Top tips on traveling with a baby

Top tips on Traveling with an Infant

 
Leo took almost 30 flights during his first year of life.  My tips vary slightly depending on their age, so this post will be more towards the babies that are not moving much yet in the 3 months –  6 months old.  Photos mixed in are from our California trip at 3 months, our Disney trip at  6 months, and our Cabo trip at 9 months.
I have provided my top tips that worked well for us below.  A lot depends on your child’s personality.  I am lucky that Leo is very even keeled and not easily upset – I don’t think he got those personality traits from me.  But don’t hate me, we have challenges of our own! I have heard and do believe that the earlier you take your babies traveling, the more it is a normal thing for them.  Also, you know your child’s personality- You can apply what you know to travel.  Leo tended to be more tired on vacation, due to the extra stimulation as well as the waking up earlier than usual.  He responded to time changes really well.  I would worry about so many things that could go wrong when we would travel, and a lot of times those things I worried about would be fine.  But something else might go wrong that I didn’t expect.  We never had a bad trip though!  Traveling is exhausting with a child, but once we arrived at the destination we really enjoyed our time.  Like I said, traveling looks a lot different once you have a child, but I still really enjoyed the destination once we arrived.
Leo’s first flight was when he was when he was three months old, and we flew from Houston to California with our new baby.  Here are my tips as I think of them that applied to us.

1. Plan for ease of travel!

-Non-stop flights

-Check luggage

-Simplify packing as much as possible – I think we even Amazon Primed some diapers to different locations before we arrived to save luggage space!

We would definitely try to make our trips as easy as possible.  Non-stop flights were important to me.

-WHAT WE PACK- 

We would check all our luggage- clothes, baby gear (Leo slept in the bed with me in a snuggle me organic – we brought that with us in the luggage for those early trips).  I would think you know some of the obvious things- diaper cream, big hat, baby sunscreen, diaper cream, extra clothes, basic bath stuff, warm clothes if needed. These are tips for before they are eating solids, but after we just add snacks and water bottles to the mix.  We did bring our white noise sound machine on those early trips because that’s what we used at home.  We just tried to keep everything the same as much as possible.  I have seen parents bring their baby monitor, and they will go out by the pool with the monitor while their kid naps in the hotel crib.  I think I would be too paranoid, but if you are right next to your room then maybe!  We did not bring a big heavy stroller (below I talk about our travel stroller). We don’t check a car seat.  We rented a car and used the carseat from the rental car company.  We are AAA members and you get a discount off of Hertz rentals and a free car seat with rental… I think.  You should let them know rear facing when you arrive if you do that.  You are welcome to check the car seat or have her sit in it on the plane if that is important to you. I always try to think about how many hands we have to carry things.  If I am carrying the baby, then my husband has to be able to carry all the luggage.

 

-WHAT TO BRING ON THE PLANE – 

 

All we brought on the plane was the big diaper bag backpack with diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes for plane (sometimes we use, sometimes we don’t), a few quality light weight toys/books, breastfeeding cover, lightweight blanket, and a heavier blanket, an extra outfit, diaper changing pad, bags to put dirty clothes in if needed, pacifier.  Blowouts were common for Leo in those early days. He usually pooped twice per flight during those first flights.  On his 6 months flight, he totally blew out his diaper.  You can ask the flight attendant which restroom has the diaper changing station.  Those restrooms are cramped.
Often times on those first flights, I would need to stand and bob up and down some to get Leo to fall asleep.  I uncomfortably did that from my seat sometimes.  Like I said, you know what your kid usually needs, and that might apply while in the airplane.  Leo hated the car seat for like the first year, so we also brought some light up soft music things for if we were driving at nighttime. Those were helpful on the airplane too.  At some point I brought like teethers to chew on, crinkle toys, peekaboo forest book.

