MADDY'S FIRST TRIP!

Not going to lie, I thought we were being a bit overambitious to want to travel with our 8-week-old baby. We didn’t buy our tickets until a week before we were going to leave because every day I would bounce between “yes, we can do this!” and “omg no way in hell we're going to make it out alive.” Even the night before we were going to leave, Maddy was having a huge crying fit and I told Danny, “omg let’s just cancel our tickets. We can’t do this.” 

Was it stressful? Yes. Was most of it self-induced stress? Probably. 

Before we had Maddy, I TOTALLY was one of those passengers who would be sitting near a crying baby and think to myself “ughhhh how do I always end up sitting near the crying kids??"
...And now I’m the one with the crying child on the plane.

For Maddy's first trip, we flew to Las Vegas to visit my brother and see his new place. It still kind of feels like a dream that we actually flew there and came back. We DID IT!

Adjusting Maddy to the time difference was a bit tricky since we wanted to keep her sleep schedule the same as her bedtime at home. We normally start getting her ready for bed around 7:30pm in Chicago and get her down for the night around 8:00pm which meant that we had to start getting her ready for bed by 5:30pm in Vegas. We clearly did not go out to eat at a restaurant during our stay there. 

Any parents out there have tips on how they do it with their kids? Do you guys normally keep your kids on the same schedule back at home especially if you're only gone for a couple of days? How do you guys manage to go out to eat at restaurants when you travel with newborns? Or do you?

Since this was our first time traveling with a newborn, I wanted to mention a couple items that we found important/helpful to have. We traveled with the Lotus Travel Crib for the first time, and it was clutch! Shoutout to Haenah and Mike for recommending this to us! It's SO incredibly easy to set up and take down, and you can even wear it like a backpack once it's packed up. Maddy was able to sleep in it just fine during the whole weekend and will be able to play in it in the future once she's older! This will definitely be traveling with us on our future trips. It is a bit pricey but we were able to get it as a gift through our baby registry so I would recommend adding it to your registry as well!

The diaper bag dispenser was also clutch for us during our travel especially when we were out and weren't near a bathroom/trashcan. I think it's also just courteous to everyone else by throwing the dirty diaper in one of these before throwing it into the trashcan so the entire place doesn't smell of pee and poop. 

The Infant Optics baby monitor also came in clutch since we were able to keep an eye on Maddy while we were doing other things around the house. It's definitely not a necessity but it gave us a peace of mind to be able to see her and tend to her if needed when we were on different floors of the house.

Our friends also recommended getting a bag for our car seat when we travel to prevent it from getting extremely dirty since it will be tossed around. We ended up ordering the red gate check-in bag which did the job, but we may invest in the heavier duty padded travel bag in the future. The benefit of the red gate check-in bag though is that it folds up into a little pouch, and our Chicco Keyfit car seat has a little storage area in the front where we can toss the red pouch in when we don't need it! It's also 1/3 of the price of the other travel bag, but it did get beat up already after 1 trip.

What are some of your must-haves when you travel with kids?

A few things worth mentioning to our fellow travelers:

1) You can travel with breast milk and baby doesn't need to be with you for the moms who may be pumping and traveling solo! Just let them know before you go through security as they will probably make you take it out if it's more than 3.4oz so they can test the liquid. Ice packs are also ok if you are using it to keep breast milk cold! I also print out the TSA travel procedures and keep it in my purse just in case someone questions me. ;)

2) Don't forget to bring a copy of baby's birth certificate since we had to get a Boarding Verification Documentation for Maddy at the Southwest counter before going through security.

3) Southwest allows you to bring on our car seat at no additional charge only if it is NOT a full flight. We asked at the counter once we were at our gate to see how many seats were left to determine if we would check-in our car seat at the gate or bring it on with us. Regardless, don't forget to get your check-in tag for your stroller at the counter before boarding! Our car seat base did NOT fit in the seat btw so we just stored that overhead and just buckled in our actual car seat to the chair. If it IS a full flight, you will need to hold baby during the flight. 

4) If you have baby in a baby carrier, you CANNOT have baby in it during take off and landing. You need to hold baby in your arms. This kind of sucked for us since it's a battle getting Maddy into the baby carrier itself since she'll squirm and fuss. Once we took her out of the baby carrier, it was game over for us and she never went back to sleep, but I know some babies sleep great in their baby carriers! Since you have to take baby out of the carrier during take off and landing, I would use this time to breastfeed baby/give her pacifier/feed her a bottle to help with their ears popping.

5) We've personally been finding it helpful for us to carry a snack bottle of 1-2 ounces of breast milk to give to baby in case she gets super fussy if it isn't time for her next feeding yet. Maybe you'll find this helpful too!

Everyone around us was super gracious and encouraging. We bought earplugs to pass out to people sitting around us since we weren't sure how Maddy would do. On our way there, 2 older women in their 60s were telling us about their kids and how they were on their way to Vegas for a girl's trip with their daughters and how one day I'll be able to have a girl's trip with my daughter. They sat close to us on the plane and when we landed they shouted, "You did so well, Madelyn! Good job! What a good baby!" I'm beyond thankful for their kindness. What a humbling reminder to myself that I should always be kind because you never know how much the other person may need it.

Thankful for my brother and Amy for being so patient and hospitable towards us the whole weekend. Even though we were limited with a newborn, it was nice to spend time with family and to just be away from busy Chicago life for the weekend. Here's a few pictures from our trip! Can't stop gushing over Maddy in her cute little swimsuit from Silvia even though she looks so angry and scared in all the pictures haha! Love you, baby girl, and looking forward to more trips with you.