Jeremy has been a traveler since he was 2 months old. Travel with him has become more of a challenge as his mobility has changed and his needs have morphed into more than just a breast, a diaper, and a nap. Making him portable these days means packing smart and with purpose. For my birthday I decided to make a quick trip to Myrtle Beach to enjoy sun and sand with my LO. Here are some tips that helped make my life easier and I hope if you try them they will help you as well.
I started packing the week of the trip and I packed my son first and myself second. I used this wonderful bag from Amazon that I was able to put all of his clothes, towels, lotion, soap, shoes, and evening toys in. Packing early for him and myself gave me time to plan outfits based on the weather and proposed activities and try to color coordinate if possible (if you are into that sort of thing). As a single mother traveling I have learned planning is essential for me.
Diaper bag preparations:
It’s important to pack your diaper bag very well, especially if you are flying. You never knows when your flight is going to be delayed or if you’re going to get held up at TSA security check point and miss your flight. I always make sure I have multiple snack options. I have found airport prices to be exorbitant, the price for convenience they say. My little one has multiple snack favorites but it’s hard to know which one he’s going to want at a particular time so depending on the length of the flight I try to pack 2 of each of his favorites. Typically my diaper bag is a backpack style that I also got from Amazon but for trips I like to use my work bag from Thirty-One. I like the pockets on the outside which allow for quick and easy access of drinks/sippy cups, favorite toys, snack options, wipes, and the mesh pockets on the side serve for holding trash if I need it to or my phone if I need two hands quickly.
I also pack small toys and books to keep him occupied and I always have my back up — his iPad. He has limited access at home, so it serves as a treat in cases of emergencies. I also bring a set of over the ear headphones for him to use so as not to disturb others. Unfortunately a lot of toys do not have ear jacks so I just try and turn them to their lowest sound setting. I usually try to reach for his books first which thankfully he’s usually interested in because they tend to be quieter than his toys.
Handy mobilization options:
When my little one was small I transported him in his car seat with a converter stroller. It was very heavy but served the purpose because when we arrived I had his car seat with me and he was already strapped in. Now that he had put grown his first car seat I have searched for stroller options that work for me. The stroller that came with his system is nice because it’s large and allows me to put bag in the carriage underneath but it is also bulky for air travel, and after traveling with it and having it broken by the airline I started looking for another solution. I do like using it for car trips. The umbrella stroller is the next option I tried. Its nice for quick jaunts around town; however, I find the low profile hard on my back and shoulders for air travel. A friend who travels frequently recommended I try the gb Pocket Stroller. I used it this trip and loved it! One the way to Myrtle beach i checked it at the gate and it survived the airplane test and was returned unscathed. On the return trip I used it as a carry on and it fit nicely into the overhead compartment 😉. This saved us 15-20minutes of standing around waiting for the stroller outside the airplane. Anyone who has a mobile baby will tell you that when traveling with a little one who is tired, because they have been traveling all day due to a delayed flight, time is a precious commodity.
Pack your patience:
Gone for me, at least while he’s still young, of raising holy cane about delayed flights and compensation. I now “relax relate and release” as much as possible. I let my little one run around with me in tow behind him so that he has an opportunity to stretch his legs. He’ll be cooped up enough on the airplane. I patiently deal with the dirty looks of those that don’t like babies and don’t understand why I let him run around and talk — those that believe children should be seen and not heard. I apologize when my little one occasionally gets in the way of oncoming airport traffic. I’m also patient with the little one. While discipline and consistency is key understanding his moods in the context of overstimulation, new surrounding, new sounds, and new routines are important.
When I make quick trips I tend to only plan for 1 activity and take the rest as it comes. Recognizing signs of overstimilation, fatigue, hunger, and boredom as early as possible helps to avoid complete meltdowns.
Traveling can be a rewarding and exhausting. I find that the opportunity to expose Jeremy to new sights and sounds gives me a fresh perspective on experiences that I often take for granted 👩🏾👶🏾
Embracing my imperfection and striving for perfection through grace.