So as some of you know, I am originally from Germany. Our family is constantly traveling between Los Angeles and Berlin. Anastasia was 6 months old the first time all of us traveled to Berlin. Many people thought I was crazy doing an 18 hour trip with such a small baby. But when there’s a will, there’s a way! We are on our second journey now, so far it’s been smooth sailing. So here are a few tips that have worked for me…
The first time I travelled with Anastasia, I was still breastfeeding I didn’t feel comfortable doing it in front of the whole airport. So if you’d like to breastfeed in private, there are two options:
- There are special nursing rooms where you can breastfeed or pump milk without anybody watching. The only disadvantage is there are usually only one nursing room in each terminal, so if you’re unlucky and there is another mommy, you might have to wait in line for a while.
- The other option is the traveler’s lounge such as the Admirals Club from American Airlines. It is free with certain credit cards, business/ first class tickets, or you can pay $59 for a one day pass. I think it’s worth it! They have plenty of private bathrooms with showers, where you have your privacy without people knocking on the door trying to hurry you up. They also have a children’s area where kids can play, which is amazing now because Anastasia is so active at 10 months old.
I think the best option to fly is to buy another seat for the baby, and buckle her in the car seat next to you. This way your baby can sleep without you holding her the entire flight.
If you don’t want to spend the money and especially if your baby is under 6- 7 months (because Anastasia started to be very active by then and outgrew the bassinet), there is the option of buying a travel bassinet. It is very inexpensive, lightweight, and you can wear it as a backpack as your walking (or running franticly) around the airport. This was a life saver when Anastasia was under 7 months. It’s best to book seats with extra legroom (main cabin extra), so there is enough room for the bassinet on the ground by your feet.
When you’re flying internationally, especially overnight, it’s fabulous that your seats recline to a flat position. That way, your seat becomes a bed and you can sleep comfortably, while your baby is lying next to you.
One tip: Usually there is always an empty seat available, so when you board the plane ask the flight attendant right away if your child can have the seat. So never forget to bring your car seat! You strap your baby in, and she’s secure the entire flight. That’s happened to us on EVERY business/first class flight we’ve been on. I’ll admit, we’ve been pretty lucky finding empty seats!
This is the hardest part of traveling and there is not much you can do about it! The best advice I can give you: Try to get a flight that arrives in the afternoon. Your baby is going to be extremely cranky and tired after such a long trip, and will want to go to bed right away. If you arrive in the morning (and your baby did NOT sleep on the plane) and she ends up sleeping during the day, you will have to be up all night long. This is absolute torture! But if you arrive around 4pm, you keep her awake till around 8pm and she should fall fast asleep. Obviously it’s a rare occasion that your child will sleep perfectly throughout the night, without getting up at least once. It’s a lot better than forcing your child to sleep, and getting up every 30 minutes. That happened on our first trip, it was hell! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
Just in case you’re wondering, we are NOT spending a fortune on business or first class seats.
Thankfully, we have credit cards where you earn miles for every dollar spent. My husband is very good at finding special promotions when you can receive 3 to 6 miles on every dollar spent. We use our credit cards for almost every purchase we make. Trust me, that increases your mileage account very quickly. This way we can save money on airfare, and treat ourselves to a nice hotel.
I hope these traveling tips have helped you as much as they’ve helped me. Remember, try and learn from my mistakes, that’s what I’m here for!
I wish everyone blue skies and safe travels!