Tales from the Tarmac
Plan to hit the road, skies, tracks, or deep blue sea with your baby or toddler? Use these good, bad, and sometimes very ugly stories from experienced parents to help set you up for success—instead of a travel nightmare!
Jackie was halfway through a five-hour flight when she heard strange noises coming from her son. She immediately knew what was happening and quickly grabbed the diaper bag and headed to the restroom. The whole way there, the smell got so bad people were turning toward them and making faces. “I swear it was like his bottom had erupted like a volcano! There was such an enormous mess … all the way up his back to his neck … that the adorable outfit I had dressed him in was completely ruined—I had to toss it in the trash,” she says.
Always be prepared for diaper blowouts!
Sara, Las Vegas mom of four, is always prepared. “Clorox or Lysol wipes in a baggie means less germ worry. And always have an up-chuck bag and waterproof mat, good for changes and placing under Baby if they soak their pants with spit-up, juice, or leaky diaper.”
Deanna’s all about doubling up. “On road trips, I would pack two diaper bags worth of stuff besides outfits just in case we had issues with blow outs or messes. Also, I made sure we had extra stuff for feedings and water to keep us both hydrated.”
If your child is out of the breast milk/formula stage, Melissa, mother of three, strongly suggests, “Avoid giving them dairy products, especially milk. This holds painfully true when taking car trips. Milk vomit is the worst to clean up from the inside of a car and once it dries, the smell is horrid and is almost impossible to get rid of—especially while on a trip.”
To keep post-explosion stress to a minimum, consider traveling in clothes you don’t mind tossing out if necessary, and don’t forget to pack a change of outfits for yourself and any other family members that might find themselves in Baby’s line of fire.
Anyone who says they haven’t traveled once where their little one screams non-stop is definitely lying.
Experienced parents think out of the box when it comes to entertaining little ones, even long after the backpack full of toys stops working.
- Bandages or stickers can keep toddlers busy for hours. Just accept the fact that you may be covered in Dora before you reach your destination.
- Toilet paper roll has multiple uses, even silly dresses for dolls and/or headbands to make the little ones laugh. And kids love blowing on one piece and watching it fall, even babies.
- Cocktail? No, not for Baby—or even you. But one mom offers to buy a drink for others seated around them to help make the flight a bit more relaxing.
- Along the same lines, be sure to have snacks for everyone in your group. Hungry humans equals grouchy humans, and you’re going to need as many people in your corner as possible.
- If teething, bring Baby gloves soaked in formula or breast milk (then freeze). These can be stored in an ice pack bag. Place on Baby’s hands and let them gnaw away. Silence.
When you reach your final destination, Andrea, mom of two from Boston, recommends having a little piece of home to help make a smooth transition. “When I was traveling with young babies and toddlers, I used to bring crib bedding from cribs and beds that smelled like home, the same lullaby CD I played every night, and the same nightlight. I tried to keep the night-time routine as close to home as possible so that everyone would sleep well and we could all enjoy our time away from home!”
Finally, while there’s not much you can do to prevent delayed flights, lost car seats, broken strollers, and unsupportive passengers, Michele says it’s not just diapers and clothes you should plan to have extras of but extra patience and a sense of humor. And it doesn’t hurt if you have a partner along to carry some of the weight, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
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