Hi Loves, I hope you’re having a great week so far!
Even though Joe and I travel with William frequently, I’m always learning new things, and picking up new tricks. Accordingly, somewhere in the middle of our flight to Colorado this past weekend, the idea for this post was born (you’ll find out why later). So without further adue… “The Top 5 Things I’ve Learned About Traveling With A Baby”
If you follow me on Instagram (@EmilyFarren) or on Snapchat (Efarren) you know that I spent the weekend with Joe and William (having wayyyy too much fun… can you say dance parties galore???) in Breckenridge, Colorado. My college roommate, Rachel, and her husband, Nick, have a beautiful family home there, and they invited a group of us out for the weekend.
A weekend away with some of our favorite people??? Absolutely!!!
Initially, Joe and I were going to go on this trip without William. You see, we’re the first of my college friends to have a child. So first of all, we didn’t want to burden anyone with him being there, (sometimes people without kids don’t take too kindly to them tagging along) and secondly, we wanted to be able to fully enjoy ourselves, without having to constantly worry about him. Long story short, when we couldn’t find a sitter, and when Rachel said that she would love for William to join, we decided we would bring him and make the best of it. We figured… he’s a great traveler, our friends are wonderful, and it would be a fun little family getaway.
So fast forward to the night before the trip…
When we travel, Joe usually brings a carry on sized suitcase, and William and I share a large one. Then there’s the diaper bag, my carry on purse, Joe’s backpack… I mean, all in – at the very least – we’re carrying 5 bags. Even on the shortest of trips. Between William’s diapers, wipes, toys, books, clothes, formula, bottles, pouches (you name it) there’s never any room left for any of my things, and this time was no different. I ended up packing way less than I normally would have. AND… I still ended up sitting on top of my suitcase to force it closed.
I went to bed feeling unprepared and rushed… but what’s a girl to do? The next day, we agreed that Joe would pick William up from school and then he’d pick me up from work at noon for our 1:30pm flight. At 11:55 Joe called me – completely flustered – to say that when he picked William up from school, he found him crying hysterically in the corner of the classroom, and then William proceeded to projectile vomit all over the floor in front of him.
Tangent... so many things about this phone call made my blood boil. Why was he hysterically crying – in the corner – to the point of throwing up? Why didn’t the teacher do anything about it? Oh and then the kicker. Because he had thrown up at school, the teacher reminded Joe that William wouldn’t be allowed back the next day – even though he didn’t have a fever – and even though we were headed away on vacation. I mean, are you effing kidding me? (<<< all the red face emojis on this one) I’m super over his school and their “rules” lately if you can’t tell… Moving on…
So Joe goes, “Em, we’re not going to Colorado.”
We agreed that he’d come to my office and I’d asses the situation. When he got to my office, William was asleep in his car seat. He smelled awful, but he didn’t have a fever, so we decided we’d change him at the airport and go on our merry way.
We got to the airport, and of course, our gargantuan suitcase was over weight. Surprise, surprise. Again, if any of you mommy readers have tips or tricks for packing your kids, please let me know in the comments.
We continued on through security – where there was a huge line. This brings me to my first lesson of traveling with a baby.
1.) TSA Pre is worth it’s weight in gold
For $85 for five years, you can breeze through airport security. You don’t have to pull your laptop out of your bag, you don’t have to remove your shoes, and if you’re running late – from a puke or poop incident – it takes so much less time. I’ve also found that everyone in the TSA pre lines know what they’re doing, they’re incredibly helpful, and are generally in less of a hurry than in the normal lines.
So we got through security. I ran around with William to tire him out. Joe went to get us waters. The next thing we knew, we were taking off, and on our way to Colorado. If you’re a parent, you know that traveling with children changes significantly as your child gets older. You finally have the “bottle at take off and landing” mastered, and then your child doesn’t take a bottle anymore. You finally have the “window seat arm cradle” mastered, and then all they want to do is crawl around the plane. You finally think you have your $hit together – and then you are reminded that, no, you absolutely don’t.
That ^^^ right there, my friends, is parenthood.
I finished giving William his“take off” bottle – and then he indicated to me that he wanted some water. I let him sip some water out of my bottle. I figured he must have been dehydrated from the puking at school. Almost immediately after that, he looked at me – totally wide eyed – let out a huge burp, and projectile vomited all over my lap. I was sitting in legitimately 8 ounces of regurgitated formula – which I’m sure many of you know, smells absolutely horrible. Now normally, I would have freaked out.. But not this time. Which brings me to lesson number two.
2.) Wear leather pants
Instead of sitting in soaking wet pants for the remainder of the two hour flight, I just simply mopped up all the excess formula, baby wiped my pants, and went on my merry way. I own these ones here, and they’re completely waterproof. Its amazing. The woman sitting next to Joe was actually the inspiration for this post, she said, “I wish those had been in style when I had kids – that cleaned up like nothing.” Amen sister… Amen. Now… just what to wear in the middle of summer… :/ This little anecdote also brings me to lesson number three.
