Babywearing and Traveling: A Perfect Match

by drmariablois on August 10, 2008

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We are about to leave for our annual trek across the country to visit grandparents. I have been busy packing and trying to figure out how we plan to corral four children, including an infant and a young toddler, in the airport while we are on the go. I have been knee-deep considering borrowing friend’s double strollers, sit and stand strollers, gadgets to roll our toddler carseat making it into a stroller and such. It seems like there are so many options out there for transporting small children, but yikes, they all seem so heavy! How the heck do you manage all the kid-toting as well as the luggage-toting?

So. I have been thinking about soft baby carriers. Because, heck, I’m sure that is what got this whole babywearing business started in the first place: what to do with baby while on the go… There must be some collected pool of knowledge out there!

Now, usually, for a baby under a year, I bring my trusty ring sling. I like that I can see my baby and she can see me. I can keep her entertained by giving her sips of water and easy finger foods likes cheerios. When we have to pass through security, I can quickly and easily pop her out, send the ring sling through the scanner, and get her resettled on the other side. Nursing in a ring sling is easy and discrete for me, something I always appreciate in a busy airport or a crowded airplane.

Ok, so in the past, for a toddler, I have usually preferred a two-shouldered carrier that is quick and easy like my mei tai. Hmmm…This time I will be traveling with both an infant under one and a toddler ** clears throat, laughs nervously ** So this is my plan: I am thinking maybe an umbrella stroller (with a back-up mei tai tucked away to use if necessary) for the toddler, a ring sling for the baby, and just insisting on hand holding to keep track of the five and seven year old. DH can manage the carry-ons/ luggage/ carseats, etc.

What do you think? Any suggestions? How have you handled traveling with little ones in tow?

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drmariablois (12 Posts)


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

phdinparenting August 10, 2008 at 8:01 am

I think your plan sounds like a good one. Another way to keep the older kids focused and also reduce the luggage carrying burden on you and your husband is to get them to carry their own stuff. Even with our 3 year old, we have gotten him to carry his own backpack with his toys and books for the flight and he rolled his own suitcase to the check in.

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Noah August 10, 2008 at 11:27 am

We use a big stroller to haul the carseats and carry ons in more than the kids. Then we have it for when we’re out and about during our vacation and the kids (mostly my 3 1/2 yo) are too tired to walk. He’s 35lbs, so wearing him is difficult, to say the least.

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CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) August 10, 2008 at 12:06 pm

I have two children. In airports what we did most recently was a gate-check stroller for the 3 year old and the ergo baby carrier for the 11 month old. My husband wore the baby on his front and a back pack on his back, I had a back pack and 2 rolling suitcases. My husband pushed the stroller. We made it to South East Asia.

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CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) August 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm

For car seats, I would look into the Ride Safer Travel Vest (for car travel once you arrive) and the CARES safety harness (for the airplane). These will both save a lot of space and trouble. You can check the baby car seat.

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Theresa August 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I just last week returned from the Caribbean to Eastonia via 3 flights, 1 of them trans-atlantic with my 8 month old. I used my Babyhawk Mei Tai the entire time and I don’t know what I would have done without it. With all the suitcases and carry-ons hubby and I had, there were simply no hands left to push a stroller. I nursed her in those long airport lines with ease and discretion, and she was quite happy to just hang out while we waited and waited and waited, and lined up, and filled out forms, and waited, and lined up some more. And of course, there were the many compliments about how cool my babyhawk was :)

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Lynn August 12, 2008 at 10:18 am

What we found useful was to put the baby in a carrier and put a carseat in “go go wheels” from One Step Ahead. You can wheel a toddler around the airport in this! Very helpful. The wheels can stay on when the carseat is strapped to the airplane seat or carseat.

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pixie August 12, 2008 at 11:48 am

Good luck with the trip! I think your plan sounds very workable. We’ve only travelled with one toddler and I found the ring sling great for hopping on and off buses and trains, especially as she likes to be up, then down, then up again. But ring slings can get heavy when toddlers fall asleep in them!

Let us know how it goes :)

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Montse June 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I use my Moby Wrap when we travel and I couldn’t do without it. The good news is I never have to take her out of it to go through security. They lightly pat her down and that’s it.
I highly recommend baby wearing while traveling. It makes the experience so much easier and the best part, my baby stays snug and secure next to me!

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Jessica October 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

My husband has been working overseas for 3 years so we have done a lot of long trips on airplanes, trains, buses and taxis. I have used my Rolz and Sassy wrap for various ages, and am now using it with my newborn.
When we travel we use a wrap for the smallest child (up until about age 2). I prefer a wrap over a carrier because I can leave it on me while the baby is out and it doesn’t become one more thing to carry. For the older child (2-4 years) we use a small stroller and check it at the airplane gate. It’s not an umbrella stroller but very close to it.
The older child is capable of walking on their own, but we’ve found that going through customs, etc. it’s easier if you can contain them, give them a snack, and keep them happy while standing in line. Also it’s hard to carry all the extra carry-on bags. When we have our big suitcases (up to 8 of them) while checking in at the airport we sometimes fold the stroller and put it on the trolly with the suitcases so that each of us can push a trolley.
I have also done a 2 hour flight/9 hour layover/13 hour flight on my own with a 1 and 3 yr old using the wrap and stroller. It worked very well-much better than I thought it might!

Here are the things that we find important about a travelling stroller:
1) Small. Not just folds up nice, but has to be narrow because when you travel (especially in asia) if it is very wide you won’t fit through doors and aisles. Also needs to be light to carry.
2) Has storage underneath.
3) Has a bit of a canopy on top. Doesn’t have to be big because you can always extend it with blankets, but you need something. I have found raincovers to be useless and take up way too much space-fleece blankets work pretty well and dry out very quickly.
4) Needs to lay flat. Not for sleeping purposes but to change the baby’s diaper. Most places we’ve been have nowhere to change a baby and train/bus stations are pretty dirty so you can’t lay them on the floor.

Most important of all is to leave lots of time so you don’t have to rush. Always count on someone having to pee just when you get to the front of the line! On a side note use a pull-up as long as you can even on a kid who’s been trained for years.
Make sure to take time to look at the whole travelling experience from a kid’s point of view. It’s amazing the things that they notice.
Travelling with little kids can be fun!

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