The time is upon us

I have a little bit of fear in my heart. I feel like karma is going to get me back for all of the times I complained about shrieking babies on airplanes within the next couple of months. We’re not going to Italy- postponing until Liv is older- but I’ll most likely be taking her on an airplane by myself in the near-ish future. Tom has to travel for work, and we’re thinking of making a long weekend out of his trip since he’ll have an easy schedule and time to hang out (+we have friends where he’ll be going). This means Liv and I would meet him at his destination, and I’d be taking her on her first plane ride solo.


If the 3 of us were traveling together, I wouldn’t think twice about it. However, by myself I’m a traveling disaster -you’ve seen my haphazard last-minute packing and airport dilemmas- and to throw three times as many things to manage on my own scares me a little bit. The good news is that this is forcing me to plan and get more organized when it comes to traveling.

it’s a short flight and she’s used to sitting on my lap and playing while we’re in restaurants. I feel like I’ll be able to keep her happy and entertained for the flight if she doesn’t nap in my arms. ย I just want to help her with the ear popping, and am wondering how I’m going to juggle all of our stuff.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

-Send the pack n’ play with Tom (or use our friends’ if they don’t need it?)

-Fly business class so we have more room

-Pack the carseat base in my big suitcase, along with Livi’s things and ALL of my stuff – aka no more small rolling suitcase carryon bag. Diaper bag and that’s it.

-Check the carseat/stroller combo at the gate

-Wear Livi in the BabyHawk as we walk around the airport

-Carryon: 2 bottles (one for takeoff and a backup if she finishes the first one, to drink while descending to help her ears), toys (maybe a couple of new ones she hasn’t seen yet?), teether, diaper stuff, my computer (don’t want to check it), Kindle, change of clothes for Liv, large Ziploc baggie for potentially stinky diaper

The trip isn’t for a while, but it’s going to be here before we know it! Just trying to figure out the logistics before we book my ticket…

So what do you think? Any ideas to help with ear popping? Secret tips for packing lots of baby gear?

As always, I’m excited to hear your suggestions- I’m lucky to be able to ask you all for help <3




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  1. Crystal on June 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t have kids, but I honestly feel so bad for parents who travel with loud and cranky kids. I usually talk to the kids and make faces at the babies on a plane because it’s fun and it sometimes helps stop them from screaming. I guess I’m trying to work on my travel karma so that someday when I have kids I don’t get the stink eye from fellow travelers.

  2. Tori on June 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    There’s a company I heard of but haven’t yet used that ships all your baggage to your destination so your don’t even have to deal with hauling it to and from the airport. Since you have to pay for baggage anyway these days it make sense. Might be worth checking out!

  3. Lindsey on June 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I just did a blog post a few weeks ago with tips for traveling alone with a baby! Here is the link to it:

  4. aWickedRose on June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I would feel better wearing a backpack instead of a messenger style diaper bag because I would think it’d be easier if you’re evenly balanced during the whole trip. (I’m assuming you still wear Livi on your front.) Also I think it’s good to have both hands equally free (no strap to get caught up in on whatever side the bag is on.) Plus backpacks can be easier to stow.

    BabyHawks have the ability to loop things on some of the straps if I remember correctly. If so, the toys I’d bring would be ones I could hook on the carrier. Also I’d have them be new ones because it’d suck to lose a favorite toy that she’s attached to at the airport. If you want to take favorite toys I’d pack them in the suitcase. Do you think you’re going to be using the stroller in the airport at all? Because if not I’d send it ahead with Tom. One less clunky thing to carry through the airport. If your bucket seat works out the base I’d leave the base installed in your car and just bring the carseat. If you get a nice sized diaper bag you can fit plenty of stuff in it…all of Liv’s diaper baby stuff plus a good chunk of things you want to have.

  5. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on June 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I think you’ll be FINE! What you’re thinking sounds great so far. It might sound funny, but try walking around the house with everything, Livi, the huge bag and the carryon to get a feel for what works. I’ve been traveling a lot for work recently and I’ve seen moms getting help from all kinds of people when they see them with a baby. I also saw a family buy a seat for their little one and they hung out in their carseat for a lot of the trip, it worked will for them! I wonder which would be cheaper, two seats in regular or one in business?

  6. aWickedRose on June 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Oh oh oh I forgot! Shortest trip possible! No layovers!

  7. Daisy on June 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I would warn against buying a business class ticket- if Liv gets fussy, the business travelers are MUCH more likely to be annoyed/frustrated (many of them are trying to work) and less likely to lend you a hand if you found yourself juggling too many things. A seat back with the “regular” people means you are much more likely to sit near a sympathetic Mom or family who won’t be annoyed and/or might be able to lend you a spare pair of hands if need be.