3.) Bring extra clothes EVERYWHERE and for EVERYONE
This is like a cardinal rule of motherhood, but I’ll reiterate it here. William managed to go through multiple outfits on nearly every outing we went on this trip, I’ll spare you the details, but you get what I mean. I actually had to throw out an outfit in a restaurant bathroom on one occasion. Lovely I know, but thankfully I was prepared. I also started bringing an extra shirt for myself along on this trip, and it always made me feel better to know I had a backup – just in case. Also if you’re not going to take my advice on #2 – I’d suggest packing extra pants for yourself as well. 🙂
Back to the story… we made it off the plane unscathed. If you’ve ever been to the Denver Airport, you know it is a trek to baggage claim. I’m talking extensive walking, multiple elevators, and a tram. Super easy when you’re travelling alone, but with a baby… not so much. Between my huge purse, the diaper bag, and the stroller, I was totally struggling. My husband had his hands full too, so he was no help. We were a HAWT mess. Anyhow – instead of sitting down on the moving walkway and sulking, I chose to learn from the situation and be resourceful. I looked for moms who seemed to be doing it the right way. Moms traveling with multiple children who looked like they weren’t going to lose their minds. Well, wouldn’t you know, they all had something in common.
Ok… ok… I’ll tell you. They had their hands free. They weren’t carrying their purses on their shoulders – or in the nooks of their elbows. They were wearing messenger bags, and backpacks. Which brings me to lesson number four.
4.) Embrace the messenger bag (or a purse that hooks to your stroller)
I struggled for the rest of our trip to Breckenridge, but the second day in, my girlfriend Elyse arrived and literally solved all my problems. She was like my fairy godmother. Now guys, I’m going to do some shameless plugging here. It’s shameless, because a.) I’m telling you, and b.) because I believe in the product. Elyse was one of my college roommates, I love her, and a couple of months ago, she and her sister Cassandra (a mother of two) launched a handbag line specifically for the modern mom. The brand is Lena By Cassandra, and the bags are amazing.
She gave me The Elyse (her namesake) to try out (you can see it in the photos below) and my life was seriously changed – I am a woman obsessed. The bags come with a changing pad, a set of stroller straps – so you can be totally hands free (a feature none of my current diaper bags offer) and they also include the most amazing organizational (and removable) inserts inside – one for Momma and one for Baby. I don’t know about you, but I am always digging for my phone, lip balm, keys… ok I’m always digging for EVERYTHING. Well these inserts eliminate all of that. Last but obviously not least… Lena by Cassandra donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bag to helping babies and toddlers in impoverished situations, or facing medical challenges. <<< A cause we can all get on board with.
And don’t think these bags are just for moms. They’re really perfect for any woman who wants a bit of organization and functionality out of her purse. I am going to use mine as a laptop tote for blogging, and then convert it back to a diaper bag when I’m on Momma duty.
As you can tell, for so many reasons, I love these bags and this company. I really hope you will too. To get you started, they have graciously offered Two Peas in a Prada readers a special coupon code for 20% off. So if you’re like me and you’re a mom who needs more from her diaper bag… or if you’re a student and you’re sick of digging for your keys… or if you’re “the every girl” just looking for an organized purse, head here, shop them now, and use the code: TWOPEAS20 for 20% off.
Now on to my last and final lesson of traveling with a baby.
5.) Travel with people you love… and who in turn, love you — and your child
This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned, and it really hit home this weekend. All the couples we traveled to Colorado with are people I consider to be some of my closest friends. I love them dearly. They’re patient, they’re kind, they’re helpful, and they love William as if he was their own. We were all in the same sorority in college, and as crazy as it sounds… some of the best friends I have are friends that were “chosen” for me. ITB ladies 🙂
Anyhow, mushy sorority talk aside, they’re people who will be in William’s life forever, and I cannot wait to be there when they all have children of their own. There wasn’t one person on this trip who paused to lend us a helping hand when we needed it. Their generosity not only warmed my heart, but it brought tears to my eyes. When William would cry out at the dinner table, everyone took a turn holding and entertaining him. Rachel danced with him, Mary played cards with him, and Elyse held him one whole morning so I could get ready. Everyone did something… and lord knows they didn’t have to.
One last story… on the last morning, Rachel and her husband Nick (who William absolutely adores) had to get up very early to make it back to the Denver airport. Rachel cooked all of us breakfast (although she didn’t have time to eat any herself) and Nick (bless his heart) reserved a special egg and set it aside for William. You see, William can’t have egg whites yet, just yolks, so Nick wanted to be sure he was able to eat breakfast. My heart literally exploded.
So those are the “Top 5 things I’ve learned about traveling with a baby.” How’d we do?
Let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks of the trade to add. And one last request for you… my husband and I are traveling to Italy with our dear friends in April. If any of you have any tips or tricks for traveling internationally with a baby (who may or may not be walking <<< gahhh) please let me know! I am all ears! XooX