Alright… let’s get straight to the good stuff! I should really call this blog “How to Survive Travelling with a Baby!” I think that suits it better! Part 1 of this series really just lay the ground work for the next few trips that we had planned, we learned a lot about what worked and what we needed for the next time we travelled with André. There were a number of things that we didn’t really like in Ibiza that we switched up for the next big trip. You live, you learn!
(Packed like a pro! Travelling VIA Rail to MTL November, 2017, 6 Months old. Brought the Boppy Pillow, Nuna Sena Pack and Play, Uppa Baby Stroller + Car Seat)
November 2017, I went back to Montreal for a quick family visit again when Dré was six months. We decided to take the train as it’s super easy! You drive your car to the station, we go to Guildwood as there is a ton of free parking, and you literally walk to track 4 and get on the train. It takes almost the same amount of time as going to the airport, checking in, security etc. It worked out amazing for us as the train really wasn’t all that busy so I got to sit in a row by myself giving me lots of extra room for all my things and the babe. André was super chill and relaxed the whole time. I had him in his car seat right on the seat. He needed breaks often from the car seat but was able to get some great naps in! I brought a bunch of books, toys and the iPad to entertain him and I brought lots of purée packs and snacks as Dré was fully eating solids at this point. We had a really easy trip there. When we arrived in Montreal, it was so much colder than Toronto and I didn’t have him bundled properly and I think he caught a cold from that. Being prepared for all kinds of weather is key. This trip I brought my full Uppa Baby stroller and car seat and I also travelled with my Nuna Sena pack-and-play for him to sleep in as I was staying at my grandmother’s house and she didn’t have a crib. I ended up going to Walmart and buying him a high chair because I didn’t know there were these cool little portable ones! I bought the Summer Infant Portable High Chair for my trip to Miami and it was absolutely perfect. Highly recommend getting one of those! The trip home was also really enjoyable. Quick and easy! Highly recommend the train for short trips!
(Sunrise over water views on the train! Highly recommend!)
(Seeing GiGi and Great-Zaidi again! Such a treat!)
After the exhausting disaster that was the flight home from Europe in October, I was on a mission to find something that would function as a little bed for André that could go on my lap or on the seat or something so that he would be comfortable travelling on our next trip to Costa Rica. I found something called the “Sky Baby.”
(Sky Baby... wish I found this for 0-6 months of age travelling)
This cute gadget wraps around your baby and create like a mattress feeling for them and mommy can hold the baby in the cradle position or right on your lap without your arms feeling like they are going to fall off the whole flight. It says it can be used up to 9 months. I wish I had found this for when he was really young because by 9 months he was moving around so much and really wasn’t interested in being wrapped in it. The material that it is made with is also really slippery so he was able to squirm he way right out of it and all it did was make me really hot and sweaty lol. I used the Sky Baby mattress on the actual seat and once he fell asleep on it I closed it up around him to wrap him in. It would be perfect for babies under 5 months of age.
(André sleeping ON the Sky Baby ON the plane seat)
I did luck out on my way down to CR and it was only one other lady in my row so Dré got his own seat. Honestly, yes… it’s amazing that kids can travel free up to 2 years old on your lap… but you will see as your baby gets older and starts to move around this becomes a huge challenge. I have friends who literally got into cussing fights with people in front of them because they had zero empathy for a mom travelling with a squirmy baby. If you know that your child is going to have a really hard time being on your lap, buy them their own seat. We haven’t yet, we always just hope that we will be able to move to an empty row or request a seat without anyone beside us but that doesn’t always happen, especially during peak travel times. Many airlines charge 70% of the cost of a regular ticket so it is definitely something to consider especially if you know your child can’t sit on your lap for hours and hours. I have another friend who booked their child their own seat then had their baby in their car seat on the seat, very smart move!
(Fully prepared: Toys, loaded iPad, books, snacks and drinks. Be OVER PREPARED!!! )
Let’s jump back again to what I said in blog part 1 about being prepared on flights. I can’t stress enough that you NEED to be prepared when flying with a baby. I don’t mean bring one toy for them. I mean you need to bring an entire back pack full of everything they need I would say beginning around 6 months. When I first travelled to Europe with André I as able to fit everything including toys into the diaper bag back pack. By 9 months I had the diaper bag and André had his own back pack full of toys, food, iPad etc. to keep him occupied and fed. If you don’t purchase your child their own seat they airline does not give you a meal for your baby. You need to bring your own food. The table on the back of your seat is NOT a toy for the baby to bang on and open and close over and over! I really can’t stress this enough. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you can be an ass hole traveler. You have no idea what people around you are going through. Flying can be a major cause of stress and anxiety for some people. People travel regularly for business, maybe someone is travelling because they lost someone and have to go to a funeral. You just don’t know… not everyone is flying for vacation like you, so just because you think it’s not a big deal to have your baby playing with the seat in front of you, you don’t realize how irritating that is for the person sitting in it. I once waited patiently for a parent to tell their kid to stop kicking my seat and opening the table then letting it drop, until I literally blew up and turned around and told the kid very very firmly to stop myself. I probably scared him, but also had zero empathy for kids back then! I was travelling all month on tour with Carlo and it’s beyond exhausting constantly being on planes, especially with annoying kids around! So personally, I’ve learned from that and I am super mindful of the people around me and I do everything in my power to make sure André isn’t bothering anyone else. And yes, that means that I’m working the entire flight and apologizing over and over to the people around me, but it’s your duty as a parent and you need to be respectful too. End rant!
