An Infant Does Not Make Travel Light

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An Infant Does Not Make Travel Light

Over the weekend I traveled with Sarah, my husband, and a friend to Chicago by plane to visit a mutual friend. Traveling with an infant was pretty much as expected but I definitely learned strategies and tips for next time.

Packing for an infant is no easy task. It’s impossible to predict exactly how many outfits the baby will go through. Going someplace like Chicago during early winter means the weather is unpredictable. You have to plan for freezing temperatures as well as warmer.

However, I think it’s fair judgment to say that I over-packed. My hubby definitely thought so! Lets just say that getting to and from the plane was cumbersome at best. It’s not that we had lots of bags. We carried our limit without checking bags. Its just that our bags were very full, especially the diaper bag. Luckily I breastfeed, otherwise it’d have been out of hand.

Carrying everything, including a stroller, and of course a baby is hard work. I feel sorry for any mom that has to do it alone. At the very least, airport staff and fellow travelers are generally more courteous to a woman carrying a baby. The TSA officer was patient with me as I fumbled for my license and boarding pass. The flight attendants were quick to inform us of which restroom had an infant changing station.

“How was the flight itself?” you might ask. Sarah was mostly well behaved. She is generally a quiet baby until she gets bored, tired, or hungry, like any other child. For about half the flight Sarah was occupied with looking out the window. My arm literally got tired from holding her up while she stared out. She nursed and slept for the other half except for a short time when she was unsatisfied and a little fussy.

Once we left the plane we took the public subway system to downtown Chicago where our friend lived. Nothing eventful happened and we got downtown quickly. By this time, Sarah was very hungry and cried every time we stopped. It had taken us close to an hour to get from the airport to our friends apartment, so considering, she did very well.

What exactly did I learn from this trip? Well, even though it was a short trip I had over-packed. By the time the trip was over I’d used about half the clothes and none of the nursing scarves I’d planned to use while out. Next time, I’ll bring fewer infant jackets. One warm suit and a small jacket would’ve been enough. She doesn’t need 4 different coats for a weekend. Oh, and I brought too many snacks. As all moms know, we need to snack more often than the average person. It’s called fueling our energy to complete our numerous mommy tasks! I guess I forgot that I was staying in a large city with countless stores nearby.

The best lesson was neither about space, or lack thereof, but about time and planning. I must confess that I packed the night before we left. Big mistake! That left me hurrying about, scrounging for everything I needed. It took me longer than needed and I was very disorganized. We were leaving at 5 in the morning and I had just worked a nine hour shift. I was left with less than four hours of sleep and a four hour flight the next day. Next time, I will be sure to pack at least 48 hours ahead!

All in all, traveling with Sarah was an interesting experience. It was enjoyable to watch her reactions to everything new and yet challenging to juggle everything involved with traveling. Having an infant makes everything take longer while leaving everything unexpected. It makes life a little more interesting!

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