When Lachlan was born we had planned on going home to visit family at some point, but we wanted to make it a vacation for us too, especially since it wasn’t going to be easy to fly with a baby and all the gear we had to bring along. So we thought it would be fun to go to Cape May, like we have many times in the past, and have any family that could make the trip meet us there. We booked rooms in the same hotel months in advance and sure enough, the day came quicker than ever. The plan was the first half of the week, my parents would be there with us, and the second half of the week, Brian’s parents and brothers with their wives and kids would be there with us. That way, both grandparents could get equal amounts of time with Lach.
I have to admit, I was absolutely terrified of flying with a baby, especially since I hate flying even without a baby. For a short while, we considered renting a camper and driving there ourselves, that way we could bring the dogs with us and therefore save the money on boarding them (which isn’t cheap at all!!). This would also help us avoid any stink eye that people would shoot at us if he started crying on the flight. I never ever wanna be the person who is annoying someone else. But eventually, the older Lachlan got, and the more I realized that he was a pretty chill little guy and his cries aren’t piercing, I became less fearful of flying with him, and just plain normal scared like I usually am.
Brian’s mom let us use her airline miles to book Lach an actual seat on the plane since he doesn’t like to be held that long anyway, and we could bring the car seat and base with us too. We would be needing it anyway for the drive down to the shore. Yea we could’ve saved money and her miles and held him the entire time since kids under two fly for free, but this wasn’t something either of us wanted to do, and Lachlan would never get comfortable enough to fall asleep and he’d just become increasingly cranky and us increasingly stressed out. So it was an easy decision to just book a seat for him. Plus, no smelly stranger in the row with us!
We flew out on Friday morning, arrived in NY by dinner and stayed two days in our hometown to regroup, visited my grandma, and packed the car with the large gear that Brian’s mom had at her house already like the pack-n-play, a bumbo seat, and our beach chairs from when we left them there when we lived in PA. My mom also was kind enough to buy us a huge box of diapers, wipes, formula and food so that saved us space in our suitcases.
ALL THE GEAR OMG
My grandma met Lachlan for the first time and it was really special. She is his only great grandparent and for a while there, we weren’t sure she’d make it to July when our trip was to meet him. But she got better and was well enough to come outside and hold him on her lap.
We left for the beach on Monday morning, checked in, and met up with my parents who arrived there before us on their motorcycle. After lugging ALL THE GEAR to the beach, we spent some time there, Lachlan reluctantly napped in his little beach tent so we got a good 4 hour chunk of time on the beach, and we ate at a few restaurants, went to the boardwalk, did all the things.
Brian’s family arrived Thursday as mine was leaving. It was great to see my nieces, it’s been over 2 years since I saw the older two girls last, and the littlest one I hadn’t met in person before so it was lots of fun. And to see them interacting with Lachlan was awesome. He liked that they were eye level (for the most part) with him and he reached out to touch their faces and lick/kiss them haha. We also did all the things, went to more restaurants, back to the boardwalk, spent all day in the pool. Lachlan realized the pool is fun and was splashing and kicking his legs in the freakin cutest way. I took tons of pics.
We drove back to NY on Sunday, met up with some family friends so they could also meet Lachlan, unpacked ALL THE GEAR one last time for the last night spent there, and we flew back to CO on Monday.
In the end, as fun as it was, by the last day Brian and I were totally spent. Just over the lugging of ALL THE GEAR, the slathering of sun screen, the sand, the heat, the lumpy formula from the humidity. But I’m not complaining, we had a great time. I’m really glad we did it and hope to do something similar next year….though we may only spend a minimal amount of time at the beach instead of nearly an entire week.
As for Lachlan on the plane, he totally surprised us. He was amazing. On both flights, he slept most of the time, was a bit of a goofball, and the air pressure change didn’t seem to bother him. He fussed a little but it was nothing loud or attention drawing. If anything, the attention he drew was from random strangers playing peek-a-boo between the seats with him. And we got to pre-board which was really helpful in getting our car seat set up before the huge herd of travelers made their way on the plane behind us. It was basically a 7 minute head start.
But I gotta tell you, that first night spent back in your own bed with your own pillows after a long trip, is orgasmic.
Lessons I learned/tips/advice for traveling to the beach with a baby
(mostly for my own record when I look back on this post for next time we fly):
- Buy and bring those individually packaged formula packets on the plane for easy bottle making
- At the airport, if you carry the baby, you don’t have to go through the xray scan. Just a hand wipe thingy testing for explosive powder I guess that’s what it was for.
- You can bring liquid formula through security in amounts larger than 3 oz
- Bring the entire stroller through the airport, and check it at the very end before boarding the plane
- Rely on folks to let you borrow their larger gear at your destination if possible
- Get some sort of tent or shaded play pen for the baby to go in on the beach
- The baby will eat sand. This is ok.
- Bring some sort of cleaner or wipes to clean off dropped toys (at the airport, boardwalk, yuck)
- Make sure your bathing suit keeps your boobs in. Do a few practice bends to see what happens.
- Water diapers aren’t meant to keep pee in. This is new to me. And disgusting thinking of all the times we went in a pool with many babies this last year. They are meant to keep in solid turds only.
- Plan on lots of downtime for naps. This is a nice excuse to get out of doing all the things.
- Get a room with a kitchen if possible
- Get a room with a second room if possible so the baby can sleep in there and not be disturbed.
- If you get a second room, bring a baby monitor
- Strollers are awesome for paving a path for you and your crew on the boardwalk