Traveling With Baby – by Lisa Kelly

As we prepare for yet another trip next week, I look back in amazement at how efficient we have gotten in our travels with Ava.  When we took our first trip, she was just a few weeks old and we literally bought a vehicle just to accommodate the amount of stuff we thought she needed.  The husband and I both had smaller four door sedans that we were sure would not work so we bought a third car AKA Ava’s truck.  It’s a huge Chevy Tahoe and let me tell you, we barely squeezed everything in for that first road trip.  I think we took every baby thing we had and we were so unorganized that it took us a full day to travel 200 miles.  I wish I was kidding.

Since then, we’ve taken a dozen or so long road trips in Ava’s truck and one trip via plane.  We have this down to a science now.  No need for the big stroller when a small umbrella stroller will do.  We long ago gave up on sterilizing bottles so that equipment can stay home.  Changing her clothes 20 times a day is a chore now rather than an experiment in what is cute, so just an outfit for each day with a spare is plenty.  We no longer take her rock and play sleeper everywhere we go as we aren’t so paranoid about her sleeping on an incline.  Blankets have been tossed aside in favor of warm PJs.  I would say we take about 1/6th as much as we used to and still manage to meet her every need. 

So now it’s time for plane trip number two and I’m pretty sure I can keep us to two medium suitcases weighing less than 40 pounds each.  I’ve heard horror stories about baggage fees so have researched that and know my limitations.  My big worry this go around is stranger anxiety.  The first time she was on a plane was when she was around 7 months old and the whole world was hers.  She thought everyone on the plane was there to see her and she couldn’t have been happier about it.  After each flight, the attendants would let us off first so daddy could get the stroller from the plane’s underbelly.  Ava and I would wait at the top of the jet bridge for him and she would greet the off boarding passengers with big smiles.  Everyone, even the grumpy old guy, complimented us on how well she did.  Her pediatrician said that was the perfect age for travel because her anxieties hadn’t kicked in yet.  She has just started with the stranger anxiety bit and I’m very apprehensive.  It’s so unpredictable.  Sometimes, she will still smile and laugh with someone new.  Other people make her burst into screams and tears.  I don’t want to be the mother of *that* kid on a four hour flight.  Also, our other trips have all involved visiting family.  This one is to Boston and maybe NYC  –  cities neither of us have been to and toting a potentially anxious, screaming baby.  We’ve been told NYC on a Sunday is perfectly doable with a baby but others have advised not to even try it.  I guess we will play it by ear and travel light!  Success stories about traveling with an 11 month old are most welcome!