Anna Kooiman: I fly solo around the world with my baby – this is how I survive

I have made it home to the USA to host Fox & Friends September 22, 23, 24 and 25. I am so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to see everyone!

While FaceTiming in North Carolina with my husband in Australia the other morning, we tried to count the number of times I have done the flight from Sydney to the USA. We think it’s about 10 trips. So that’s 20 times I’ve embarked on the 28-hour door to door journey. Yikes!

Now that we have an infant, the travel stress has gone up a gear. But in the three trips I’ve done solo with our 7.5 month old, I have learned a few tricks of the trade that I think can help other moms flying with babies, whether domestically or internationally.

As you know babies develop at warp speed, so each trip has carried with it unique challenges. But I think I have this travel with baby thing mastered. Well, maybe not mastered, but at least as painless as possible. I documented one of my journeys for a Fox & Friends segment using the ‘Anna Cam’ aka my iPhone.

(Chris Prestidge)

First tip? Pack way more diapers and onesies than you think you could ever need! No doubt will you have a few poo-namis caused by diaper explosions. I like to even bring a couple of super cheap onesies that I don’t mind throwing away if necessary. You don’t want to carry those things around with you the rest of the trip, do you!!

When embarking on these journeys I must say I am always wishing I had a few extra hands. Using a backpack as a diaper bag and a baby carrier for transport allows moms to be hands free. This is important for wheeling around a carry-on suitcase and small duffle that are also full of necessities like formula or frozen breastmilk, puréed solid foods, toys, playmates, blankets, extra clothes for mom, etc etc etc!

(Chris Prestidge)

If you want to bring your own stroller you can usually check it with your luggage before going through security, for no extra cost. But having a stroller to wheel around the airport is particularly helpful for having a nice napping environment during layovers. The Catch-22 however, is that if you are traveling solo with baby, it can be a challenge to push it through the airport and wheel around your carry-on. I recommend traveling with a stroller that folds up small enough to fit in the overhead compartment.

(Chris Prestidge)

For domestic flights you can often gate check the stroller and pick it up as soon as you deplane. For international flights however, like mine from Sydney to New York City, if you try to take an umbrella stroller onboard, the airline will likely take it from you and check it through to oversized baggage. Then you will not have it when trying to make your way through customs. This is why a traditional, small, umbrella stroller is not sufficient. You need a special stroller that folds up small enough to cram in the overhead compartment. There are only a handful of these on the market.

When booking your travel reservations make sure you tell the airline you are traveling with an infant. You can bring a car seat for them if you want to purchase an extra seat. If they are under two they can sit on your lap if you prefer. You will not have to purchase the extra seat but will likely have to pay taxes for them.

If you are traveling internationally on one of the jumbo jets, make sure to request the bassinet seats! These can be a lifesaver. They are situated in the bulkhead area, have extra legroom, and literally have a bassinet that is bolted into the wall in front of you.

(Chris Prestidge)

Bottles, bottles, everywhere! This trip has been a bit different because I am no longer breastfeeding. That means I have carried a ridiculous number of bottles with me. I still wanted to make sure they could get cleaned though in case the travel time became longer than expected and I needed to use them again. I brought with me a small amount of soap, a bottle brush, and a microwaveable sterilization bag. After washing them in the bathroom, you can also request the flight attendants rinse them out with scalding hot water.

Bibs... who needs em! Well you might need them if you have a dribbler during bottle feeds. But what I recommend for mealtimes that involve solids or puréed solids is essentially a hazmat suit! There are a few brands that carry wipeable, long sleeved shirts that cover the whole body and just snap on the same way a bib would. These cover the entire body and really do resemble a hazmat suit or poncho more than a traditional bib. But trust me, they are awesome. I bought mine for travel, but often use it at home too.

(Chris Prestidge)

Once you have boarded the plane, let your baby flirt with passengers around you so they fall in love, and aren’t so irritated, when the bub inevitably starts making a fuss at some point.

If crap hits the fan...buy drinks for passengers sitting near you! It sounds funny, but they will appreciate it and you will not feel so guilty about having disturbed their travel zen.

Finally, ask for help! There is no need to try to do it 100 percent on your own if you are flying solo with baby. You know the saying, ‘It takes a village?’ Well, in my experience, ‘the village’ is eager to help. Find some sweet passengers around you. Very often they welcome the opportunity to help a new mom lift bags into the overhead compartment, or even have a cuddle with baby while mom gets herself situated.

Since moving to Australia, I have been doing a bit of Aussie TV when in Sydney, but have also been documenting a lot of my experiences during pregnancy and as a new mom. You can follow my journey on my social feeds, or in more detail on my fitness, travel, and lifestyle website, AnnaKooiman.com.

Don’t forget to leave me comments. I love to hear from you! And can’t wait to see you back on the curvy couch this weekend and next Monday and Tuesday when I get to host my old show, Fox & Friends. What an exciting opportunity to come back!