-Breastfeeding an infant during airplane travel- (Note: There is no judgement here. This is just my experience)

 

Breastfeeding is your BEST friend during travel.  I breastfed on the plane, probably more than usual, maybe it was for comfort, and I think Leo sleeps more than usual on the plane. I think all the sounds were very calming to him.   I always try to sit in the very back row of the airplane by the window and my husband sits on the aisle.  He will move to the middle if he has to. I use the thicker blanket on my arm so when Leo falls asleep, my arm doesn’t fall asleep.  I put the light blanket over him.  I use the breastfeeding cover, but try to take it off as much as possible when it is hot. I breastfeed on takeoff and landing.  I have not once had issues with him crying on takeoff or landing.  My pediatrician told me not to feed him on takeoff and landing. I forget the reason.  She told me to use a pacifier instead.  I talked to so many Moms that told me they breastfed on takeoff and landing, that I didn’t worry about it.  As he got older, I wouldn’t always feed him on take-off or landing, and sometimes I would give him a pacifier.  He has never really taken a pacifier, but sometimes he would suck on it a little during takeoff and landing.  We have never had any issues with his ears- Thank goodness!
I never brought pump stuff if I was on vacation.  That was just a whole new set of gear that needed to be lugged around during travel and a whole new set of issues to worry about.  Breastfeeding on demand was my friend.  Breastfeeding on vacation actually made me more comfortable doing it in public when I was back home. I just want to encourage anyone nervous about breastfeeding during travel, just to do it.  I used a cover because that is what I was comfortable with.  The more you do it, the more normal it feels to you.  You can also look for mamava boxes at airports.  I never really had a chance to use them, but I did look inside.  I usually try to wait and feed Leo till we were on the plane.  Sometimes that made for a bit of a stressful time getting onto the plane.  You can usually tell how long you can push it!

2. Have what you need in your Hotel room

I would ask hotel for crib/pack in play.  If you want high quality stuff, most cities have services where they can deliver nice and clean quality baby stuff to you if you don’t want to pack certain things or want something nicer than what hotel provides.  This might be appealing to y’all if you wanted a nice crib or stroller… not sure what all else they offer.

 

3. Lots of breaks in the room!

I always liked to plan on our trips where we have breaks to come back to the room. It’s like wake-up, get ready, go to breakfast, back to room for nap, go to pool, back to room for nap, go to lunch, back to room, etc.  Maybe a little less frequently, but I always felt a little more relaxed in the room. It also might be nice to have the baby sleep on you outside on a pretty day under an umbrella with a tropical fruit drink nearby… I digress…

When Leo was 6 months old, we went to Disney and it wasn’t always easy to have a break in the room, but he would sleep in the stroller or sleep on my chest during a long lunch. You can read my Visiting Walt Disney World with a baby post here. 

 

Top tips on traveling with a baby

 

4. Relax – don’t overschedule

Usually on these trips, you just take it easy, enjoy the family time, pretty weather, good food, and lack of to-dos.  I never liked to plan any big activities more than a walk and taking pictures of each other with Leo. Often times Leo would sleep on me while we were at a restaurant reservation, and I would just eat like that.
I never really got into baby wearing, even though I expected to.  If you like Baby wearing, I think that would work well for travel.  The only downside to it is maybe getting hot, especially on that hot airplane.
Definitely look at your schedule and try to anticipate any issues and think about ways that would make them easier.  Like I said, often times what you worry about most isn’t even an issue at all.
Good luck!  Have fun!  I know it will be great!  I am feeling jealous already!
Let me know if there are any specific things you are feeling concerned about or have questions about. I am sure I am forgetting something! E-mail me at hello@ourlonglife.com with any questions!
Tips on flying with an infant or baby to go on vacation
Tips on flying with an infant or baby to go on vacation
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

5 Amazing Christmas Photos Ideas to take of your Baby

  Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

5 Amazing Christmas Photos Ideas to take of your Baby

1. Photo in front of the Christmas tree

With the right camera  (or maybe even with portrait modes on the phone) you can get nice blurred out lights if you put the tree in the distance. Or if the little one is close to the tree than you can get the branches and lights. Both are great parts of Christmas!
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas
I tried to take one in front of the Christmas tree with the dog and the baby. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, and I had to Photoshop two images together. A baby and dog are too hard to pose together perfectly!
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

2. A photo with baby wrapped up in lights

This is a newer Pinterest shot idea, but I do think it is a good one. It shows some of the amazement when babies see those magical lights.  You just want it to be pretty dark in the house and turn on the Christmas lights. I think it looks great on wooden floors and a simple backdrop. This is the Baby Santa Hat pictured here.  We purchased the 6-24 month size even though he was only 5 months.
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

3. A photo with a Santa hat on

Santa’s hat screams Christmas, and no one looks cuter with it on than your little one! You don’t even need much other decoration than the hat and everyone will know it’s for Christmas! We just put Leo in a red Primary.com onesie.
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

