It’s amazing, the difference a year or so can make.
We’re a frequent-flying family. Not because we just love to travel. Quite the opposite, in fact, we’re quite the bunch of homebodies. But we live more than 1,000 miles away from our families, so travel we do. I’ve lost count, but I think we’re up to something like 11 or 12 round-trip plane rides in their first 22 months of life.
The first trip, at four-and-a-half months, was so nerve-wracking. The bucket carseats and double Snap & Go. The bottles and formula and diapers and Bjorns and pacifiers. The Boppies and swaddling blankets and bouncy seats and swings. The total lack of sleeping through the night. The total lack of predictable nap schedule. So much planning. So much gear for such little babies.
Now, at nearly two years old, it has only gotten easier. We’ve become expert travelers. Our carry-on bags have gotten smaller (and the kids can, at least some of the time, carry them on their own!). We’ve got our strategy for getting through security down to a science. We swear by our GoGo Kidz Travelmates. I can pack everything at the last minute, since all we really need to bring is clothes, favorite blankets, and maybe a couple of sippy cups and diapers.
OK, sure, it was made easier this time around because we were staying with friends who had a same-aged child and already had two pack & plays. But that aside, this was still an incredibly easy trip. Sure, the kids are mobile and may want to walk up and down the aisles of the plane. But they can also watch the TV on the back of the seat in front of them (thank you, JetBlue). Sure, there were cancellations and delays and we didn’t arrive at our destination until hours past their regularly scheduled bedtime. But they were fine. They were interested in and entertained by their surroundings. (I think the ride on the yellow Hertz shuttle bus was a highlight for Daniel.)
Being in a new location was no big deal. There was a place to sleep, and we kept to their normal schedule as much as possible. They didn’t require high chairs for meals, exersaucers for entertainment, or really any of the specialized (and huge!) baby equipment. They’re active toddlers, of course, and a non-child-safe environment would have been harder. But overall, everything is just so much more adaptable.
So, moms of infants, take heart. While there are always tricky parts to each age, lots of things really do just keep on getting better.