Images (c) Mama Beth G.
1. Be in the Know Before You Go.
Understand airline polices before traveling. All major U.S airlines allow lap infants to travel for free with the purchase of the legal guardian’s ticket. You can purchase an additional ticket for a child of any age should you want extra space. You can put a car seat in this seat if needed or use a child safety restraint.
Most airlines allow one car seat and one stroller to be checked per child and will not go against your baggage allowance (place in gate check bag). Keep in mind lap children don’t get additional baggage allowance so any other bags will be lumped into the accompanying adult’s allowance.
You can also check the car seat and stroller at the gate if you prefer. Just keep in mind you need to proceed to the ticket counter at the gate to get the items tagged. *As of June 2017, American Airlines has a weight limit for gate checked strollers at 20lbs, limiting most double strollers as being overweight for "gate checked" only.
Note if using car seat during takeoff, taxi, landing: Any child restraint system manufactured since February 26, 1985, must have both of the following labels: "This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards" and "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."
If you are traveling solo with infants, you can try to request an airport gate pass for a family member to accompany you through security. This is subject to the airlines discretion, the "cause" for the assistance and agent you are working with so call ahead to confirm and play the "multiples card."
2. Take Your Entire Trip into Consideration
While a 5-hour flight can seem daunting, it is best to fly directly there and avoid a layover.
Don’t forget to take into consideration any travel time to and from the airport as there is nothing worse than a long road trip with cranky babies after being on an airplane. You can consider an overnight stay at a hotel to allow everyone some rest.
3. Babies’ Schedules
It might seem backwards, but I highly recommend selecting a flight that has a departure time as close to nap time as possible. More often than not the noise and movement of the jet will put them right to sleep. Sleeping baby = happy mama.
Don’t forget to map out any feedings. You might want to arrive to the airport earlier than anticipated if it means getting a feeding in before the plane ride. Often times I held off feeding until during takeoff as it helped with their ears and also put them right to sleep. Also note, that if you are pumping or formula feeding, you are allowed to bring pre-made formula, breast milk and even water in bottles for the kids through security, just be prepared for some extra screening at security.
If your kiddo is no longer on the bottle or nursing, you can still do mealtime on the plane. Invest in a bento style lunch box for a pre-packed lunch and build your own snack boxes using bead boxes. This is another thing that buys loads of time!
4. Seating Arrangements
If you are flying an airline that allows you to select your seat during the reservation process make sure you do it! There is a trick to seats when it comes to flying with little ones. If seat selection is not available, make sure you know when family boarding is as that typically guarantees you good seat options.
TIP: Per FAA guidelines there cannot be more than one lap child per row, unless the third seat is empty because of the number of oxygen masks available.
If flying with someone, you should both select aisle seats in rows across from each other. This makes it easy to get up and down, access overhead compartments and the restrooms as well as pass children (or things) back and forth to each other. This also gives more elbow room!
We typically choose a seat towards the back of the plane – as it is close to the bathroom and a flight attendant should you need one. And let’s face it, if you checked bags or gate checked items you won’t be in a huge hurry to deplane.
5. Make that List, Check it Twice
It is easy to think you need everything under the sun when traveling with kids, but I am happy to report you don’t. Having too much stuff can actually be overwhelming! It might be hard, but only pack the necessities. Not to mention each bag only has a 50lb limit and all those diapers, wipes and toys add up quickly.
6. Keeping the Littles Occupied
Depending on age and length of flight, keep the ipad and electronic options for when you desperately need them. Download their favorite show/movies plus a few interactive apps such as
Wrapping small gifts from the dollar store, dollar section from target that the kiddos can open every 30min-1hr is bound for endless entertainment.
Ideas: New books, crinkle toys for infants, soft blocks, finger puppets, enclosed shape sorter, buckle toy or bag of buckles, play-dough, small cars, figurines, mini animals, trains, mini etch a sketch or mini white board, window gel clings from $1 section, circle stickers, any sticker book in general, reusable sticker books, magnetic blocks, pipe cleaners & whiffle balls or wikki stix, colored pom poms, water wow books, aquadoodle, foam puzzles, crayons/markers/pencils with coloring books, felt books, lacing shapes/animals, mini lego box, mini magnet box, animal/shape/letter card games. Pack in binder with school supply pouches or labeled ziplocks. Peruse our Amazon list.
7. Prepare, then Plan for the Worst
We all know that it is when we have the perfectly mapped out plan that all hell breaks loose! When the twins were about 6 months old our flight got delayed and it turned into an 8 hour stay at the airport…and that happened a few times. The first time, I wasn’t prepared…the most important thing is diapers and food.
