This past spring, I had chance to head to travel to New York City, I knew I had to take it. I had lived there years ago, right out of college, and had only been back once. I thought it would be fun taking a trip down memory lane, but would I bring my 4 month old baby to NYC? I knew traveling with her would be a lot of work and I would be alone until my friends were done with work. So after a lot of planning, packing and repacking, Mila and I took the trip to NYC for a fun girls trip I’ll never forget. And here are 8 things I learned traveling with a baby.
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1. How to Pack
When traveling with little ones, they seriously need so much stuff. But why?! I always say, the smaller the baby, the larger the stuff. Ha! I knew our space was limited and I would be carrying it all through the airport by myself (checking most of it at the ticket counter). This is how I did it:
- Big diaper bag with change of clothes for ME and her, with lots of supplies like bottles, diapers, wipes etc. I love my Skip Hop because it holds a lot of stuff without being bulky.
- Pack light and check the weather. Things like clothes, sleep sacks (Magic Merlin is our go-to if it fits), diapers, toiletries are necessary. We also used the portable crib at the hotel.
- Portable phone Charger for many reasons. I needed it for the map and just general safety concerns too. And for your camera! This one is always in my purse and it’s from Amazon.
- I used the Uppa Baby car seat travel bag and LOVED it. I borrowed it from my friend and then bought it because we are traveling a lot this summer. TIP- bring all the extra diapers in it! They take up so much room, so this helps a lot.
- Plan to check everything, but the essentials. Otherwise, you will be carrying way, way, way too much. I had extra clothes and toiletries in the diaper bag just in case there is lost luggage (MY WORST FEAR…haha)
2. Travel Clothes
Ok, this one is weird. But be mindful what you and the baby wear in the airport. I wore a jumpsuit while babywearing, BIG MISTAKE. It’s so hard to go to the bathroom then! When you are by yourself, who is going to hold her? No one. Lesson learned. Haha. Also, zip up pj’s for them can be a lifesaver. We had a major diaper change literally as the plan was boarding. I had to change her VERY QUICKLY and the zipper pj’s were great. I love these Cloud Island ones from Target. For now on, I will always change her before getting on the plane, those bathrooms are just so small..
3. Travel Stroller
I was flying American Airlines and they have a 20 pound stroller limit (ugh our Single City Mini is 22 pounds-which we love BTW). Although she was 4 1/2 months, I knew I would need a stroller just for her to nap in or give me break from time to time. I knew the car seat wouldn’t be an option to carry her all over NYC, so I needed another option.
She was rolling over, holding her head, sitting up, etc, the travel stroller seemed like a good fit. It also lies all the way back, so she could nap in it. It’s not recommended until 6 months, but to give her extra support I bought this body support pillow and honestly, she didn’t like it. She was more comfortable without it, but could be an option if you are worried about them being too young traveling in the stroller.
I found the City Mini Tour and NOW OBSESSED. It’s super light being just 14 pounds and can hold up to 45 pounds, which works for our 3 year old. It folds up so nicely and was easy to stroll up to the gate. There is also still storage below too. It’s definitely not a stroller I would everyday, but worked traveling around NYC and in the airport, so it’s durable enough.
Since I flew American, I had to pay $13 dollars extra to choose my seat both ways. 100% WORTH IT. I chose the aisle, easy to get up and walk to the bathroom.
Mila was a total angel on the way there. I breastfed her during take off and landing and wore her in the baby bjorn. (technically, you aren’t supposed to wear them during take off and landing, but my flight attendants didn’t mind). I even thought about getting a glass of wine, I was pretty relaxed. Since I only had the diaper bag and her, I had a fair amount of legroom (for being on a plane!). The only thing I kept out was her binkie, my phone and wipes. That was it.
BUT I must have jinxed it because on the way back, she literally cried the ENTIRE FLIGHT. A flight attendant came to help me, telling me I could stand by the bathroom, which helped a bit. Then a grandma of 3 sitting across from asked if she could hold her to help. Well, it worked. She stopped crying. I don’t know what it is about grandmas!
5. Take the Help
See above story.
Also, I learned that people are pretty nice when they see you traveling with babies. To my surprise, several people offered to help carry down the stairs when there was no working elevators in the subway. Or when I had to take the shuttle from the parking lot at the airport, a nice gentleman asked to help me carry everything to the ticket counter. I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE APPRECIATIVE!
Take the help. And now when I see a mom on transportation with little ones, I always offer help.
I have a terrible back and babywearing can be hard. With that being said, I only use one carrier, the Baby Bjorn. I know it’s a little more expensive than other carriers, but for me, it’s the most supportive and comfortable. I wore Mila everywhere is NYC. One day, walking 18,000 steps. Went from babywearing to the stroller throughout the day. It’s definitely a workout, but it was the best way to travel throughout the city.
7. Transportation and Restaurants
NYC is a great walking city and has a very detailed public transportation system, BUT not entirely accessible with a stroller and baby. I looked up many stops before mapping out our travel for the day to make sure there was elevators (often not working, but I took the help in carrying the stroller). Take a look at the transportation; do you need to drive? Walk? Take the bus?
For restaurants, I researched them to see if they were big enough for the stroller or good for kids. Making sure I had a few options just in case one didn’t work out. I tried to avoid peek dining times so it wouldn’t be too crowded as well.
What do I mean? If this is your first trip, document it! Or any trip for that matter. Obviously babies don’t remember, but you will! I can’t wait to share these photos with my daughter when she’s older.
How did I get so many traveling alone? I LITERALLY ASKED ANYONE! I asked waitresses, random strangers, people that didn’t speak English, anybody! I knew I wanted these photos, so don’t be afraid to ask. I am so glad I did, I look at them all the time and they make me smile 🙂
So that’s it! I hope some of these tips help you and your little ones 🙂 There are more products we bought for baby #2 here.
Until next time,