Monday, January 7, 2013

Mama Monday - Lap Child with Guest Blogger Jessica Chang


Generally on Mama Mondays, I write posts that revolve around pregnancy and childbirth issues, but I also like to include inspirational or practical information about motherhood and parenting. Thanks to an eye-opening experience and great suggestion from a friend the other day, I have a great guest blogger for you today!
I met Jessica Chang through my friend, Dawn Westmoreland, who is a hair and make-up artist (she made me beautiful for my wedding day!). Jessica is a professional photographer, and she and Dawn teamed up to create Couture by JJC Photography. Couture is high fashion bridal photography where the bride gets to feel like she is a model in the pages of Vogue. I got to model for the portfolio and it was SO much fun!
Jessica also is blessed with a multicultural family and has the opportunity to travel overseas from time to time. After her most recent international trip, she picked up some pointers that will be helpful to all parents, whether hopping the ocean or not! Enjoy!

Lap Child
This holiday season I was blessed with the opportunity to take my children to meet my maternal family, overseas in Germany.  I have an almost 5 year old girl and a 17 month old girl. I love them to death and believe that they are great children. However, I wish someone would have been able to share with me some tips on traveling overseas with an infant lap child. I write to you all today hoping that this information may be of some use to you or a friend of yours you may know who will be traveling with a lap child as well. My experience that I’m sharing with you is three major European airports; Amsterdam, Stuttgart, and Paris.

My first and most important bit of advice will be…. Arrive to airport 3 hours early, not 2. Apparently when traveling with a lap child you will not be able to check in with the quick check in station located for your convenience. The front desk will have to do the check in for you. When they check you in, make sure they give you what my airlines (Delta) (Air France) and (KLM) all the same affiliate, called “coupons.” It is an additional boarding pass for the infant that goes with the main passengers boarding pass. For reasons I don’t understand I’m not sure why they don’t just call it a boarding pass for the infant, but it is not a “boarding pass”.  The other reason to arrive an extra hour early is because of the possibility that they may not be able to find your lap child in the computer system... Everyone else shows up on the screen but the child! AHHHHH! This is the main reason I suggest the extra hour.

As far as packing; DO NOT TAKE ANY CARRY ON LUGGAGE! At the most, of course, bring one back pack with diapers, wipes, butt paste and a sippy cup. The crew has enough snacks and drinks for you and your child. Also add a few distracting toys to keep your child occupied. CHECK YOUR STROLLER AND CAR SEAT WITH YOUR LUGGAGE! IT’S FREE! We thought it would be a great idea to use our stroller to help get the 17 month old from one terminal to the other, but in reality once we were in Europe it was nothing but a hassle. The three airports I mentioned earlier are not children or handicap friendly.   

 

As you can see in my picture here, you exit outside then take a bus to the next terminal, then you have to take stairs again. Strollers and carry-on luggage along with stairs all at the same time does not equal a friendly and easy experience.  

AND if your child still fits in a sling or soft baby carrier, GET ONE!!! Seriously, the less you have with you, the better. As you can see, I LEARNED THE HARD WAY. 

When booking your seats, try to get the first row in your section. It has extra leg room as we all know. But did you know that THEY CAN ATTACH AN INFANT BED TO THE WALL IN FRONT OF YOU?! On the way there, the lady in front of me was sitting in that row with her infant and was allowed to use the device… needless to say, I was extremely jealous. As long as the seatbelt sign was off, the lap child was allowed to be sleeping in it. This left the mothers arms empty to enjoy her dinner and or the movie that was showing. This is a must if I ever travel with this young of a child again. Thankfully, we did get some rest from time to time!

 

I wish everyone happy traveling.   Do your research, and most importantly of all, ENJOY YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES!


Jessica J Chang

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