Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aloha! Traveling With Bebe

This past week I had the honor of sitting on the back of an airplane with all the other children (read: shits) traveling the country with their parents. At first, I thought the conclusion to my experience was: I hate kids. But when I look back on everything that went down during our flight, I think this is more accurate: I hate parents.

I will probably be singing a different tune in a couple years, but I can say with much confidence that I learned a lot about what NOT to do as a parent traveling with children. For example, I will NOT wait for a half hour to change my child's diaper after he sharts his pants...the foul smell was stuck in my nostrils for hours after this little experience. In addition, I will not let my child scream for 5 hours. This was not "upset" screaming you hear about because little guys can't get their ears to pop, but rather screaming like he was watching the Gonzaga vs. BYU basketball game. Said idiot parents were both wearing noise-cancelling headphones the entire flight. The rest of us had to endure their obnoxious child for 5 hours and 20 minutes. Indoor voices people. Implement it.

Parents, if there is any time to indulge your children, it is definitely while flying. If you are strict about only letting them watch 30 minutes of television a day, I DON'T CARE. Bring 5 movies and keep them happy for the duration of the flight. If your baby is fussy, stand up and walk up and down the aisle with him/her. Give her candy. Play card games. Buy her an iPad. Whatever you do, please ensure that you don't piss off the other 150 people who paid hundreds of dollars to enjoy their vacation. Your child is already a POS, so one day of spoiling won't make it any worse.

To do my part, I had a few plans in place. I nursed Everett during both takeoff and landing, even though one of our flights was only an hour long from gate to gate. This ensured he was swallowing and getting his ears to pop without the terrible screaming you hear from infants. If I couldn't calm down his fussiness after 30 seconds, I latched him again until he felt better. I am not a fan of nursing for comfort, but like I said...whatever it takes to get your child to shut up. Everett did great on all 4 of our flights. He slept for most of the time, as the sound of the airplane lulled him to sleep. I have no idea how he slept through that little monster's screaming though.

If your airline offers a first class upgrade while you are checking in, DO IT!!! Having the console between your seats is incredibly convenient for storing pacifiers, rattles and the like, and having the extra room for nursing is great. FYI: when you nurse in coach, your elbow and baby's feet have nowhere to go but into your neighbor's ribcage. Also, the complementary alcoholic beverages are a plus.

People without children: when they announce boarding for families with children, this is not an invitation for you to stand up and block all the aisles. Thanks and Mahalo.

So that was the flying experience. Here are a few of our favorite travel items -

Travel Boppy: These zip up to resemble a little purse or camera bag. But there's a surprise when you open them in the form of a pillow for nursing, propping, etc. You can take this as your second carry-on and you have a comfy place to keep baby during the flight. When you get to your destination, zip it up and put it in the stroller for propping and nursing while you are out and about. I like having the Boppy with me because my arms get tired from holding up the baby after a few minutes of nursing.

Car Seat: For safety. We did not pack the car seat base on the airplane since it would be an extra $20 of checked luggage. However, you do not need it, as you can easily strap the seat into any car. Here's a handy video for instructions on how this can be done.

BOB Stroller: Or any other stroller that allows you to click in your car seat and go. Having a stroller is great because you can get baby from Point A to Point B easily, and you have a safe seat where he can hang out while you are lounging in the sun. I like the BOB because it can easily ride in sand or snow, is good for running and walking, and can easily be maneuvered around the multitudes.

Baby Bjorn: Or your favorite baby carrier. We use the Moby Wrap a lot at home, but the Bjorn is easier to get strapped into when others volunteer to carry baby. There are certain places a stroller cannot go. Like a boat. We went whale watching and had no interest in lifting either a car seat or a stroller over the rail to get on the vessel. In addition, having a baby carrier is good for hiking and other activities while on vacation.

Whale watching with the Baby Bjorn.

Everett slept through the whale watching.

Luau in the Baby Bjorn.

Extra Pacifiers: We packed 5. We came home with 2. They were lost to the Hawaiian shrubbery.

Diaper Cream: Use SO much of this when traveling to a warm climate. Everett developed a pretty bad diaper rash from the humidity. We had to let him free ball it in hotel towels a couple times to help clear up the situation.

Muslin Blankets: We like the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. These are perfect for warm climates, as you can protect baby from the sun, but they breathe easily so he/she doesn't get too hot. Speaking of keeping baby out of the sun, don't forget a wide-brim hat and sunscreen. The Aveeno sunscreen for babies worked great for Everett, but left a little rash on his face. We used Episencial Sunny Sunscreen and it worked great. It is a little thick though, so be prepared for your child to look like a ghost until it completely absorbs.

Cabana: Hawaii is Baby Land. There were tons of new babies by the pool, and their mothers were running inside to nurse every couple hours. I pulled out my nursing cover, latched Everett, then soon discovered why everyone was heading for the hills come feeding time. The Hawaiian trade winds blew right up the wrap and exposed my boob profile to every living creature sitting behind me. So we rented a cabana. This allowed me to stay outside with the family, protected Everett from the sun (it's a little hard to find shade by the pool when a-holes put their towels on chairs at 6am to reserve them all day), kept the wind at bay, and gave me extra privacy for nursing by the pool. Plus we got a wonderful, private view of the ocean where we could watch whales all day.

Portable bed: We did not have this, but another mother of a 2 month old brought her Eddie Bauer portable infant bed down to the pool. It folds down and packs into a suitcase easily. Since you do not want to put baby on the pool chairs without protecting her from falling, this is a great solution. Baby was able to take a nap in a secure place, and Mom could put a towel over the apparatus to protect her from the sun and trade winds.

And there you have it. Highlights from the trip included family fun time, relaxing by the pool, snorkeling, whale watching, Hula dancers, Lava Flow beverages, walks along the beach, and the ability to wear shorts in February.

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