When I was 25, I gave birth to my first child. He was a cute little red-haired boy with a cabbage patch face, and I was sure he was the perfect child. I was equally sure that I knew everything there was to know about being a mommy. I had read all the books and watched several episodes of “The Nanny.” So, when my doctor told me I needed the skills of a group of dermatologists in Denver, I did not think twice about taking my child with me on the 2-hour flight.
I grabbed my oversized purse, shoved in some diapers, baby wipes, and a few Goldfish Crackers, and headed to the airport. About 30 minutes into the trip, I knew I had misjudged the situation. While waiting for our turn to go through the first security check, with my son balanced on my hip and my heavy bag on my shoulder, my perfect child decided he wanted down. By the time we were boarding the plane, my son was in a complete meltdown. People were giving me looks that did not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Had I known what the next 24 hours would hold, I would have rescheduled my appointment, and I have no doubt that the dermatologists would have appreciated me doing so.
I learned a lot from that trip, and I am happy to share my education with you. Below you will find my checklist. Never again would I travel with any of my children without first consulting this list. I hope you agree.
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- Back Pack
The first thing people think of when they are traveling with a child is a diaper bag or beach bag that is large enough to carry all the things you could need. Opt for a backpack instead. It is easier to carry on your back, and it leaves your arms free to tend to your child. There are many pockets, so it is easy to organize the things you normally carry in your purse. This single bag will be your best friend.
This is your opportunity to use all those receiving blankets you got at the shower. These small blankets are perfect for covering, wiping up spills, keeping your child clean, use as a pillow, props for toys, cups, and books. Take several. They can be rolled up and take up little room.
- Extra clothes
You will need extra clothes even if you are only going to travel for a day. Take socks, and a long-sleeve shirt incases the plane or cab is cool.
- Gummy candies
Your child may freak out when the plane takes off. Allowing him to chew on something (much like you and your gum) will help his ears adjust.
- Zip-lock plastic bags
Open a large zip-lock bag and place several small and medium-sized bags inside. These are used for wet clothes, snacks, small toys, books, toiletries, and hundreds of other items.
- Things to go in the mouth
- Sippy cup
- Juice box
- Finger foods
- Pieces of fruit
- Your child’s toothpaste and toothbrush
- Small bottles of shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream, sunscreen
- A small bottle of fever and pain medication for teething or other issues
- Small toys, books, puzzles
- Disposable changing pads
- Diapers or pull-ups
Download your child’s favorite television show, cartoons, or music on your phone. Take an extra power pack. This can divert your child’s attention from take-off, landing, rushing, and sitting for longer periods of time.
If your child has a favorite toy they sleep with, take it with you. This can calm him down if he gets overtired.
Traveling with children is possible. But, you have to be prepared and be flexible. Do not expect them to behave perfectly in a new and frightening situation. Allow yourself plenty of time and roll with the flow. If you can, take another adult along to help you. Just take it slow and easy, and you will all survive.
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