Saturday, February 15, 2020

First Airplane Vacation with the Baby

Yayoi Kusama Installation at the Marciano Art Foundation

Our daughter was two months old on her first family vacation. We drove three hours north from Portland to Seattle and spent the weekend with some friends. She slept on a mat on the floor (she wasn't rolling yet) and I breastfed her during the day and bottle fed her at night with milk stored in a mini fridge in the room. It was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations we ever had. 

But it also gave me the impression that traveling with a baby was easy. 

I could not imagine then what life would be like once my daughter started crawling and climbing and eating solid foods and demanding certain toys. 

This reality manifested on our first trip to Los Angeles, when she was eight months old. 
I was very nervous about the two hour flight, but that was the easiest things of all! Much harder was getting her to sleep at night, and making sure we packed enough snacks and food during the day. 

Apart from carrying a baby around 24/7, there were three big differences in the way we traveled on this trip. 


I knew we would have to bring a lot for stuff for the baby that we never had to bring when we traveled as a couple: baby clothes, diapers, wipes, stroller, car seat, formula, bottles, diaper bag, food, toys. But I never imagined we would need to bring her pack-and-play. We found out the hard way when she refused to sleep the first night in the airbnb, and I had to walk to Target in downtown Los Angeles to buy a pack-and-play for her. 

While the amount of luggage for the baby increased, the amount of luggage for me decreased. I left my laptop, books, and multiple outfits at home. I knew I would not have time for all that. 


While we love to stay in Koreatown, our absolute favorite Airbnb does not allow children. It was not hard to another find an airbnb that allowed infants, but in addition to the rental policies, I had to look for a place with a few features that can be hard to find in LA:

- an elevator (so I don't have to carry her up the stairs)
- a washer and dryer (because babies are messy and I don't want to bring 100 pairs of clothes)
- concrete walls (so people won't hear her crying at night
- walking distance to convenience stores (in case we need water or other things in the middle of the night)
- dark and quiet (because street noise and sunlight will wake the baby too early!) 


I had to scale back our schedule by about half to accommodate the baby. I knew this in advance and tried not to plan too much each day. This meant that we could only go to one neighborhood each day (either the Arts District or Koreatown, not both). I tried to reduce the number of Lyfts we would need to take (because getting her in and out of the car seat is a pain) and minimize long walks (so we wouldn't have to carry her carseat, or her, if she got fussy in the stroller. We needed to give her lots of breaks from sitting in the stroller, which meant crawl time in the museum and in cafes. 

I am pleased to say that we were still able to do many of the things we loved doing when we were just a couple. We were able to eat at our favorite Korean BBQ buffet, visit cool cafes, eat at a Michele-star restaurant (outside on their empty patio), and visit our favorite museum (the Marciano Art Foundation).  

While we made a few mistakes (not putting the baby in a pack-and-play on the first night, and keeping her out too late one night), we had a really excellent trip and we did almost everything on our list. 

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