Traveling with a 6 year old and a 6 month old
This past holiday season was the first time we traveled by plane (and long car rides) with the new baby. My six-year-old first traveled when she was three months old and became a pretty good traveler by the time she was a toddler. I even started traveling solo with her for my summer trips to the East Coast. Here are some things that helped us immensely on our trip:
Ergo to the rescue
We brought a stroller with us (an affordable stroller system by Cosco), but ended up using it to haul our carry-on luggage instead of the baby because she prefers being held. Thankfully, as long as she was in the Ergo carrier, she was fine. Of all the carriers I’ve tried, I like the Ergo the best. I’ve had some friends say their babies didn’t like being in carriers, but after talking to them regarding it, we unscientifically concluded it’s because those friends had large chests, which made it uncomfortable for the baby in the carrier. I have friends who have their favorite carrier brands, but it’s all a personal decision. Either way, you choose what’s best for you and your baby. For us, it was the Ergo.
My husband and I passed the baby back and forth to give each other a break. But for the most part, she was pretty chill and enjoyed the cuddle time.
Kindle Fire for Kids
In the past, we used our iPad as a way to entertain our kid on the plane. Now that she’s into games, the iPad became annoying because all the “free” games contain advertisement interruptions every few minutes. So when we give her a time limit, she complains, saying she didn’t get enough time to play. I totally get it, and wanted to find a better way. So, she got her Christmas present from us early, which was an Amazon Kid’s Kindle Fire. I held off getting her one for awhile, but with two kids now, I felt it was finally time to get one. I like that there are no ads, it’s kid-centric, and has a “worry free guarantee,” where it is replaced for free if it breaks. I also like the parent controls. We set “wake-up” and “shut-off” hours, and made it so she has to read for 30 minutes before doing anything else. I definitely feel a lot better letting her use this instead of my iPad, so it’s a win-win. She was thoroughly entertained on the flight and car rides. My mom gave her some cute headphones that made the whole cabin sparkle!
Pouch Foods and Washable Bibs
Another convenience item is pouch food. My (then) 6-month-old started eating solids, so it was still pretty new to her. I am not loyal to any brand in particular, I just try to buy something with veggies that is organic. The Happy Tot food pouches happened to be on sale, so I bought those.
Someone gifted me some leather baby bibs, similar to these. They’re great because they pack well, and stay on with no problem, and are sturdy and wipeable.
Portable booster seat
Since we were traveling with an infant and had to bring her carseat, we didn’t want to travel with another bulky seat for the 6-year old. Luckily, there are portable booster seat options available. Some friends like the mifold grab and go booster seat, but we purchased the bubble bum inflatable booster seat. It did the job and saved us some money because we didn’t have to rent it from the car rental company.
Lightweight Play Crib
My parents bought a portable play crib, which was a lifesaver for our trip. I originally told my mom not to worry about it because the baby isn’t crawling. Boy was I wrong. The little fort we set up on the ground with pillows around a futon didn’t do much to contain her because she decided to start scooting like an inchworm as soon as we arrived! If we had to travel to a destination that didn’t have one, I would definitely get one of those lightweight ones, such as the Lotus Travel Crib or the more affordable Dream on Me Travel Light Playard. Thankfully, the hotels we stayed at in Florida supplied a pack and play or crib.
Teether Necklace for Parent
My friend Claudia gave me a teether necklace before my trip. I am so thankful for it, because it provided solid entertainment for my teething child during the flight and saved my hair getting pulled. I even made my husband wear it when he held the baby, because it distracted her away from his hoodie strings.
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