Hey! I can finally show you some pictures :)). This post will be divided in several parts so that you’ll know where to find whatever interests you the most if you want to skip the part about Maui and read about traveling with a newborn, for example. I’m so generous, aren’t I :)?
The flight to Portland was on April 9 and it took 5 hours and 20 minutes. We spent one night out there and the day after that we went to Silver Falls State Park which is around 1,5 hrs away South by a car, we spent there 5 days. On Saturday April 16 we went to Maui with a layover in Seattle, the flight from Portland to Seattle was 55 minutes and then from Seattle to Maui 6 hours. We stayed there for 3 days. On the way back we had a stop in Seattle again and then straight to Atlanta which means Maui>Seattle 6 hours and 20 minutes; Seattle>Atlanta 4 hours and 40 minutes. It total it’s 11 hours which is more or less the duration from ATL to Warsaw. As you can see, April is experienced in flying!
Silver Falls, Oregon
In Portland we spent one night and a little bit of a day only so the only things I saw were our hotel, Target and the way between. So I won’t tell you much about this place. Some of you probably remember why we went to San Diego a year ago and if you don’t remember/don’t know what it was, go to THIS post. I want to add that in the old post I mentioned now I talked about our engagement :). Ahh, memories! This year we didn’t go to California because La Jolla Program was in Silver Falls and it wasn’t January this time but April. When we found out I was already pregnant and I knew that I’d give birth around that time and we didn’t talk about it for a while. However, later Nathan got back to it and said he really wanted to go. We talked about it and we found out a solution that both of us liked. We decided that we’d go together if April was born minimum two weeks before because I wanted to have time to feel better and to get used to things. If she was born closer to the dates of program then Nate would go by himself if I felt comfortable enough to stay with April by myself. And, as you know, she was born 2 weeks and 2 days before.
There’s no hotel in Silver Falls. There are cabins (photo below) and each bigger building has two bathrooms – one for women and one for men. Each one has two toilets and one shower. I really wanted to have bathroom in our room so we had our personal cabin with the bathroom. It was fine in general, I wouldn’t complain about anything but there were those huge ants which came to our room before the last night and I had to ask Nathan to kill them. They were GIANT!
If it comes to my experiences this year, I was a little disappointed. I wanted to go because last year I had a great time and that trip changed me a lot. Unfortunately, this time everything looked different. Big part of it was what I was prepared for which is the fact that I had to focus on April more. I breastfed her out there in the group but then I couldn’t focus enough. If she cried I had to go out (Nate sometimes did it too) so I wouldn’t bother people if someone was talking. Once I stayed in our room alone to rest and Nate took April. There were moments when we were late and so on. You know, it’s just being with the baby :).
The other thing is that it bothers me a lot in people when there’s a problem and they force themselves to find positives sides of it and all the negative things are put away. At least several people in this group have attitude like this. I don’t know, to me ignoring the problem won’t solve anything and it can only harm the person who shares something. I’m not saying that it’s like this there all the time, no! But it happens. And I can’t stand it. Also, there’s this problem that when someone is sad/happy then it’s great to listen to this person but if she’s angry then it’s not that cool because anger is a bad emotion that you shouldn’t show! It annoys me a lot, you have no idea. And I said all that. At the end but I said it. I couldn’t anymore. Nathan said he was amazed haha
And it was cold there! Definitely too cold for me. It got warmer on the last day when we were leaving.
When everything ended Gary dropped us off at the airport and we went to Hawaii :))) I really liked the view from the plane on Seattle and things around.
As you can see above, Maui is the second biggest island on Hawaii. It has only 155.000 people. The capital of Hawaii is Honolulu. We landed on the Kahului Airport, on the North side of the island. We got there around 9 pm and the airport was almost empty. April wanted to eat so we sat down somewhere and I fed her. When we were ready to go, there was nobody there anymore and security guards asked what we were doing there still but they were very friendly and they greeted us with the famous “aloha!”. We found out that everything was closed already and we couldn’t rent a car so we took a taxi. It was $12.50 for a ride and we had $10 only because our driver couldn’t take cards. Nate said he’d go to a ATM on the other side of the street and the guy said “oh no, no, it’s not necessary, thanks!” and he left.
The weather was great because it was hot but windy so not too hot after all. It rained one day but we were in a car then so it didn’t bother us. Right now the temperature in Maui is lower than in here.