Back to the flight to Costa Rica in January. I was travelling alone with André which was very tiring but we made it work. Between the Bubble Guppies and Alvin on the iPad, 10 different books, toys and snacks we made it in one piece. The lady beside us even offered to hold him while I went to the bathroom. The flight was an early morning flight and this has a lot to do with the success of the flight. If you can, always book the morning option. Your child will have slept at night time and are generally really rested when they wake up. I find the flight is 100000 x more challenging when they are later in the afternoon.
(Grandma and Nonna taking turns with André lol!)
(Nonno and Zaidi Time!)
The family vacation in Costa Rica was very special as the whole family was there including In-Laws. Carlo and I got to go out a few times as we had two sets of babysitters to entertain André. At this stage in life, this is what you need!
(Date night @ Zi Lounge, Costa Rica)
Also, vacation time is limited for most people, so if you can take a vacation once a year with both sets of grandparents at the same time I highly recommend it. It was truly one of the best trips for André!
Packing for this trip was intense. We brought a play pen, his baby food maker, diapers, snack packs, mum mums, water diapers, lots of clothing options, the Uppa Baby stroller as we learned from Ibiza that we needed the proper stroller and his car seat! Plus all of our own luggage. Carlo and I took separate flights so he took most of the luggage with him so I had an easier load, this was definitely a good move especially if you are not travelling on the same flight. Packing for travelling once your baby is eating is definitely a challenge, especially because there is a stage where they don’t just eat what you eat. Everything needs to be pureed, or steamed etc. We rented a condo when we were there, then stayed at my parent’s house the second half of the trip so in hind sight I probably didn’t need to bring my Bebea cook machine, but it makes prepping for a baby so much easier that I just packed it.
(Brought the Bebea Baby Cook, Silicon Muffin Tray, Puree Packs, Bottles, Formula, Mum-mums & Puffs)
Food is definitely something you need to really think about if you do take your baby with you on vacation between 6-12 months, you need to know exactly what you can make for them and if the place you are staying will have the cooking materials you need to make it. Otherwise, bring it! When I did go to the local supermarket I was able to see first-hand that they do sell Mum-mums and they do have puree packets, and my mom had a steamer and a functioning stove so I know for next time that I just don’t need to bring the kitchen sink with me!
(Costa Rica is so beautiful! Will cherish these beautiful moments forever!)
The flight home from Costa Rica was so beyond exhausting for me as Carlo had gone home a week earlier than us and I was alone with baby. Thankfully, when I checked in I was offered to upgrade my seat to the front row where they only have 2 people per row and a ton of leg room. The flight was later in the afternoon, so by the time we go to the airport, checked in, security etc. then waiting around for the flight Dré had missed his second nap and been awake most of the day and was super irritable. He needed to sleep and as every other flight we’ve been on started losing his mind and was super delirious for at least the first hour. He ended up crying himself to sleep on me for 45 minutes and by that time I was soaking wet from sweat from all the stress I was under because as I mentioned above I worry about other people around me. I was almost in tears from how loud and annoying he must have been to everyone around me! When we were getting on the plane they offered to take my small luggage and store it under the plane, I thought great! Less for me to deal with… stupidly forgetting that the iPad and my migraine pills were in there. Needless to say, from all the anxiety and stress of André being so fussy I got a full force migraine, you know the fun ones that make you throw up and didn’t have my pills with me. I was in excruciating pain and we were only in hour 2 of the flight. André napped for all of 20 minutes because as soon as he fell asleep the flight attendants passed out their stupid banana bread in plastic wrapper and the entire flight of people opened them at the same time waking him up. I think I actually shed some tears at this point. The rest of the flight André was up and down and up and down, pushing off me, spitting on me non-stop, delirious, and at this point I vowed that I would never ever travel alone with him again lol! The flight attendants were super empathetic and one guy literally took him from me and walked him up and down the isles so I could have a break. André is so well behaved with other people so he enjoyed that. I was so grateful for him at this moment in time!
(Everyone needs a little ZEN in their lives... especially after a crazy flight with a fussy baby! Chakra To Me Yoga Leggings are available at www.secretlivesotw.com/collections/chakra-to-me)
What did I learn from this flight? First, I learned that 100% I needed extra space for André, he needs his own seat, space and having him on my lap is no longer an option. Second, the Sky Baby doesn’t work for 9 month old babies, would have been amazing earlier on. Third, I still needed to find some kind of device that could create a bed for André somehow so he would be able to fully lie down and be able to sleep properly. Last, that bringing the huge Uppa Baby stroller for travelling is also not an option! Most flights allow you to get on first if you are travelling with a baby, so I was wearing Dré on me in my carrier and I pushed the stroller to where you drop it off at the front of the plane. I was struggling to close it since it’s so much work and struggled to get it in the bag I bought so it wouldn’t get scratched under the plane. People are so aggressive and pushy when getting on a plane and everyone was stepping over me to get to the plane. People could see I was struggling and no one stopped to help me. Finally, one of the flight attendants offered to hold André so I could get the huge stroller into the huge bag and could stop holding people up from getting onto the plane and stepping over me! Also, when on vacation I found that the sidewalks and roads were small and even going into the restaurants was challenging with a bigger stroller. This sparked yet another mission to find a better solution for a travel stroller.
Stay tuned for “Secret Life of a Travelling Baby Part 3” where I conclude this mini-series and share the best solutions to ALL THESE ISSUES! I think I finally found the perfect combo of tips and tricks to make travelling as smooth and easy as possible! Coming soon….