Traveling in and of itself can be stressful. Then add a baby to the mix, and BOOM- complete chaos. If you are anything like me, (I’m sure you are, because you are reading this) just thinking about traveling with a baby on an airplane could cause complete exhaustion.
I just recently took my 6 month old on an airplane for the first time, and with careful planning the flight was flawless for everyone involved. Here are 10 tips for flying with a baby.
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1. Packing Diaper Bag
Babies obviously need all sorts of things to make it through the day successfully. Lucky for parents, most airlines realize this, and allow you to take one diaper bag per lap child on board at no extra charge (Most airlines also allow you to check one stroller and one car seat per child at no extra charge). TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! Pack everything you will need for the fight, and then some, and then some more. The cost of a carry on is outrageous these days, so pack everything you need for yourself and the baby in the diaper bag.
Keep high priority items near the top of the bag for easy access. This should include: pacifiers, bottles, toys, diapers, and wipes.
2. Baby’s Schedule
Every baby is different, and they all have times of the day where they are extra cranky. For most babies this time comes right before bed time. Avoid flying at these times. If your baby is screaming and crying the whole time, you will be even more stressed out, causing an overall unpleasant experience.
Personally, my 6 month old wakes up, eats, has play time (where she is in her best mood), and then naps (usually without any fight at all). This is the time we chose to fly, specifically for that reason. My baby slept for both take off and landing- see number 9 for more on that.
3. Arrive Early!!
Now, this one is obvious. However, if your airlines suggests arriving 2 hours before your flight, you should arrive even earlier then that. Babies are unpredictable, and anything can happen when traveling with them. Plan for this so you don’t miss your flight. Diaper changes, calming crying babies, cleaning spit up, you name it, it all takes up extra time that people traveling without babies do not account for.
To add to this, everything is new for babies. Airports are big and bright and fun. Take your time and site see. Let your baby look around, and get comfortable being in a different environment.
4. Checking Car Seat
If you are traveling with a car seat, but the baby is not using it in the plane, I highly recommend checking it at the ticket counter. Getting through security, and making your way to your gate is exhausting enough. Why would you want to carry a car seat with you through all of this? I’ll answer that for you, you wouldn’t want to.
Every airport that I have been to, has a family line for security. If you don’t see one, just ask. Sometimes the family line is the same as the handicapped line.
There are fewer people waiting in this line, and for this reason they move MUCH faster. It’s as simple as that!
6. Checking Stroller
Even though I recommended checking your car seat at the ticket counter, you should wait to check your stroller at the gate. Carrying a child through the airport is just completely out of the question.
Not only does the stroller make it easy to walk around with kids, but you can also put all of your bags, jackets, and anything else you have on the stroller.
7. Make A Good Impression!
Show your baby off to the people around you, including the flight attendants. Most people will think your baby is adorable, and they will be more understanding if your baby does have a meltdown at some point during the flight.
Also, people can be very helpful when you have your hands full with a baby. If you drop something- ask for help. If you can’t get something out of your bag, because you have your hands full with the baby- ask for help. If you need a bottle warmed up- ask a flight attendant. Most people will be willing to help right away, while smiling the whole time. If not, well I’m sorry for your luck.
8. Make Baby Comfortable
It’s a given that babies need diapers and bottles, but bring as many things as possible to make the flight comfortable for them as well.
- Bring their favorite blanket- airplanes are chilly, so snuggle them up.
- Bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal- this keeps them occupied, but also reminds them of home, which is important being in such a different environment.
9. Sleeping Baby
I know that is could be easier said than done, but if possible have them sleeping during the worst parts of the flight. Preferably while taking a pacifier. Sucking on the pacifier is equivalent to an adult yawning to help deal with pressure changes.
I have read many posts that recommend feeding a baby during take off. If you cannot get your baby to sleep, feeding them is the next best idea. However, a baby that is awake and eating is still a baby that is awake and alert. My baby slept for take off and landing, and did not even budge the entire time.
10. Take Your Time And DO NOT Stress!
Babies can sense when their parents are worked up. Stay positive and make the best out of every hurdle that is thrown your way. Make light out of any bad situation.
If your baby is not a fan of flying, make them as comfortable as can be, but laugh and make jokes at the situation as well. The people around you will be more understanding if you are positive. If you are worked up and stressed out over your own crying baby, other people are likely to become worked up and stressed out over your crying baby as well.
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