I reeeeaaaallyyyy liked it there! Everything is so… nice. I don’t know how to describe it. The views are beautiful and not only by the ocean but everywhere else too, even in the middle of the island. There’s always something to admire. Ocean, volcano, flowers, animals… Also, you feel such calmness there, as if the time stopped. Nobody hurries anywhere and everything is so fresh in restaurants. Pineapples or avocados taste better too. Not mentioning coconuts! The negative thing is that it’s much more expensive there and for example here I pay $2 or less for 1 gallon of fuel and there we had to pay $3.15 but on the other hand we paid only $20 for a car per day so it was not bad.
We didn’t have any plans where to go or anything. We were spontaneous.
Reading some names in their language gave us some troubles.
We started the first day with breakfast, of course! We found a cool vegan restaurant where they had really good food but portions were a little inadequate to prices, to be honest. Anyways, we went back there the next day.
One of the recommended attractions is a highway to Hana and there’s a lot of cool things to see on the way like waterfalls. We didn’t stop anywhere and we didn’t get to Hana because we just wanted to see how it looks and we turned around after an hour of driving. The whole road is very narrow and winding. That’s why driving 52 miles takes around 2.5 hours. There are 46 one way bridges on the way and it was kinda hard to see if there was anyone on the other side on some of them, especially when it was raining.
The next day we were just driving around and stopping in places we found interesting. We were very tired after the night when April didn’t want to sleep. If she doesn’t sleep, we don’t sleep. But we made it! We went to the south side of the island and we had great views on the way again. Most of the way was on the seaside and there was this long way where on the left side water was very close to the road and everything was green but on the right side things were dried out and brown, and signs warned about possible fires. It was strange! On the way back to our hotel we stopped in one more place and we watched the sunset.
(This above is a short video on my Instagram and you can watch it by clicking on the pic.)
The next day Nate wanted to go on one of the volcano because there’s this option to see things from the top and stuff. Views out there are amazing. However, the problem was that it was very, very high and so very, very cold and we didn’t really have warm clothes. And it was cloudy. On the Internet they said that we could see a lot but eventually we decided to do something different. We went to a beach called Big Beach. It’s in a rich area and you don’t even have to check prices for houses to know that – it was enough to look around. And there’s also this shopping mall with shops like Prada or Chanel, and the parking in front of this mall wasn’t for free. There was no crowds on the beach which was great! But it was very hot and the sun was shining like crazy. We sat down in the shade for a while, went for a walk too, then we stopped by one grocery store to eat (Down to Earth – great place!) and then went to the airport.
Flying with a newborn.
When newborns can fly
In general there are no contraindication for babies to fly as long as they’re healthy. And I’m talking not only about rules and stuff like that but also about possible any health or any other risks for newborns. Of course, there’s this risk that your plane will crash but then nobody would care about anything anymore ;). Airlines that I checked just out of curiosity allow newborns to fly and only one of them had one limit – babies have to be older than 2 days. For example, Delta has this rule that if a baby is younger than 2 weeks then you need to have a note from a doctor that the baby is allowed to fly but nobody asked us for anything. It’s worth checking with airline you travel with just in case.
Tickets, stroller, car seat
We had two tickets – one for me, one for Nathan. April was on Nathan’s ticket as “infant in arms”. You pay for a child when he has his own seat, in this case we’d have to have a car seat. But we didn’t so we were switching and she was on our laps for free. There’s a regulation that says how old the baby can be maximum to hold him in arms but I don’t know what it is.
We had our stroller that we left before we went on a plane and we took it back after we got off. Fortunately everything was fine with the stroller, I was a little afraid that it’d get ruined or something. Besides a carry-on and a personal item I could take a breastpump that doesn’t count as a baggage (I’m talking about Delta).
In Atlanta April slept in the stroller and so airport staff showed us a special line for people on wheelchairs and people with strollers so we could skip the whole line. We went there to the security and then we had to wait a little like the rest. I picked April up and went through the metal detector instead of that whole body scanner that they have. Nathan walked behind me. I had two bottles with milk in my bag and nobody checked it even. Families with small children go on plane first, before the first class.
Before next flights I had April in the wrap and this is why I went through securities – I didn’t have to take her out and I was going through the metal detector as well.
The stroller frame was taken by someone from the staff because it was too big so they checked it on the other side but the bassinet was on the tape with the rest of our things.
