NYC Family Vacation + TIPS & TRICKS on Flying with an INFANT!
Happy FRI-YAY! This time last week we were getting on our first flight with Jack and we were terrified. We just got home from a five-day trip in NYC with our 3-month old and it was an adventure to say the least. We figured it could go a few different ways and definitely prepared for the worst. We are lucky because Jack is pretty laid back in general, so we hoped for the best! I took your questions on my instagram earlier this week and I’m going to answer everything from breastfeeding a baby on-the-go, to navigating flights, to making the most out of your trip even with a little one in tow. Let’s dive into this.
NYC Family Vacation + TIPS & TRICKS on Flying with an INFANT!
This post is going to be a long one, so grab a snack and tuck in!! I am going to share a quick recap + itinerary of our 48 hours in NYC, and then chat all about traveling and specifically: flying with an infant! If you want to get down to the traveling with a baby part – feel free to skip right over our recap!
*note: we took the train into Grand Central every day because when I’m in New York, I stay with my aunt and uncle in Greenwich, CT! They live about 45-50 min by train from the city and we save all the $$ by doing that. We do have to get up earlier to get places, but honestly it’s worth it to us! PLUS we get to see my family and I love that.
48 HOURS IN NYC:
Day 1: Hop on Hop off bus tour, Top of the Rock, Battery Park + Twin Tower Memorial
10:00am – got off the train at Grand Central Terminal and picked up our tickets at Top of the Rock
10:30am – got to the meeting spot for our Hop on Hop off tour in Times Square, grabbed breakfast
11:00am – 1:00pm – Hop on Hop off tour UPTOWN
1:30pm – bought souvenirs at the local NYC gift shop in Times Square, and toured the M&M store
2:00pm – Hop on Hop off tour DOWNTOWN
3:00pm – explore Battery Park, the Riverside and the Twin Tower memorial
3:30pm – get back on the bus to finish the downtown tour
4:45pm – get off the bus and head to Rockefeller Center for Top of the Rock
5:00pm – view the GORGEOUS city skyline at dusk
6:00pm – train back to Greenwich
Day 2: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park Zoo
9:00am – got off the train at GCT and headed to the GCT subway stop (the 5 line)
9:25am – took the subway down to Battery Park
10:00am – got on the ferry to head to the Statue of Liberty
11:45am – had lunch with Lady Liberty herself
12:00pm – got on the ferry to go to Ellis Island
2:00pm – got on the ferry to go back to NYC
2:30pm – took the subway up to Columbus Circle from Battery Park
3:00pm – explored Central Park and went to Central Park Zoo
5:00pm – train back to Greenwich
This was an AWESOME way for Adam to get an overview of some of the best things the city has to offer. We HIGHLY recommend at least starting with the bus tour because it gives you a fantastic overview of the city as a whole, and then you kind of get your bearings on where things are and what there is to do around town (like there is ever a shortage lol). Plus, seeing the city from the top of the Rockefeller Center also gives you an appreciation for just HOW BIG New York is and how amazing of a city it is.
TRAVELING WITH A BABY:
I’m going to do this portion Q+A style with all the questions I had while we were traveling. Here we go:
Did you nurse while traveling? How did you manage that with such a full schedule?
I did! I breastfed the entire time we were on our trip! I looked at it as earning my mom badge of honor at this time. I was SO NERVOUS because I had never nursed in public before but I knew I had to feed my baby and with a full itinerary, there wasn’t going to be time to find a bathroom or mother’s lounge in New York City (because they basically don’t exist). I HIGHLY recommend purchasing an Udder Cover. It is THE BEST nursing cover I’ve tried because it is long and wide enough that I could switch sides without flashing the world and it had a rigid top seam so that I could see down at Jack’s face and he could see mine. My problem with other covers is I couldn’t see to help him relatch if he needed help, and this completely eliminated that issue. It’s easy to fold and put in your diaper bag, and they come in tons of colors.
As for nursing with such a full schedule, I learned to nurse as I went. I tried to time it with the times we would be sitting down (on a train, a bus, a subway, etc) because it was a thousand times easier than way. Jack is still eating every 3 hours right now, so I just tried to be cautious of that. If he goes too much past that time, he gets INSANELY fussy. There were some times (like in line for the ferry going to the Statue of Liberty) where Jack got hungry before I could sit down somewhere. When that happened, I put my cover on and nursed him standing in line. I got some funny stares, but it worked for us and we didn’t have a screaming baby. There were a few times I didn’t use the cover because I had big sweaters, but by the end I was more comfortable nursing and could do it faster and without nip slipping.
My biggest takeaway and advice: nurse when you have to nurse. Do your best to minimize distractions, ignore what other people may say or think, and feed your baby. Your baby will respond to your cues so if you are confident, they will be, too.
Did you pump? How did you store your milk?
