Henry is 12 weeks old today and he has been to 10 states, almost a state per week of life! To be fair, most of them we just quickly drove through, but he's already lived in two states, flown in an airplane, and driven across the country. He's quite the well traveled baby.
Henry's first big trip was to Texas when he was five and a half weeks old. My mom flew out to California and then together we flew to Texas on a nonstop flight. Henry was much better behaved than I expected. The best tool for all you breastfeeding moms is your boobs. I know that sounds silly, but it's the truth. I've found that my boobs are the best solution for most situations. Anytime Henry is upset I just pop one out and he's a happy camper. Thank goodness you can't overfeed a breastfed baby!
Henry actually slept for a lot of the flight and cried for maybe a combined minute (at times when I couldn't get my boob out fast enough). We also managed to do an in seat diaper change on my lap. The best advice I can give other than "use your boobs," is "travel with someone who you trust and is helpful." My mom is amazing! She grabbed bags for us, held Henry when I needed to go to the bathroom, Lysol wiped our whole seating area, helped me get situated to breastfeed. Everything I needed she was there for. I'll see if she's willing to be rented out :)
Probably the biggest "challenge" of the whole trip was that Henry refused to sleep without me. I could have forced him into the bassinet (it was mine from when I was a baby), but I'm all about following my baby's cues. The upside is that I was staying in a hotel with my family with two adjoining rooms, one of which had two queen beds. I trust myself to sleep with Henry, but don't like sharing a bed with him and anyone else. So, Henry and I shared a bed during our time there.
As part of our trip, he met my grandparents, his great grandparents. My grandmom hasn't been in good health for a while now and can't talk. Even without words, though, she could communicate her joy. It was beautiful to see how much love she had for him and for me, her first granddaughter giving her her first great grandson. At one point while I was breastfeeding Henry, she pointed at herself, then my mom, then me, and then Henry, highlighting the special bond between us--she having breastfed my mom, who breastfed me, who is not breastfeeding Henry. I am so glad that she got to meet my son, and know she feels more complete as a result.
Now, for our road trip, our little trooper was forced to move cross country from his home in California to his new home in Alabama at only 10 and a half weeks old. Due to a mistake on the part of our moving company, we had to leave on Friday evening rather than first thing Friday morning like we were planning on. We drove to Needles, CA on our first night and then started early the next day and made it to Albuquerque, NM. On day three, we drove to Oklahoma City, OK, and on day four we spent the night in Mississippi, just outside of Memphis, TN. On Tuesday midmorning we arrived at our new apartment in Alabama (where we are still awaiting the arrival of all of our stuff).
Here's where road tripping is much harder than flying...no boob. On the plane I can freely breastfeed at Henry's demand, which is what he is used to. Anytime he wants it, he gets it, except when we are driving. That fact, accompanied by the stage he is in which makes him hate car rides, made the trip a little more challenging. To help compensate for the lack of on demand breastfeeding, we bought a car adapter that allowed me to plug in and use my breast pump on the road. That way I could pump right before a feed so Henry could have "fresh" breastmilk at a temperature that he is used to. Also, I breastfed him at every stop along the way.
Overall, I am so proud of my son. He has risen to the occasion and adjusted to a lot during his short time since being born. We've been experiencing a little bit of a sleep regression--maybe time change related, maybe environment change related, or maybe just age related--but if me being up with him and breastfeeding him throughout the night gives him comfort and security, then it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.