys! Maybe an escape to the mountains or maybe a trip up north for good food.