Thursday, May 20, 2010

Traveling Baby

Well, we are home from our trip to New Hampshire and Maine. It was a fun trip but extremely tiring. Jack did great most of the time. I will recap how he did with the plane ride and the long car ride below.

Jack met his great-grandmother (Memere) and his Grammie (my mom). He also met some aunts and uncles, and best of all: His cousin Greyson. My sister had a baby in November and this was the first time we got to meet him. Here are the boys in all their cuteness:

Our trip started on the 10th of May when we left on an airplane. Luckily, my younger sister and Dad were on the same flight as Jack and I. After realizing that there was no way I would be able to lug the baby and two carry-on bags by myself, I changed our return flight home so that we would be with my younger sister. Thank goodness!

We stayed at my sister and brother-in-law's house and it was very nice. They made it extremely cozy for us! My sister set up a bed and a pack-n-play in the finished basement for us. She had a nice feeding station as well. It had a bottle warmer and water so I didn't have to trudge upstairs in the middle of the night to heat up a bottle for Jack. I was able to use all her baby gear so I didn't have to bring any of our stuff. That didn't mean that I packed light. Oh no, Jack had his own suitcase and I had one for myself. Babies need a lot of stuff!

In the middle of our trip we drove up to my mom's house in Maine. In the car, it's about 3.5 hours. That doesn't include stops. Of course, with two little ones in tow, it took much longer. Especially since Jack doesn't eat a whole lot at a sitting still. He gets hungry ever hour to hour and-a-half so you can imagine what that means for a car trip.

We had a really nice time visiting with family. My mom adored Jack. I adored my nephew. Jack adored everybody. Seriously, that kid will smile at anyone! He smiled at random people on the airplane. He smiled at the news anchors on tv. He smiled at Greyson and his grandpa.

Here is my recap of Jack on the airplane and in the car. See the end of my post for tips of traveling with a baby.

Jack did pretty well on the plane. 80% of the time, he slept. Even if he had a nap in the morning! This surprised me considering my child does not nap well. The white noise must have been very beneficial. He did have a couple of incidents (short ones) where he cried. When I say short, I mean 30 seconds or less.

I had to pump at one point and so I put Jack on the empty seat between my sister and I. He was happy and playing so I left. When I came back, my sister and the baby were nowhere to be found. The passenger in the row next to us told me that Jack had been crying so Carrie got up to walk with him. My sister was in the back of the plane with my screaming child. I don't know what happened, but pretty much as soon as I left, the baby started crying and then screaming. Carrie wasn't sure what to do so she was really overwhelmed. I felt really guilty for leaving so needless to say, I didn't leave her alone again.

Besides that one episode, he did really well. It's hard to hold a baby for that long without some arm support though. I have bruises today and my arms are super sore.

Oh boy. Where to start? Lately, Jack doesn't like his carseat. He cries as soon as you set him in it. However, when we have taken him any distance in the car, he does really well. When we went to the beach a couple of weeks ago, he slept the entire way there and home. I was really really hoping this would be the case in the car from my sister's to my mom's.

Before we left, I made sure that Jack was fed. I wanted to be sure we weren't stopping in an hour so he could eat. The plan was to stop at the first rest stop so the babies could eat and the mommies could pump. That plan failed when Jack started crying an hour after we left the house. He didn't calm down after a couple of minutes so we had to stop. I remember thinking to myself "We are in for a long trip". I thought for sure we would be stopping every hour. Not the case! The next stop was over an hour away. Jack was still sleeping but we needed to pump and it couldn't hurt to get out and stretch our legs.

Jack ate a little and then after some walking in the grassy area and a diaper change on a picnic table, we were off again. He did amazingly well in his carseat. Every time I would put him back in, he would fuss for a second and then stop as soon as you picked up him in the carseat.

We had to make one final stop in Skowhegan so my sister could pick up some groceries. For a total of three stops. The 3.5 hour trip took us 5 hours. Yikes!

On the way home from my mom, he did not travel well at all. Let's just say that we had to get off the highway pretty quickly with no rest stop in sight. Jack was screaming and I endured it for about 5 minutes before I couldn't take it any longer. I am not one to let my baby cry. Even though he ate 30 minutes before, he wanted to eat again and I changed his diaper for good measure.

He was okay in the car for most of the rest of the trip. We didn't make any more stops after his screaming episode because he slept the entire time. My sister's baby is a super good little guy in the car and he didn't even wake up.

Would I do this again? Probably. I do have to say that I was incredibly stressed out both on the plane and in the car. On the plane, there is the worry of pissing off the other passengers. In the car, you can't just take your kid out of the carseat. You have to find a place to pull off and hope that you can stop their crying.

I am very glad to be home. I love my sister and my family. I had a really good time with them, but selfishly, I am not used to getting up in the night to feed Jack, so that was kind of hard. Granted, he only woke up once a night on MOST nights to eat. I didn't feel exhausted or worn out during the trip, so that's good. I enjoyed snuggling with my baby to sleep (I didn't use the pack-n-play after all) but I am glad to be in my own bed with my husband taking over the night shift.

Here are my travel tips for traveling with a baby:

* If you can, use a carrier. I originally brought my Moby and I did wear it for a grand total of 30 minutes. I put Jack in it and we went through security. But after realizing that he wasn't comfortable in the wrap and the fact that we were both sweating and his legs were all cattywhompus, I took him out. I am the weirdo though. Don't do what I did and carry your baby the entire time. It leaves you with one useable hand and it sucks.

* Sit over the engine. Although the bulkhead seating is nice (extra leg room, woot!), the engine is better. It creates a white noise that will likely put your little one to sleep. I did this and it worked wonders!

* Feed the wee one on takeoff and landing. I tried doing this and it did work a couple of times. My little man slept during a few takeoffs and landings though so I tried sticking a pacifier in his mouth. He didn't seem to be bothered by the pressure changes though. We got lucky there.

* Have new toys. I bought Jack two new toys for the ride. He didn't use them much since he was sleeping, but when he was awake, he seemed pretty engaged. Since they were new and he wasn't used to them, it kept him more interested than he usually is with toys.

* Have help. I was originally going to fly home by myself but I am so glad I didn't. I never would have been able to manage unless I had a successful carrier (which I didn't). I had a baby, a huge diaper bag and my pump. I had to carry the baby into the bathroom at the airport. Not fun people, not fun. Everywhere I went, I had to carry the baby. Yes, I did have my sister or my dad hold him a couple of times, but they aren't my babysitters. They needed to carry their own things.

* Be patient. You can have the most perfect, predictable schedule out there (we don't) but when traveling, that schedule can be really messed up. Jack goes down to bed at 8:00pm every night. But guess what? With a three hour time change, that no longer happens. Just remember that your baby is the one who will be setting the schedule. If you have to stop every hour in the car to eat or change a diaper, don't get frustrated. Allow extra time to take care of business. I assumed our trip would be close to 5 hours and it was both there and back. I was flexible with bed time and he surprised me and only took one day to get back to his regular 8:00 time.

We don't have any trips planned for the immediate future. There was some talk about going to Hawaii at Christmas time, but depending on my vacation schedule, that might not happen. I am not disappointed though. I would much rather stay at home with our little man rather than worry about traveling and fitting all his stuff into the diaper bag.

It's good to be home!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to have you back! He's getting so big!