What to bring
Diapers and wipes for sure :). Some burp cloths and normal tissues will be useful too. Blanket because it might get cold on a plane. Some extra outfit for the baby and for yourself, just in case. I forgot to take one more top for me and I regretted that when April spit up on me a little more than a little. I recommend taking a boppy pillow because then both you and your baby will be more comfortable. I also recommend taking a wrap or a sling because babies like them, they calm down, fall asleep and also people won’t try to touch your baby and even if they do, it’s easy to dodge. It’s good to have some kind of a first aid kit just in case. In spite of what you think, you don’t really need a lot of a baby but if your child is on the stage when they play with toys then it’s worth it to take their favorite toy or a book to read so that your baby won’t get bored.
How April felt + some more advice from me
Of course I can’t say that she didn’t cry at all because I’d lie and, you know, babies cry ;). But there’s always a reason for that so it’s good because you just have to find it. We didn’t have any problems with April. The worst thing was when we had an hours to change planes because she pooped then and she was hungry, and we didn’t have time to stop anywhere before the next flight so she screamed like crazy most of the way and so I decided to put my stuff in the stroller and start to feed her while walking. It’s not the easiest thing, let me tell you. But it works. And when your baby screams like this then everyone looks at you but I didn’t see anyone being angry or anything, they looked at us with a wonder and a compassion ;). If you’re afraid of “what people will say” then you need to have some kind of a strength not to feel guilty for you baby’s cry, not to feel embarrassed and not to apologize everyone. Fortunately I didn’t have this problem but I do understand it can be tough.
She cried during the layover or when the plane was still. She slept the rest of the time, she would fall asleep when planes started moving and wake up when they stopped. Of course she woke up a few times to eat or change her diaper but in general she slept the whole time. I’m sure that part of it was her age because 2-week-old babies sleep most of the time usually. But also, all those sounds that planes make helped too. If you’re afraid that it’d be too loud for your baby then it’s a complete opposite because when babies are inside their moms, it’s very loud there. They hear mother’s heart, digestive system, breathing, blood flow and other sounds that our bodies make. And when a woman is pregnant and she moves then baby fall asleep because of her moves. That’s why this characteristic noise on planes and non-stop movement calm babies down and so they fall asleep fast and they stay asleep for long. We had really bad turbulence during one flight and if someone didn’t have their seat belts on, they’d literally jump up but April didn’t wake up at all.
She didn’t have any problems with her ears either, at least I don’t know anything about it. During taking off she slept or ate so everything was fine. Giving them your breast / pacifier / bottle will eliminate the risk of their ears getting plugged. It’s a good idea to start doing that when plane starts moving instead of leaving it for the last moment. I usually chew gum or have a candy because if I don’t, then my ears are plugged for several days (!) and there’s nothing that can help, I tried everything.
About picking seats for you, I recommend choosing the one by the window because you have more room than if you had to be in the middle.
I breastfed at the airports and on planes whether we were alone or there was someone by us. I didn’t cover myself because I didn’t feel the need to and also I don’t want to put anything on April’s face because of several reasons, for example she’s beginning to be more aware and interested in everything and so sometimes when she eats, she looks around. Nobody looked at me in a bad way, nobody said anything either. Everyone was amazed by how cute and tiny April is ;). Not even one person told me that I looked nice… Haha! Yeah, well. Airlines in the States allow women to breastfeed and to pump as well so if anyone said anything to me, they wouldn’t really achieve anything by that and, honestly, I’d listen but I wouldn’t care. Also, I don’t know how it is in Poland but in the US the federal law allows women to breastfeed in public without covering so if you ever have any problems with this here, now you know how to defend yourself :).
Also, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask others for help. We met great people and some of them, not only the staff but passengers too, offered helping with baggage and so on. If nobody offers you help and you can’t manage to fold your stroller by yourself or something, don’t be afraid to ask someone to help. If they say no then they say now but then someone else will agree. Especially if it comes to airport staff – they’re there to help.
So to summarize everything – I was stressed because of all that but now I think that there was nothing to be stressed about because traveling with 2- and then 3-week-old turned out to be pretty easy. Of course it’d be more difficult if I was alone but now I know that when I go to Poland with April, I won’t have a carry-on. I’ll take a big check-in bag, stroller, backpack with things I’ll use during the flight and my boppy pillow. This way April will be in the moby wrap, I’ll have my necessities in the backpack (because it’s hard to carry a handbag when you have wrap with baby on you) and my pillow in my hand. And it’ll be fine :).
Please remember that everything I talked about is based on our personal experience that can be different than yours.
If you have any further questions, feel free to leave comments.
Talk to you next time!