Some thoughts on traveling with babies

I some how lost last week down the back of the sofa, and everyone getting sick to differing degrees didn’t really help but whilst I was trying not to cough and sneeze over Zoey and Naomi (not that they repaid the favor) I have been mulling over our recent travel adventure (two international flights and three train journeys).

Before Zoey cried for an hour when we were stuck on the run way.

Traveling with two babies under 6 months wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but I can see why some families find traveling with infants and children stressful. I would say that planning and personality are the two most important factors for a smooth trip. Alex and I are both good travelers, and, by good travelers I mean relaxed (nothing phases us) and experienced (we can field strip ourselves and carry-on in seconds when going through the TSA theater).

How the family Hung slept

If you are not a good traveler then planning will be your comfort blanket, and breaking the journey into manageable sections helps you figure out what you need to do and bring with you.

"I called shotgun!"

So, here are some thoughts on travel:

  • Carb up before you get on the flight, and bring snacks. Chances of you being able to eat on the flight/train will be slim. You’ll either be standing up/walking or pinned down and unable to access the delicious in-flight meal. Since, the early ’00s the quality and quantity of airline meals and snacks has been inversely proportional to rising cost of flights so you can’t count on that muffin or cookie making an appearance so pack some energy bars and keep them on your person (as you’ll most likely have to stash the diaper bag in the overhead).
  • If there are two parents and only (and I mean ONLY) one baby workout a plan to share the baby over the flight. With twins both parents will always be occupied with a baby each so there is no chance of Parent A loathing Parent B for being able to nap whilst A is stuck walking the baby.
  • Take a diaper for every hour of the journey. Yes – that is a hell of a lot of diapers but you never know what will happen. On our flight to Scotland we changed the girls once and I was cursing bring so many diapers in carry-on but on the flight home we did +8 diaper changes. (For the first 3 hours of the flight the girls would not stop pooing.)
  • Night flights are easier. Our flight over to Scotland was over night, and other than a mega crying session(s) with Zoey and not getting much sleep because of being on a plane with a squirmy sleeping baby there was less entertaining and feeds (one feed when we boarded then the rest of the flight focused on keeping them asleep). Our return flight was daytime, and it sucked. 7 hours of alert time meant 3 feeds per girl, sporadic napping, and lots of trying to keep them entertained. Our arses barely touched the seats.
  • Bring a baby carrier or sling if your baby likes them. I Baby Bjorn-ed Zoey for +7hrs on the return flight. Whilst Naomi likes sitting on laps/knees (and in seats) Zoey is less keen and mega squirmy (even more so now that she can turn over). Zoey “happily” napped, played and ate in the baby carrier. It was also a life saver because when she cried and wouldn’t take her bottle sitting down I could “leap up” and easily feed her standing up.
  • Have a strategy for getting on and off your mode of transport. For flights, it’s mainly streamlining what your carry on/gate check luggage is (a roomy backpack is better than juggling a handbag, diaper bag & plus loose items) and for the train trips there was more of a time issue for getting on and off. We shelled out for trolleys at airports and train stations because if a few dollars can make your life easier do it.
  • Schedule recovery time for when you get home. We gave ourselves 3 days to recover and get the girls back on track, and it was the minimum amount of time needed.

A fraction of what we had in our carry-on

"Hello Manchester!"

Travel light or bring your own Sherpa!

The biggest surprise for me is how mad I felt when people came up to us to tell us how good the babies had been. Of course the girls were good – Alex and I worked our arses off. As soon as they peeped we’d jump up to stand/walk them – where was our compliment?

I miss this life of traveling and bad coffee

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dodging Acorns
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 21:51:36

    hehe – I’m the opposite, I appreciate the comments now because with a 3.5 and 2yo, there’s not a lot I can always control no matter how well we plan and how often we’ve flown with them 😉

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  2. homesicklocal
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 00:02:15

    Wow. The pics of your supplies for the fight brought back memories. My twins are 4 and our trip last year required a charged up iPAd, couple of DVD players, and a ton of snacks. The boys and I spent one entire layover going back and forth on the walking escalators. 🙂

    Cool post

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    • Leah Hung
      Mar 29, 2012 @ 20:22:48

      Yeah for twins! It’s crazy the amount of stuff you pack just in case and then never touch them. An ex-colleagues toddling daughter was occupied by a plastic cup for an entire long haul flight – you never know what will hold their attention.

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  3. cryscryss
    Apr 03, 2012 @ 05:35:53

    We just went on holiday to Sharm el Sheikh with the girls. 6 hour flight. We kept saying to each other, “thank god they’re not yet crawling.” And I totally agree with bringing slings on the plane. It saved our bacon with Freya.

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