  8. Jessica on June 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Put on your mental armor. People can be so mean (without even saying anything), and many stewardesses can be really nasty, too. Babies are much easier than toddler, probably she’ll just sleep in your arms. There will be people who coo and adore, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Katherine on June 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I just traveled with my nephew on his first flight, and it went really well! He is 7 months old- my sister in law fed him on take off and on landing and he didn’t fuss at all. She read that feeding during those times helps relieve any pressure that may build up in the baby’s due to the sucking action. Good luck!!

  10. Laurie on June 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    My advice: I wouldn’t waste money on business class. Fly at night when she usually sleeps….my son slept on my chest each time we flew (I was also be myself). Research airlines..some check car seat and stroller for free, plus a bag. Just borrow a pack and play..they really adjust to anything! And ignore anyone who complains. ..I just go ino a zen state and take my time when we travel. No need to stress! ๐Ÿ™‚ most people are really nice and moms don’t even hear/notice the kids who are crying!

  11. Erykah on June 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    We flew from Ca to Fl when baby was 4mo! He did GREAT! Overall wonderful experience. We checked the carseat and stroller and carried him in the ergo at airport. I brought the boppy for him to lay on and glad I did! More comfy for him to lay across on me and on way back we had an open seat and he laid in it THE WHOLE WAY HOME! I brought a bottle, have him on feeding schedule and nursed.
    We didn’t need a base with us cus you can use the seatbelt. Hmmm what else….we took a red eye on the way and late afternoon on way back/ on way there the person in the 3rd seat said he didn’t even know we had a baby cuz he slept the whole time..helpful by taking red eye!! Don’t be anxious it will be okay…I was worried and it turned out far better than I expected! Don’t care what people what if they cry!

  12. Erykah on June 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Oh yeah and my doctor said the ears popping was a myth…I don’t know but our baby was fine…had his pacifier in his mouth.

  13. mi-an d. on June 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    my brother is a pilot and whenever they travel with my niece, they have to sit economy. there’s an age limit in business/first class, i think 7 yo.

    • Sarah on June 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      We have flown first class several times with our now three year old. Nothing was ever said about her age. These were both domestic and international flights.

    • Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      I’ve flown first class as a little kid, as did my sister, so I know at least United doesn’t have an age limit.

  14. Shaina on June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    short flight and there’s an AF base here….are you coming to my neck of the woods?! Its always a good destination. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Jess on June 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I have flown LA to Sydney (Australia) and returned x 2 with my twins when they were 8 months old and then again 14 months old. It is a 14 hr flight!!! Definitely have a bottle or be prepared to nurse her for the take off and landing. A baby carrier through the airport was awesome (although you have to take it off for security). New toys or books is great. And have wipes, nappies, etc all easily accessible on the plane. Check in early and they will usually give you a better seat with more room. It is also really good if you can time the flight with her naps so she falls asleep through most of it. And make sure you go to the bathroom before you get on the plane cause it is hard to get up and down and do anything for yourself with a baby.

    You will be so totally fine! I’m super disorganized and I managed to make it work. If she screams don’t worry most people understand… And if they don’t there is nothing you can do so no worries! I actually found the worst part to be going through customs and immigration at LAX – no mothers room or places to sit and it took 3 hrs. Also the only airport where they wouldn’t bump you ahead with a screaming baby!

  16. Noelle on June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but I would put an overnight diaper on her. Also keep extra plastic bags in case you need to wrap up anything (wet/dirty/vomit items) and stuff it away. Remember that every person on that flight used to be a baby so they can try their best to deal with it!

  17. Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family on June 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I actually did a whole post on this after flying solo with my daughter when she was 4.5 months old! Here it is:

  18. SHANNON on June 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Wearing my baby during travel was such a lifesaver! Nursing while taking off or landing was a major help when it came to popping ears. It was extremely awkward being sandwiched between two harlem globetrotters….nursing…thankfully it was 1:30am and everyone was snoozing!! You will do fine and Livi will have fun on her new adventure!