4. A photo on Christmas Day

It’s fun remembering that this is your child on that magical Christmas day. There’s something about knowing it was the official day and not just the month of December.
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas

5. Photos with family

There’s usually a lot of family around on the holidays, and while that is always hectic, it can be an amazing opportunity to take pictures of your baby with important family members when they are this small. You will be happy you have them later! This is my little one with his great grandfather, who my mother in law always said Leo looks like because they both always have a big smile on their face. ️
These were all taken when Leo was able to prop himself up, so that does help with most of these ideas. In the sitting pictures, my husband was nearby out of the camera frame since he still wasn’t a strong sitter.
Holiday Photo Ideas of Baby's First Christmas
How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids

Top 5 Tips for taking Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos

How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids
I’ve been waiting for the pumpkin patch by our house to put out their annual pumpkins, because I love taking Fall Photos in the pumpkin patch.

5 TIPS ON TAKING THE BEST FALL PHOTOS OF KIDS IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH

1. Outfit –

This is a little obvious but maybe worth mentioning. I think my favorite attire is just the fall attire. Another option is Halloween costume which is what I did.  I actually think I like the more stylish fall outfits better though. Our first year in the pumpkin patch, we dressed our little Leo in overalls like a little farmer.  Being from Texas, I have made him look as country as possible.  He might give me a hard time about that later. This year I dressed him as a pumpkin.

How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids

2. Lighting –

I am writing this with non-professional photographer moms in mind. I’m assuming you are taking pictures on your cell phone or with just a quality dslr on automatic settings.  I recommend going in the morning or in the last hour before sunset. You want to find places in the shade to take the photo without spots of sunlight coming through trees making the ground too bright. You don’t want to put the kids looking into bright sunlight. You can put the sun behind the kids for backlight, and that can work well depending on your camera and the location.
How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids

3. Background-

Try to simplify the background. Just have only pumpkins in the picture or try out a backdrop they’ve set up already at the pumpkin patch.
How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids

4. Get low –

It is great to squat down on the kids level. If not, you can have them look up at you, but sometimes looking at the sky can be too bright.
How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids

5. Actions-

Young children don’t respond very well to being told to smile or being yelled at to smile. Trust me, that is more common than you’d think.  It all depends on the age, but this year Leo is running around like crazy but if made a little spot for him to sit, sat him down and gave him a small pumpkin just his size. He had never seen a pumpkin before so he sat much longer than he normally would. When we moved I would encourage him to touch a pumpkin. When his older cousin was with us, we asked if she could find the green pumpkin and things like that to keep them interested and looking at you. You can also say things like you sit here and I’m going to give you a very special pumpkin. You can get creative here, but trying to find ways to make it natural always helps. Try to think what would Disney do?
How to take Fall Pumpkin Patch Photos of your Kids
Top Tips on Photographing your Kids in the Pumpkin Patch
Disney World Pregnancy Announcement Photo - Our Long Life Blog

Announcing a Pregnancy at Walt Disney World

Disney World Pregnancy Announcement Photo

I was just 6 weeks pregnant when I went to Disney World.  I was starting to have the first Trimester nausea set in, and I hadn’t told anyone I was pregnant yet except my husband.

 

I wanted to make sure to get a photo in front of the castle to celebrate the occasion.  I loved the “This is our happily ever after” phrase at Disney World.

 

We went back to Disney World with our 6 month old Baby.  You can check out some tips on Going to Disney World with a Baby here. 

Disney World Pregnancy Announcement Photo

 

Tips on Announcing!

Take a nice photo in front of the Castle!

Try to minimize people in the background, pick a time when lighting is flattering like in the morning or before sunset!

Have him put his hand on your belly and your hand on top of his!

I didn’t do this because my Mom was taking the picture and I hadn’t told her yet. 🙂

Scream with excitement!

I love emotions in photos and jumping or opening your mouth with excitement conveys something big!

Use a prop – like Mickey Ears!

Have Mickey ears that Say “Baby L” or something like that. Or hold your ultrasound with the castle blurred out in the background! You will love all of it!

