Five weeks ago was a milestone event for our family: Kadence took not only her first trip to the racetrack, but also made her first flight to Colorado. Going into this trip I was nervous. Very nervous. I did not want to be that person who had a screaming infant on the plane for a three and a half hour flight. The good news? There were two other kids on the plane who handled those duties for me. And my baby? Slept like a champ the whole flight, but to be clear — not all trips with Kadence go that smoothly.
It was nothing short of a miracle to walk off that plane without hearing so much as one small cry from her the entire first trip. I felt a tremendous amount of relief and appreciation for my daughter as I walked down the tarmac nearly four hours after we had originally boarded the plane in North Carolina with no issues. It appeared to be a seamless first airplane experience for Kadence. (FYI, they wouldn’t all go this smoothly. To date she’s been on six flights, some good experiences, some bad.) Just a few hours prior to that original flight, a woman in the security line called me “brave” for bringing a two month old on a plane. Encouraging. Maybe she was right, but our only option to be together as a family that week was for me to make the trip to Denver solo to meet Blake in Colorado for a few days and then all of us fly to Kansas for race weekend. At the bottom of this post are some things I learned that made the overall experience easier both on the plane and at the airport. I’ve also linked all the items I’ve used to make traveling with Kadence simpler so you can find your own.
One of the biggest challenges of her first trip occurred when I was checking out of our Kansas hotel and waiting on the valet car. Kadence erupted into cries from what I could only assume was the need for a new diaper. I attempted to stroll the baby and my roller bag to the nearest restroom while Kadence proceeded to cry loudly and uncontrollably. This was mildly embarrassing considering there was a lobby full of people turning to see what pathetic Mom couldn’t control her kid. I failed miserably at seamlessly getting the stroller, the bag, and myself into the nearest facility to find a changing table and started crying myself in tandem with the baby. A woman cleaning the restroom looked at me with a sympathetic, but ‘this woman is crazy’ face. Blake was already at the racetrack for the day and I was having a meltdown worse than my two-month-old. F**** you, pregnancy hormones. I almost didn’t come to the track out of sheer frustration and concern the day wouldn’t get any better. The good news? After her new diaper, Kadence was quiet, she made it out to pit road for pre-race ceremonies in time to meet her new NASCAR family and Blake’s team won the race that day. Right on cue — once she and I got to Victory Lane, she promptly shit her diaper. You win some, you lose some.
Items that Make Travel with a Baby Easier (find your own by clicking the names)
— LILLEbaby cloth carrier: When I first received this carrier in the mail, I took it out of the packaging to discover it was really just a giant piece of cloth and I immediately wanted to return it. Assembling it onto your body was nothing short of an origami experiment with cloth versus paper. I watched the instructional videos at least five times before I had the assembly part down. It can be challenging to get right, but once you DO get it down, it’s a much more comfortable option and a lot less bulky than most carriers on the market.
— Munchkin Formula Dispenser: This made transporting powder formula easier by allowing you to put pre-measured formula in three separate dividers. (Thank you to a certain NASCAR public relations rep duo who gave me this tip!)
— Dr. Brown’s 4-Ounce Baby Bottles: We tried several different bottle varieties, but found these worked best for Kadence. Now attempting to hold a crying baby, while opening your diaper bag to get out said dispenser, bottles, and mixing them up is a whole other challenge in itself, and I can’t help you there. My suggestion would be: BRING YOUR HUSBAND.
— Skip Hop Grab & Go Double Bottle Bag: A perfect way to store pre-made bottles or all your bottle supplies.
— Skip Hop Chelsea Backpack: A classic & sleek bag for a modern mama. I take mine everywhere and you can’t even tell it’s a diaper bag.