“Travel is the best teacher. The only way to an open mind is by taking a plane out into the open world.” – C. JoyBell
I can’t believe we actually did it! We traveled halfway around the world with a three month old baby in tow! Sounds scary right? Yes it was anxiously nerve wracking and delightfully exciting at the same time! 🙂
My husband and I love travelling together. And it’s our dream to travel as a family with our children too. We know that it sounded crazy at first, but we decided that it was a good idea because we knew that by the time our daughter knew how to throw tantrums (maybe about 10 months old) until she’s behaved again (maybe about 3-4 years old) , it will be impossible for us to go out of the country for a while. So we took the opportunity and braced ourselves for a fun adventure.
So here’s the deal. It was a 14 hour flight from Manila to Los Angeles via Philippine Airlines. The flight was at 8:00PM making me a bit confident that by the time we were boarding the plane or taking off, my baby will be asleep. Then I would just pray that she would extend her sleeping hours in the plane. True enough and lucky us, by the time we were about to take off, I breastfed her, and she just slept. She slept for an extended number of hours too! No crying, no potty problems, it was a great experience for us parents. Oh what a relief! I was so happy and proud of my baby. The people in the plane said “We were surprised that there was a baby in the flight! We didn’t hear anything she was so behaved.” That’s my girl! 🙂
By the time we arrived in LA, my husband’s grandfather picked us up and baby was still happy. A bit tired but happy! We placed her in her car seat (it’s illegal in the States to travel without a car seat) and boy, that was a different story! She hated it. Anyway, she loved the cold weather in spring and our family absolutely enjoyed the month long adventure with our little explorer! 🙂
Will share a few photos of our trip to Universal Studios, Disneyland in Anaheim, California Adventure, the Outlet Stores for shopping, beach in San Diego, and many more!
In the meantime, here are some important tips I can share with you when traveling with your baby.
FOUR IMPORTANT TIPS WHEN TRAVELING WITH BABY:
1) Don’t even bother making a checklist. You will need EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING.
- I wanted to be the usual OC mom that I am and make a checklist of all the things we need to bring, like I usually do when I travel. But after trying to make one, I realised, I didn’t need it! Because apparently we need to bring EVERYTHING. Yes, I am not exaggerating. I have never been a light packer so it was difficult as ever. Plus, it wasn’t just an overnighter in a nearby town, it was a month long trip in a faraway country.
- You need to bring ALL of her clothes because you don’t know yet if the laundry system will be viable for you (at least for the first week). And babies need A LOT of clothes. They need extra for when they poop or vomit. They need extra in case they get cold. Speaking of which, you need to bring clothes for both warm and cold weather because weather nowadays is unpredictable. Plus, the climate in Manila and the US are very different from each other. You don’t want your baby feeling too cold or too warm. So yeah, I technically brought her entrée closet with me. Good thing they were tiny pieces of clothing and they fit in her suitcase. 🙂
- You need TOILETRIES and BATH ACCESSORIES. I think that each baby has a unique set of preferred toiletries and bathing accessories so it’s important that you bring your own. I know that there are so many readily available in stores but you just don’t want to risk it right? In our case, we brought all her toiletries and bought searched the Amazon site for an appropriate travel friendly bath tub and just bought it in the States as soon as we arrived.
- You need FEEDING and SLEEPING NECESSITIES. Since I am still exclusively breastfeeding my baby, I did not bring a lot of feeding paraphernalia during the trip. I just brought a medium sized airtight container with my breast pump, a few feeding bottles, and milk storage bottles. I just bought the brushes and baby friendly organic dishwashing liquid in the States. This may not be the case for formula feeding moms. For the sleeping necessities, we were lucky enough to have very gracious hosts who bought a crib at Target for our baby and prepared it as soon as we arrived. But we still brought her folding travel bassinet which was given to her as a gift, her pillows, sheets, and blankets.
- You need her MEDICINE and other special items especially for the skin. Because of the sudden change in weather in environment, there might be a chance that your baby will feel a little odd so make sure you bring Paracetamol and Antihistamine. Her skin may also change so make sure to bring your trusted brand of skin products for her. If it’s locally manufactured, you’re not sure if it’s available in the US.
- Now here’s the tricky part. You need her CAR SEAT and/or STROLLER and/or CARRIER! Like I said, this was a month long trip and traveling to a foreign land means you need to go sight seeing and doing touristy things, so you really need all of these. As mentioned earlier, the car seat is required by law in the US unlike here in the Philippines. So here’s what we did. We brought her extra car seat (given as a gift) and packed it in a box and asked the Airline to label it as fragile. As soon as we arrived in LA, we installed it in Lolo Bob’s car. We chose to bring the car seat because it was needed immediately. For the stroller, this one’s really really bulky so we chose to just buy in Target a few days after we arrived. We bought the Snap N Go stroller frame that would fit any car seat and function as a stroller. It worked liked magic! 🙂 For the carrier, I chose the cloth carrier for more portability.
- Just a reminder : Aside from packing everything in her suitcase, make sure to have a separate hand carry bag with some of her basic necessities. You never know what can go wrong with the flight and luggage can be sometimes delayed so make sure you have enough for baby in case this happens. (BY THE WAY WE HAD THAT PROBLEM WHEN WE GOT HOME FROM MANILA. WILL SHARE THIS IN A DIFFERENT POST.)
- Label all your belongings and make sure to keep an eye on your bags at all times. Carrying a baby around can make you really vulnerable to theft and loss.
2) Call the airline. Choose Bulkhead seats. Make sure everything is set for the baby.
- Not all airlines will be baby friendly. Especially not airlines of a third world country like ours. So you have to make sure to call in advance to make the necessary pre-flight arrangements.
- If your baby is already eating solids, there are airlines who will ask you what kind of food you want for your baby. Take advantage of this opportunity.
- Get the bulk head seats. These have more leg room and these will have screw attachments for the Baby Bassinet.
- Order a Baby Bassinet and make sure to instruct them several times. According to PAL, bassinets are limited and they have to be reserved. They’re not the most comfortable ones but at least your baby has a place to sleep in.
- If you have access to airport lounges, the better! If not, maybe you can make arrangements with the airline. They are more accommodating when you have an infant.
- Tip: Avail of the online/web check in to make your check in process faster. You don’t want to wait in long queues with the baby.
3) Get enough rest before you travel. Assign some tasks to your husband.
- Since I have a nanny back here in Manila, I knew that travelling without our nanny will be very very tiring for me. It will all be you this time. So make sure to get some rest before your trip. You are going to need all the energy. Take some multivitamins too to boost your immune system.
- I was lucky enough to have a hands on husband who really helped me the entire trip. He was such a great dad! If your partner is not that hands on, maybe you should talk to him before the trip and tell him that you will really need his help. He doesn’t have to be a nappy-changing expert, he can simply watch the baby while you do the chores. Communication is key! After all, you all want to have fun in this trip. 🙂
4) Enjoy your trip and take A LOT of photos!
- In essence, this trip is all about having fun with the family so don’t let the little things bother you. I know having a baby can turn us into monster moms sometimes because we are so paranoid about many things. But learn to be more flexible. If you want this trip to be worth it, then you should enjoy and make the most out of it.
- Your child probably won’t remember any of this so make sure to take a lot of photos! I’m sure we will cherish them when the time comes. 🙂
Wanting to be a jet-setter momma,