Flying with a 2-and-a-half-month-old

Hi from Florida!

They say it’s easiest to travel with kids when they’re really little, before they start needing to be entertained and are content to just sleep in mama’s arms. Makes sense, right?

Thinking we should take advantage of Corban’s itty bitty-ness and my maternity leave, we decided about a month ago to plan a visit to my grandparents here on Marco Island, who had yet to meet their first great-grandchild.

I wasn’t nervous about flying with Corban — he’s easygoing and I have no problem nursing him on the plane — but flying with all the stuff we needed to bring for him freaked me out.

First and foremost was his car seat and car seat base – absolutely essential for obvious reasons. We didn’t buy a separate plane seat for him, so it would have to be either checked (for free on AirTran and presumably other airlines) or gate checked. I read about how car seats are only designed to take one big impact, and how a rough throw by an airline baggage handler could hurt the safety of the seat with no visible signs of mangling. This really made me nervous.

The other big item we had to bring was our stroller. My grandparents love to walk, so of course we wanted them to be able to take him along. If Corban were another couple months older, we would have just bought a cheap stroller here or rented one, but because his neck isn’t yet strong enough for him to sit up in a stroller, we needed to bring ours with the car seat attachment. Message board discussions of strollers being ripped, dirtied and broken in transit made me paranoid about this.

There was no way we were going to bring the Pack N Play, so the original plan was for C to sleep on a thin mattress on the floor, or in bed with us. My grandma was able to borrow a Pack N Play from her friend, so this ended up not being an issue.

In the end, I am happy to report that my travel fears were unwarranted and everything went smoothly. Here’s what we did (hopefully someone out there planning a trip with a baby will find this helpful!):

Peter dropped Corban and me off at the ticketing area and parked the car (this way we wouldn’t have to lug all our stuff on the shuttle and Corban wouldn’t have to ride without being properly strapped in). He sat in the car seat, attached to the stroller, and I packed the car seat base in our big suitcase.

I checked our bag and asked the woman at the counter for plastic bags to put our stroller and car seat in at the gate. She tried to convince me to check the car seat there but I told her Corban couldn’t ride in the stroller without it (even if that weren’t the case, I felt more comfortable gate checking it so it would have less chance of being damaged).

Peter met up with us and we wheeled up to the long security line with C still in the stroller. A TSA agent directed us into the VIP line – score! Everything had to go through the X-ray machine, including the stroller. Thankfully the City Mini is super easy to fold up. Peter carried Corban through the metal detector.

I fed C while we waited at the gate, then when it was time to board we moved him into the Baby Bjorn, bagged up the stroller (folded up) and car seat (with the carrying handle down to make it less bulky) and gate checked them.

Corban ate a little more at take off (I wanted him to be sucking to relieve ear pressure, but he ended up not being very hungry and still not having any issues). He promptly filled his diaper, so I changed one of the dirtiest diapers I’ve ever seen — in my lap! It wasn’t too difficult — I just laid the changing pad in my lap with him facing me. We put the dirty diaper in a ziplock bag to dispose of later.

When we landed, our things were at the gate, undamaged (though the stroller’s bag was ripped, so I’m glad we bagged it). After another diaper change in the bathroom, we retrieved our checked bag and met my grandparents in the pick up line. Piece of cake!

There was no lack of crying babies on our flight, but thankfully ours wasn’t one of them. Corban didn’t fuss for a second the whole trip, and he was even super smiley a lot of the time (who smiles for no reason while waiting in the TSA line??)

Let’s hope our trip home goes just as smoothly as the trip here, and in between we continue to relax and enjoy moments like this:

Corban was neither bothered nor excited by his first dip in a swimming pool. The water was really warm so it probably just seemed like a bath minus all the prodding!

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