Airports, airplanes, airfare with babies

First, I love to travel. In theory.

When I used to travel for business, I found the calm hours of the flight a respite from my otherwise-busy life. I could zone out and let the pilot and flight attendants do their respective things and I would wake up where I needed to be.

When I used to travel for fun, Alec had a name for me. I suspect that “Vacation Heather” was the reason he wanted to marry me: All the good stuff and very little of the control freak. Of course that’s because all the lists had been made, double-checked, printed, and crossed off by the time we had left the house.

But now I have two little ones and I’m more than a little bit scared. Will there be screaming or pooping in excess? Will my neighbors be helpful or critical? Will I want to shrink away and pretend that these kids aren’t mine?

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to the East Coast to see my family and get to know my future-sister-in-law. I flew “alone” with my almost-four month old on a red eye flight. He was fantastic on the outbound leg. We honestly didn’t need to get out of our seats once. He slept the entire time and the diaper changes were well-timed and not-at-all catastrophic.

So I figured that the return flight would have all the calamities.

Our return trip today followed a very rough night of excessive waking and pooping. So I started off grumpy. Plus my mom’s house is lacking in the area of what I consider to be real breakfast food. A second strike against us. Milo is too floppy to sit but too big to comfortably lie down in my lap in a crowded economy/coach seat. At one point, he nearly kicked over three full cups of ice water. I had to change his poopy diapers Twice Before Take off! Needless to say, the people adjacent to me were not loving us (I was window seat, they were in matching outfits). I could go on and on about how I stared at families of three and wondered just how they manage to do it or the woman I saw traveling alone with her three well-behaved angels or how I kept wishing for helpfulness rather than that look of fear in people’s eyes seeing me approach with a newborn, but I don’t have the brain capacity to be clever.

So, I will leave off with a brief round up of resources. Feel free to add your own observations, tips, and links for traveling with babies and toddlers in the comments!!

Here are a few handy links for my reference and yours:
> Rookie Moms tips for flying alone with baby
> Rookie Moms suggestions for other travel with baby
> Parent Hacks tips for entertaining little ones during airport delays
> guide to which airports have play zones (requires an email, feel free to give a fake one)

In a little more than a month, the four of us (in three paid seats) will be taking another red eye to my brother’s wedding across the country. Please share any other tips right here and Happy summer travels!