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

5 Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

       Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

5 TIPS ON VISITING WALT DISNEY WORLD WITH A BABY

My Mom and I have been traveling to Disney World together since I was a little girl, and having a trip to Disney World on the calendar really gave me something to look forward to when I was taking care of an infant around the clock at home.  When I found out I was pregnant,  My mom and I both thought we probably wouldn’t go to Disney World until my son was older.  Then, like many things this year, we decided we weren’t going to let having a baby stop us from doing the things we want to do.  Did the trip look a lot different than it did before baby?  Oh yeah!  Did we have a blast? Oh yeah!
There was a point on the trip that I teared up (Mom hormones, I guess) that me, my Mom, and my baby son got to experience Disney World together.  That is a memory I knew I could always have!
We went to Disney when Leo was just turning 6 months old, so we were just entering the starting to try food phase and he was still napping a lot.  I warned everyone that we would be slow moving and operating on Leo’s schedule.  On the trip was my Mom, me, 6-month old Leo, and my husband.
Here are my top tips on things to know about Visiting Walt Disney World with a baby!

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

1. Babies enter free at Walt Disney World!

Not only did Leo fly for free as a Lap child on Southwest Airlines,  Kids under 3 years-old enter Walt Disney World Parks for FREE.  I don’t know about y’all, but I love feeling like I got a deal!  They can also eat at buffets for free until 3 years old! Leo wasn’t eating much more than banana when we went, so we didn’t take advantage of that perk (yet!)

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Everyone loved Leo as “Baby Buzz” I bought a bunch of Disney clothes from the Disney Store after Christmas Sale.

2. Babies can ride LOTS OF rides at Disney World (plus a FAST PASS RIDER-SWAP HACK!)

Babies can ride anything that doesn’t have a height restriction at Magic Kingdom, so there are lots of options!
You definitely need to reserve Fast Passes!  You can reserve fast passes 60 days in advance, so you want to reserve those and your dining reservations as soon as possible to have the best schedule. We did our best to make it to those fastpass reservations and our dining reservations and the rest we just went with the flow. I was nervous about the dining reservations not knowing Leo’s schedule but he often napped on me at meals.
One of the biggest tips I learned is about the Rider Swap.  I will do my best to explain it, so you don’t get lost.  It is a little bit tricky, but oh so Magical.  First, rider swap is an option DIsney has available for one parent to ride a ride while the other stays with the baby, then when they get off the second parent can go!  This really comes in handy when you have three people, so no one has to ride alone.  On the swap, The person watching the baby can go on the ride through the fastpass lane with one another person with them so they don’t have to ride alone.  BUT, here is the hack!  If you keep the Swap in mind, then you can reserve fastpasses for just two of the three adults when a rider swap is available.
Example Schedule at Magic Kingdom for Me, My Mom, Husband
Fast Pass for me and my Mom for Splash Mountain – Rider swap with my husband and me
Fast Pass for my Mom and Husband on Big Thunder-  Rider Swap for me and my Mom
Fast Pass for my husband and me Space Mountain – Rider Swap for my Mom and me
So in this example, everyone has only used two of their three fast passes but gotten to go on 3 top rides.  This is great in theory but it is hard to pack in rides with a baby! This would probably work even better with four people! It would avoid the overlapping time issues with Fast Passes!  This is an amazing hack, but the reality is the swap still takes extra time to go through the fastpass line two times, and babies take up a lot of extra time so good luck taking advantage of this amazing hack!  Rider swap is not available on all rides either (only on the bigger-most popular rides).  And I have heard there are many rides where the Disney Cast member needs to physically see the baby to give you the rider swap pass. So, keep that in mind.

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Here I am breastfeeding on Pirates of the Caribbean.

3. Manage your Disney Expectations

Going to Walt Disney World with a baby will be nothing like going with teens and adults, which is what my only experience has been.  Look at your schedule at home and try to match that at Disney.  Expect your child to still get their naps in, and just makes sure to plan in breaks during the day.  You will probably miss some things you normally would never miss.  This trip we didn’t even make it to Epcot, and I love Epcot! I just recommend enjoying the process, and anything you miss will give you a reason to come back to Disney.  We moved at a much more relaxed pace.  Typically, our schedule would include my baby waking up for the day and me taking him down to breakfast with my Mom while my husband caught a few more Zzzzs.  I would let him sit in a high chair and watch the activity while I enjoyed coffee and breakfast.    Then after breakfast, Leo would take his first nap for about a half hour in the room before we head out to the park arriving in time for a ride then lunch and another nap.  On previous trips to Walt Disney World, we would be there before the doors open for the early magic hours to the park.
I was so nervous about the unknown before our trip, but if all of a sudden you can tell your baby is done, you can go to a quiet place or back to your room.  I told myself to expect a meltdown or multiple on this trip, but we never had one!  But if we did have one, that would have been okay.  Disney World is very exciting, but it is also a lot of stimulation.

