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The Wolf Pack

May 21, 2013


For the almost 12 years we’ve been together, Dan and my relationship with travel has changed quite a bit. But nothing so in your face as the current metamorphosis our family has undergone with we to three. When Dan and I were dating and newly married, we had a bit of disposable income and traveled whenever the whim suited. It was a time in our lives we had friends sprinkled throughout the country, we’d visit when the urge or reason struck us. It was that stage in our life we refer to as the wedding years, with at least two a year for a pretty good stretch, so a lot of our travel was to fun cities to shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Nothing could’ve prepared me for traveling with a small child. Not even helping my older sister, Susan, with her daughter on several business trips when she was still nursing some years ago. Let me tell you, there’s a very big difference with that second set of hands within the tight quarters of an airplane. Plus, it helps so very much when you know the person seated next to you when you’re trying to feed your baby. It’s about as up close and personal as you can get and getting a wee one fed trumps modesty.

Back in March, when I visited my mother, I was that person on a two-hour flight with the baby that screamed her head off the entire time, only to pass out from shear exhaustion moments before landing. It reminds me of the hilarious Bill Cosby little Jeffrey bit. My usually happy, content, grinning baby was swapped out for an absolute maniac that I couldn’t calm down. It got me thinking about things I wish I would’ve known. With that in mind, here are a few tips that can make traveling solo bearable.

1. Plan on traveling with some sort of carrier system. Ergo’s seem to be the trendy one of the moment, I’m doing just dandy with my older sister’s hand-me-down Björn. The more hands-free you can be, the better.

2. I cannot emphasize this enough – remember to pack extra clothes (everything from a onesie to a romper, sweater, hat and socks) in your diaper or carryon bag. Your child will need it when they (as if on cue) explode in the aforementioned carrier minutes before boarding your flight. Bonus points if you remember to pack a plastic resealable bag to put soiled clothes.

3. Before dressing (and redressing) your child, be sure to dress yourself accordingly (layers!). I made the mistake of wearing a very cute cream turtleneck sweater over a white tank top on a flight and proceeded to sweat buckets from shear exhaustion and couldn’t take my sweater off because I’d look like I was competing in a wet t-shirt contest.

4. Roll with it. Yes, their ears will hurt. Yes, they will most likely cry. Honestly do whatever you can to minimize their pain and just hunker down. Have multiple pacifiers (or whatever you use to soothe) at the ready. And remember make nice with the flight attendant because you’re going to need him/her to disinfect several of those suckers in boiling water after your kid throws them on the floor in protest.