Make sure you plan out the logistics as well. This includes drop-off, parking, check-in, security and boarding the plane. Make sure you have your transportation mapped out both to the airport and once you arrive at your destination.
Enjoy the ride and take lots of photographs to remember the crazy memorable times!
Oatmeal Raisin Lactation Cookies
Maryann Kamitian, Newborn Beginnings
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup raisins (and/or chocolate chips)
Recipe author, Ashley Thomas.
New moms, have you considered hiring overnight or daytime support once your new ones arrive? I am a Newborn Care Specialist, Postpartum Doula and Lactation Educator. I can support you during the first few months after your babies arrive. I can help you get more rest at night when I work overnight shifts or daytime hours to work one-on-one with you. Sometimes I will even live in to give that added support for your family. I look forward to helping guide you through the 4th trimester!
Learn more about Maryann and her services with Newborn Beginnings.
Will having kids really be doomsday for your relationship? Do romance and satisfaction die when crying and poopy diapers arrive? I have two young children and a husband and I know how life-changing children can be, amazing gifts of life for which I am so grateful, but also very challenging to my marriage. I set out to look at some research to find out what it says on the subject. Although much of the research points to the conclusion that having children results in a decline in relationship satisfaction, a newer study by Herbst and Ifcher looked at the more recent generations of parents (defined as anyone raising children, not necessarily biological) and non-parents and found that parents' happiness was increasing overall and they were happier than their non-parent counterparts (2015). Researchers in that study hypothesized that the increased happiness found among parents today may be related to those persons choosing to have children more intentionally and those persons being more social and connected to their communities due to having kids, preventing the ever growing trend toward isolation.
While I think those reasons are important, I think the answer of why parents often experience more happiness in spite of the challenges is tied to spirituality and a sense of meaning. I think this may explain why there is so much joy and satisfaction from being a parent and having a child, even though it is the most difficult, exhausting, consuming, heart-wrenching endeavor you will ever undertake. The importance of raising a human being, being responsible for giving them a healthy life and teaching them to love, learn and be responsible, productive, caring people is of the utmost importance - reaping consequences and benefits for generations to come.
Looking at a child or baby reminds us that the world is big and we are small, kicks in our parental instincts to nurture and protect our young, and connects us to a higher calling and meaning. We walk around forever with a purpose - and no light one at that. It’s important to recognize that this sense of meaning and purpose for a couple who are parents can be an incredibly powerful source of connection and shared meaning. The mutual goal towards raising healthy children can be a bridge that helps cover the gap when stress, lack of sleep, household duties, and balancing external and familial commitments feels overwhelming. The challenges and struggles are much more serious, yet the moments of joy and meaning are so fulfilling.
The array of feelings between you and your partner become much more complex after children. You now look at them as not only your best friend and lover, but the other half of your team when it comes to figuring out this parenting journey together. Sometimes you wonder if you will ever be the "same" or "how we used to be" as a couple again. The answer is no, probably not. You will never be the same as a couple or individuals- you have transformed and you are now parents. But there is the opportunity for an even deeper connection and love in your relationship than ever before because you are doing something incredibly hard and so rewarding together - hopefully, as teammates. Your partner is the one that you can both laugh and cry with, who makes those “up all nights” and dirty diapers easier to get through and silly faces and sweet moments even sweeter because they are sharing them alongside you. They can take your mind off being a parent and remind you that you are still a man, woman, lover, friend. At the end of the day, your relationship has the potential to be even stronger and deeper than ever before if you make it a priority. The most important gift parents can give their children is modeling and having a healthy relationship.
Although your relationship will change and be challenged as you shift into a new stage of life, remember that the two of you are on the same team and want to support each other. Find ways to keep your connection alive and know that Therapy With Heart is a resource for you!
To learn more about the team and service offering please visit, www.therapywithheart.com (480) 888-5380.
Hold Me Tight Workshop
This Couples Workshop utilizes principles from Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) and is facilitated by therapists who have advanced EFT training and experience. This workshop provides you with new relationship tools, opportunities to practice communicating in a new way, and assistance in getting stronger in your relationship. Cost: $595/couple (mention PVMOM for $45 off)
Visit http://therapywithheart.com/couples-therapy-packages to learn more and reserve a spot.
All workshops, except 6/23-24, are limited to four (4) couples, held at the TWH office and facilitated by a TWH Team Member.
*The June 23 - 24 workshop will be held off-site and facilitated by Rachel Thomas, MA, LMFT, Certified EFT Therapist and Owner.
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