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

4. Take Advantage of Disney’s Baby Care Centers

Disney World has Baby Care Centers at every park.   These are air conditioned indoor spaces with big comfy baby changing tables and a little store to purchase extra baby supplies.  They have private breastfeeding areas and equipment for pumping/preparing bottles. We used the one a Magic Kingdom a couple times, and I really enjoyed stopping in there.  The parks are big so often times the Care Canters are not close to you.  I often would change a diaper in a public restroom or breastfeed in a some-what quiet place (or often at lunch in a restaurant).

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Leo was asleep in the stroller for his first arrival at the Magic Kingdom. Yes, my Mom bought us matching shirts. Leo has one too. We are that family.

5. Treat Yourself (I’m looking at you Mama!)

Let’s be honest, this trip is not for the baby.  It is for the Disney-loving adults, so treat yourself too!
Just being at Disney World is a treat for me, but here are a few splurges we had.  We stayed at our very favorite Polynesian Resort Hotel.  We bought the Photo-Pass beforehand.  I knew I wanted this trip documented and I did not want to bring my “big-girl” camera this time.  Anytime I saw a Disney Photographer cast member with a short line, I would grab a family photo, even if the background was nothing special!  We ate at our favorite restaurants, many of which are at the Polynesian Resort.  We took an Uber from the airport.  Uber Carseat is available in Orlando.  We took a “Minnie-Van” to Epcot.  And on our last night we had room service delivered from Ohanas, because it was only $5 extra and the baby was already asleep on the bed.  All of these things were things I wouldn’t have done previously, but with a baby I wanted to get the most out of my time.

Our 3 Day Disney World schedule with a BABY! ( please don’t judge )

Day 1
Flew in on the EARLYYYY (too early) Flight
Uber Car Seat to Polynesian Resort
Checked into room
Kona cafe
Monorail to Magic Kingdom
Leo slept through Daytime Parade
Dumbo (with Fast Pass but didn’t need it!)
Carousel
It’s A Small World
Magic Kingdom Railroad
Ohana for Dinner
Watched Fireworks from the Polynesian
Day 2
Slow relaxing Breakfast
1st Nap of the Day
Monorail to Magic Kingdom
Pirates of the Carribean – FastPass
Jungle Canteen Restaraunt – and 2nd Nap
Jungle Cruise – FastPass
Boat Ferry from Magic Kingdom
Relaxed at Polynesian Resort
Minnie Van to Hollywood Studios
Sci-fi Drive-in (Note: Cars are not good for Breastfeeding due to tight space)
Hollywood Studios Little Mermaid
Bus back (long wait for bus)
Fireworks from the Polynesian
Day 3
Slow Breakfast
1st Nap of the Day
Animal Kingdom Bus
Yak and Yeti Restaurant – and 2nd Nap
Finding Nemo the Musical
Wildlife Express Train and Petting Zoo
Avatar Flight of Passage + Rider Swap – With FastPass too!
Kona cafe room service

Top Tips on Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Welcome | Family, Food, and Finance for the Modern Woman

Our Long Life Blogger

Hello there!  I I traveled through 6 countries and five states with my son before he turned one years old. We try to live a fun, intentional life and want to share our tips along the way.  I am coming up on a decade of running my own business, and now do it while having a husband and son.  Ever since having kids, I have found advice from others online that has been so helpful to me.   I am always learning, and I am often deep diving into books and the internet to find what I want to know.  I am hoping my perspective as a down-to-earth nerd can help others live their own long happy life.

In the early stages of this blog, I plan to write about everything in my life and just see what people respond to and want to hear more about and go from there.

The name of this blog is Our Long Life, because we are the Long Family, and my goal is to optimize our life into an intentional happy Long Life.  I am a Mom, wife, dog-Mom, Feminist, Entrepreneur, and much more!

 

Here are a few of my passions that you might see come up in this blog!

TRAVEL (Disney World especially!)

EATING (Maybe some cooking)

HEALTH (Paleo-ish style diets)

ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Female Small-Business Owners)

HOUSTON, TEXAS PRIDE (All things TEXAS)

FINANCE ($$$ MONEY $$$)