  19. Sara on June 2, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Every time I’ve travelled with kids they give you the bulkhead seat – extra room at no extra cost, and a bassinet that attaches to the wall. Really, it’s difficult, but hundreds of thousands of people do it every day ๐Ÿ˜€ And most survive it, although I can’t confirm that with actual statistics or anything …

    • April on June 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      We actually requested the bulkhead seat on a couple occasions, but they weren’t able to accommodate us, so don’t get too disappointed if plans change. But I can attest to the fact that we survived ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Fitnessista on June 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm

        hahah ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Michaela on June 2, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I would not want to travel with that much luggage if I were you, just think about security controls!
    Also I donยดt think business class really is necessary, especially if it is just a short flight.
    Just try to remember to ask for help ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually the staff is friendly anyway, just donยดt be shy to ask! I am sure you will manage! I mean, what is the worst that can happen?
    (and it is recommended to nurse the baby to help with the ears during take off and landing)

  21. Lauren on June 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I just flew with my 10 month old and he did great. Try to skycap check all of your luggage so you don’t have to haul it around the airport. Have a bottle ready before the plane takes off. She will probably sleep the whole time. Good luck and don’t be nervous.

  22. Traci on June 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Why wouldn’t you just nurse her instead of using bottles? More to travel with and if you plan to fly business class it shouldn’t be awkward. Just curious.

    • Fitnessista on June 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      i need the bottles in case she doesn’t want to nurse (which happens often during the day). she got used to a bottle very quickly, which is why i’ve had to pump so much

  23. Becky on June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    We just flew for the 1st time and he was 5mos. Wear the baby and a backpack, very easy. Bring an extra change of clothes for yourself and her on the plane (spitup and poosplosions happen). My little guy fell asleep while taxiing and didn’t wake up til after we landed, he wasn’t sucking anything (as hard as I tried) and we didn’t have any ear issues. They will upgrade your seat (because you have a baby) at no charge if there is room. Everyone is nice and family lines are a breeze with the baby! We just used a hotel crib, but the gate check people said strollers, carseats and packnplays can all be checked. You are allowed 1 purse + 1 Carryon + 1 diaper bag, if you want to wrangle all that through the airport! Oh and do you need the carseat base? Can’t you just strap the seat into the car without it? That is how my mom does it in her car…just a few thoughts from our recent travels! On our way back my husband stated “Flying with a baby is easier than flying without!” Good luck!

  24. Shelly on June 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Oh yeah travelling with a baby is a little stressful, especially the very first one! I took my baby girl (she was 3 months old at the time) on a 3 hour plane ride so it wasn’t too bad. I nursed her during the ascent and descent. She handled the plane ride way better than I did. I learned to only pack one outfit per day, plus 2 back up for the entire trip. I pack two to three toys, diapers and wipes. Only one blanket (depending on season) and two receiving blankets. I quickly learned that I really don’t need three blankets, 3 outfits per day etc. I also “gate” the lightweight stroller (that we bought specifically for travelling) and car seat before we board. I bought a cross body big purse specifically for diapers, wipes, toys, extra onesie, water bottle and wallet for travelling. I find diaper bags are a pain because they always slide of my shoulder. (Do they make diaper bags that are cross body?) Anyways, that’s what works for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Shelly on June 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Oh yes and cooing/talking to your baby is a great way to entertain them. ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Tracey on June 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I would recommend a change of clothes for YOU in your carry-on If she has a blow out or vomits on you, you are going to be happy to have a spare shirt/pair of yoga pants handy.

    • Fitnessista on June 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      amen to that!

  26. April on June 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    My son was 3 months on his first ride and I went alone with him. He was totally fine! I was terrified because I used to be not so happy around kids, especially on cramped flights. ๐Ÿ™‚ I nursed whenever he started getting fidgety, and we were great. We also decided to sit toward the back, over the engine so the noise and the vibrations helped us out, I think. Plus, we were near the bathrooms (not so pleasant sometimes, but it leaves more wiggle room), so if I needed to I could just stand up with him for a while without bothering people. People suggested to me to get the bulkhead seat, since you tend to have a little more legroom in front of you. Be forewarned that they will do a pH test on your pumped milk, so it did take me a few minutes longer than normal getting through security, so all in all, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s a little tougher keeping him entertained now that he’s a toddler, and we get to try out another really long flight in a couple months.

  27. brittany on June 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    My cousin had to travel alone with her baby while her husband stayed at home before he could meet her. The best thing that you can do is put her in a sling. If she doesnt like the sling then wear the carrier that you usually have her in on the plane. She will be comfortable because, while she is in a strange place with new noises and a lot of people, she will have a firmiliar place with her mommy all snuggled in. It might even be a good way for her to fall asleep in your arms without too many distractions.

    • Fitnessista on June 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      that’s a great idea- she always sleeps well in the wrap or baby hawk

  28. Mallory Padron on June 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned it, but it’s recommended that you buy a seat on the plane and use the carseat during the flight. ( We flew with my daughter when she was 6 months, and it made it a breeze. She sleeps so well in her seat, and it was convenient to have her in her “bucket”. It’s a tad more expensive but I’m a little bit of a carseat nut so it was worth the money to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Fitnessista on June 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      good to know, thank you!