I did pump! I brought my Elvie pumps with me (you can use Taylor15 right now to get 15% off!). They were amazing. They tuck right in my shirt and I could nurse on the go. I pumped in the morning to relieve pressure from him sleeping overnight and in the evening when we wanted Adam to give him a bottle. I took the bottle I pumped in the morning with me on our daily adventures just in case we needed to give Jack a bottle if I couldn’t nurse him. I have the Freshly Picked diaper bag which has an insulated side pocked where I put an ice pack and the pumped breastmilk. It kept it cold the whole day, and I didn’t worry about it spoiling while we were out. I have it in the shade Stone and it’s PERFECT. As far as storing any bottles we didn’t bring with us, we kept them in the fridge at my aunts and then carried them home in an insulated lunch box with lots of ice packs. They stayed cold enough to pop in the freezer when we got back to the house! If you are in a hotel, I would request a room with a refrigerator at the very least, but hopefully a freezer so you can store your ice packs!
How did you fly with a baby? Any tips on getting through security?
We wore Jack through security. I used my Baby Tula free-to-grow baby carrier. Adam and I both have one we brought with us. They will let you wear the baby through the scanner so you don’t have to disturb them if they’re asleep. Make sure you feed them right before so that they are calm and happy/sleepy. Jack didn’t make any fuss going through security going there or coming home. The security workers are also really nice when it comes to flying with a baby and they made it very easy.
What did you do for Jack’s ears?
We nursed on take-off. I heard it worked to pop their ears if they are swallowing, and it seemed to work! It also put Jack to sleep which was ideal. He nursed and then slept through the entire first flight. Unfortunately, on our second flight on the way home he woke up before we got on the plane and was MAD. Like ear-splitting screams mad. I know our entire flight was internally cringing (and externally glaring at us). He cried uncontrollably all the way until our airplane started moving. Once it started moving, I was able to get him calmed down enough to nurse and he finally fell asleep. I will say – I cried with him while he screamed on the plane from embarrassment/stress/frustration. Nothing Adam and I did was working to get him to stop crying and I was SO mortified that my baby was making so much noise. I was also sad that I didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it for him. Just know, if you are a parent with a crying baby, you are not alone, it is the worst and you will make it through. I FEEL FOR YOU. Swaddle that sweet little baby up and try your best to reassure them that it’s going to be ok. I think the best thing is for them to be asleep for as much of the flight as possible. I did not nurse Jack on landing for any of our flights because I didn’t want to wake him up and he seemed to do just fine.
How did you manage naps and sleeping while not at home?
This was a tough one. Naps were hit or miss while we were out – but we tried to make sure that he slept for at least an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Usually if Adam wore him in his carrier, he fell right asleep. This helped a LOT to not have a fussy baby. At night, we religiously put him to sleep at the same time every single night. He goes to bed at 9-10pm and we didn’t miss that once. He slept just like normal except on the last night when he woke up 2 or 3 times instead of his usual 1. When we got home, he slept 11 hours straight (only waking up briefly to dream feed) the first night. Naps might be hard to keep the same, but I think making sure they stay on their bedtime ritual is most important.
What is a must-have when packing to travel with a baby?
My TOP things we brought with us for Jack were:
Wavhello SoundBub Portable Noise Machine
RockerMama portable rocking chair
Udder Covers nursing cover
At least double the amount of outfits you think you’ll need (Jack had THREE blowouts in two days)
Soft blankets to wrap them up in on the plane
Did Jack cry on the plane? How did you deal with that?
Yep. He did on our second flight. I cried with him if that tells you anything at all. It was the worst. I won’t sugar coat that. Eventually, Jack did tired himself out enough to nurse and fall asleep. I think the best thing you can do is hold them tightly, rock them if you can, or walk the aisle of the plane. I know Jack was mostly just tired from our trip and way overstimulated. I also don’t believe you need to do anything like give treats to neighboring passengers or flight attendants. People have differing views on this but in my opinion: it’s a public space like any other. I don’t love that the person behind me took their shoes off and I smelled feet the entire flight. I don’t love that the lady a few rows up is drunk with her friends and they’re all yelling and laughing loudly. But that’s what happens when you book ticket on a public plane. My baby has just as much right to sit on the plane as anyone else. And if he cries, it certainly stinks but I guarantee it’s worse for the parent than anyone else. Just focus on your baby and take deep breaths and love them harder.
Any extra tips?
Be brave! You can do it!!! I really loved traveling with Jack. I know he won’t remember this trip, but his dad and I will and we have such beautiful pictures now to remember our first trip as a family of 3. It taught Adam and I a lot about parenting as a team with our baby in public spaces, learning to recognize when one of us needs a break and realizing how different life will be traveling with kids from now on! It also reinforced in our minds that we want to travel as many places as we can with our kids. I believe it helps babies to see different faces and smell different smells and see more than just the inside of their home.
My last tip would be try to structure your days so that you do have a bit of downtime / time for naps and sleeping. Eating you can often do on the go, but babies NEED to sleep. They need rest to be happy and pleasant.
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
I hope this helped you 1. plan a fun trip to NYC and 2. fly confidently with your baby. You don’t have to stop traveling just because you have kids!!! TRAVEL, baby! Kids will adapt. You may have to adjust your schedule just a little bit.
Have you traveled with kids before? What are you best tips?