Traveling ALONE with 3-month-old twins
When my boys were only 3 months old, I had to travel from St. Thomas, USVI to Halifax, Canada ALONE with my babies because the conditions where we were living in after the hurricanes were unsuitable for newborns. A little difficult crossing borders without passports and with Canadian safety laws against traveling alone with two under two. BUT WE DID IT! I wanted to share all three days of travel & my travel tips for other mamas, so here it is...
*Traveling with 1 suitcase (72 lbs), 1 carry–on, 1 diaper bag, 2 carseat bases, 2 carseats (14 lbs), 1 stroller, 1 XL blanket, 2 3–month–old babies (15 lbs each)
A breakdown of our day:
Saturday 1pm: fly on a private jet donated for women & children to get off of St. Thomas to Fort Lauderdale – one baby in a blanket on my lap, the other in the carseat next to me. Each had a bottle as we got on the plane (before take off) and slept almost the entire flight! Then they each woke up, grunted a lot, then surprised mommy with "number two" all over their clothes, which I had to change right there in front of everyone on the change mat in my lap – my sincerest apologies... Getting on and off the plane I had one baby in a carrier on my chest and the other in the carseat. Then at the hangar I had them both in carseats docked in the stroller with my diaper bag in the stroller and had help from friends with pulling my carryon, suitcase, and the carseat bases.
Saturday 3pm: arrive in Fort Lauderdale, get an Uber XL to hotel – quite easy, packed everything up, Uber cost about $50 USD and the drive was about 30 minutes
Saturday 4pm: check into hotel – they were very accommodating, they even offered to send a crib up to my room. I didn't use it, though... They slept next to me <3
Saturday 8pm: order Uber Eats – after Hurricane Irma & Hurricane Maria, this... was... awesome!
Sunday 7am: Do laundry in the hotel laundromat – which was surprisingly cheap. I just walked around the hotel at 7am with my boys until each load was done and they slept!
Sunday 8pm: order Uber Eats for breakfast – yummy, again...
Sunday 2pm: lunch on the Hollywood boardwalk with my aunt who happened to be in Miami!
Sunday 7pm: tacos for dinner with my friend from university who happened to live in Miami!
Sunday 3am: wake up, get babies ready
Sunday 4:30am: carry all of my stuff downstairs alone with no dolly or bellhop because security was being a jerk! Check out. Literally carry everything I had by myself with no help outside to parking lot and get an Uber XL to the airport.
Monday 5am: check in all of my luggage by myself, go through TSA carrying two babies alone and having them check EVERY can of formula and pack of wipes and diaper cream and baby bottle... UGHHHH
Monday 7:30am: Fly to JFK. The babies were chill, but this was wakeup time! So they both started to fuss a little, but I quickly made bottles, and fed them both. I may have changed their diapers as well – I did this in my lap since I clearly couldn't go to the bathroom. Then they played with me, smiled & giggled for a while and had their morning nap until we landed in New York.
Monday 10am: four–hour layover in JFK Delta. I got some Wendy's for lunch (I was NOT sitting in a restaurant to wait for food, but I hadn't eaten since the night before...), bought a journal, walked around a little bit until the boys started to fuss. I fed them at our gate, played with them for a while, then put them in the stroller and covered them with my blanket and rocked the stroller until they fell asleep. Easy peasy! I washed the bottles in the bathroom and I changed them both before getting on the plane to Bangor.
Monday 2pm: fly to Bangor, Maine. This flight kind of sucked the most of the whole trip because it wasn't really during a nap time and I was finally tired (I'd been up since 3am...), but they just wanted to hang out. We played and they giggled, but they weren't in the mood to eat and sleep and I was hitting rock bottom. I think I only had to change Kruz on this flight and toward the end they both fell asleep and I think I napped for a whole 10 minutes!
Monday 3:30pm: Arrive in Bangor, load up the Ford Flex! Unfortunately because we don't have passports for the babies yet and you can't fly alone with two babies under 2 in Canada, I had to land in Bangor. Which is an 8–hour drive from my dad's house in Nova Scotia. So we landed in Bangor, packed up the car, and went to fill up at a gas station. The boys had their 4pm bottle in the gas station parking lot and they slept until about 10pm. The border was easy, we traveled with their birth certificates, but they love moving. Once the car stopped, they wailed! Then we drove through the toll and hush until they got hungry around 10pm. Then they had their 10pm bottle. I tried to stay up as late as I could, but I fell asleep, too, after that bottle.
Monday 12am: Arrive!
MY TIPS TO OTHER MAMAS:
- Pack light, check as much as possible
- Travel with extra clothes for you
- Pack two backup outfits per baby in your diaper bag
- Extra diapers and wipes, and enough bibs and burp cloths
- Use a chest carrier in lieu of a stroller, if possible
- Believe in your baby. If you think your baby is going to cry the entire flight, you'll be on edge expecting it. And guess what? When mommy's on edge, baby's on edge!
- Play everything out in your head ahead of time so that you know what to expect in every situation.
- Travel with a large blanket to keep baby/babies comfy and snug to you
- Have formula or breastmilk prepared –– Have a formula dispenser ready and bottles pre–filled with water, then have extra water bottles OR if you're breastfeeding have an insulated lunch bag with ice packs and frozen breastmilk then ask for hot water from restaurants or flight attendants and put the bag of breastmilk in the hot water to thaw AND nurse as much as possible so that you don't lose your supply.
- Stay calm in the TSA lineup, it'll be over before you know it!
- Know your babies' strengths & weaknesses. For me, Stefon really likes to be swaddled and rocked, while Kruz likes to be left alone to fall asleep, but likes to have a fuzzy blanket on his cheek. So when we were flying, it was easiest for me to feed Kruz first, put him in the carseat and let him fall asleep while I rocked and cuddled Stefon. Babies like to feel your heartbeat and your warmth, so if you need to unzip your sweater and put your baby directly on your chest and crouch down a bit so he can lay there unbothered, then do it. Do it for your sanity, his comfort, and the peace for the other passengers.
Relax, mama! Traveling with baby is only as easy as you make it. Be sure to play out your plans ahead of time over and over so that when you're sitting on the plane and both babies are screaming for milk, you are ready to hand daddy a bottle and one for yourself and keep babies cool & collected. Plus, being on your chest the whole day, they'll probably sleep the whole time anyways!