  29. jill on June 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Gina,

    We did not use a carseat on the plane, she sat in our lap and we’ve been flying with her ever since she was 3 months old, but what i would suggest is contacting the rental car company and having them provide a carseat with the rental – it is so worth the extra dollars/day.

    • Fitnessista on June 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      that’s an awesome tip! thank you

  30. Azka on June 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Gina!

    I know this is an older post but I thought I’d leave a comment anyway – I have been flying/driving with the baby since he was a month old, and a more recent adventure was flying to Pakistan from FL (over 22 hours of flying time plus three lay overs on the SHORTEST route = about 32 hours of non stop traveling) when he was 5 months old, and returning when he was six months. BY MYSELF. Since then, I’ve also taken a couple domestic trips and here’s what I feel works best:
    I wore baby on the big trip in the babybjorn with a bag pack for diaper bag and needed a small roller in addition for own things in case of poop/spit up + back up bottles without having to sterilize on the long trip. I took pre-mixed formula bottles but the secondary security took forever and I tossed the bottles for the trip back and it was fine. It was tricky to manage roller on and off planes/security conveyor belts/going to the bathroom. Wearing bag plus baby and rolling carry on and waiting in lines was tough. It was manageable, and I found the kindness of strangers to be unbelievable, but I wouldn’t do it again because I. Was. Tired.

    On a long domestic flight this weekend (three legs, two stops) I took the carseat + snap n go and gate checked the items. I didn’t want to check them with the luggage because I don’t want the carseat to get dinged up with the large bags and compromise safety for later. I asked for the carseat/snap n go to be returned to me at the gate for every layover for airport time. Only carried a diaper bag stowed in the snap n go – with two baby outfits, a shirt for myself, and diaper essentials. I ditched pre-made bottles and took single serving powder packets of formula plus two bottles and a small thermos for water that I got at airport coffee shop. I could go to the bathroom easily, did not break my back, and was very mobile during layovers. Plus I didn’t have to juggle three items while wearing a baby. And baby was happy.

    I had one kind of quiet crinkly toy for during the flight, but the changing scenery/people watching kept him entertained. Pacifier worked great for ears, the one time he began to get fussy I gave him some water – most times he doesn’t even notice. Flying during nap time/over night is the best! We always get compliments for how quiet/friendly he is when in reality he is just sleeping/hanging out. It just takes preparation ๐Ÿ™‚

    That’s my (rather long) two cents but I feel like over the past seven months I have really streamlined travel needs and thought I would share! Good luck with your trip!

  31. Laura on June 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Don’t worry too much–It’s easy to freak out about baby’s first flight, but it’s never as bad as parents’ think. Or at least that’s my experience when talking to friends. I flew with my son for the first time when he was 3 months old and again when he was 6 months old. I didn’t have any trouble with his ears, which was good because I had planned to nurse on takeoff and landing, but he wanted to nurse before both of those times, so I wasn’t able to. The airport and airplane totally put him to sleep (too bad it doesn’t anymore now that he’s 2! Just took a 5 hour flight and he didn’t sleep at all even though he was exhausted!) way more easily than at home. When he was 6 months whenever he got cranky, I would just nurse him and he’d calm down and fall back asleep.

    I would skip business class. There’s not really a need for the extra room and I would feel extra bad if baby got cranky with all those passengers who paid extra for their flight.

    Way more interesting than flying with a baby was flying without my baby and pumping in the airplane restroom!

  32. Halima on June 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this but in your carry on pack a shirt for you incase she gets sick on the plane or explosive poop. I would carry a favorite toy so she feels at home not a new one. Good luck. If my hubby travelled with my 3mth old by himself with frozen breast milk you can do this!!

  33. Verhanika on June 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    My dad was a pilot so we flew A LOT as kids. My first flight was at 3 months!

    My mom read your post over my shoulder and said, “Ears are hardly the problem, it’s the overheating.” Apparently, babies overheat pretty easily on planes, so if she’s crying, check her temperature and she might need to be stripped down to her diaper. Which is adorable.

    Best of luck!

  34. Jennifer on June 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    When is your trip? If you are flying after we come to visit, we can talk when we visit. If you are flying before we get there, give me a call and I will give you all of my flying tips. I having been flying with Anise by myself since she was 6 months old and flew with both girls by myself in February. It’s overwhelming, but very doable…I’ve got lots of tips! xoxo Jennifer

    • Fitnessista on June 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      i still haven’t decided if we’re going, but if we do, it will be in early august or the very end of july. i’ll definitely pick your brain while you’re here! we can’t wait to see you ๐Ÿ™‚

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