Before we had a baby, flying was a way of life for us: we’d been all over the US on lots of planes over the last 7 years. But flying with a baby sparked fear in me! How many times have you been on a flight, when the hum of the aircraft is all you hear as the plane begins to ascend, everyone collectively holding their breath until you’re smoothly in the air? And then, a baby starts crying. And you think, “I hope that baby doesn’t cry the whole time…”
I didn’t want to be THAT mom, with the crying baby. So I Googled it and researched every blog that shared tips and tricks for babies on planes. And here I am to share them with you!
1.) Plan your trip during your child’s happiest time! Lo is great in the mornings so I knew a morning trip would be best for her.
2.) Get on the plane LAST. Do not get on early! Take all of those precious moments to change the diaper, get the bottle ready, and walk onto the plane after everyone else- and if you’re traveling with your spouse, send them on early to put away the bags.
3.) Have a bottle or pacifier ready for take off and landing. The sucking will help avoid the painful ear popping. Or if you’re like Lo, you’ll sleep through landing and not even realize it’s time to get off the plane.
4.) Nonstop flights and layovers both have advantages and disadvantages. I thought nonstop was the way to go, but that can leave you with a cranky baby and three hours left. The layover flights were nice to get out, stretch your legs, tire the baby out and get back on an hour or two later.
5.) Don’t let the fear of your crying baby stop you from traveling! A flight attendant said to me once, “Babies have the right to fly too!”, which solidified my confidence in taking her on the plane. Lo has the right to travel just as much as anyone else, and will be a better traveler at age 5 than many people are at 20! Plus- people understand a crying baby. I’ve even handed Lo over to a seat mate for a change of scenery- at 32,000 feet, they aren’t going anywhere with your kid! A nice break for mama and a smile on a new friend’s face.
6) Pack smart. When traveling with the baby, remember that the car seat can be checked for free- Delta checks it at the gate but American checks it with other luggage- and use a nifty car seat bag (I got mine on Amazon) to keep your car seat clean. Pack enough diapers,and two pairs of clothes, but keep your carry-on limited to your diaper bag only- you don’t want to be heaving carry-on suitcases into the overhead bin while wrestling a baby in the narrow aisle. Save everyone the trouble and just check the bag, and stick the diaper bag under the seat in front of you.
7.) Purchase pre-made formula for your trip! Trust me on this one. Not having to put the scoop into the canister of formula and balance it over the narrow bottle lip will be invaluable up in the air. It’s a tad more expensive than regular formula but it’s worth it. You CAN take formula or breastmilk (and bottles of water) through security- just take it out with your other liquids and allow them to swab the outside of the bottles.
8.) Wear your baby! Skip the stroller and use a baby carrier through security and throughout the airport. The jostling will likely put the baby to sleep while you trek the airport, and you won’t have to break down the stroller. I recommend the LilleBaby baby carrier, which has amazing back support.
BONUS: TSA will likely let you wear the wrap or carrier through the security checkpoint as long as you allow your hands to be swabbed and you don’t set off the alarm when you go through.
9.) Have a sense of humor. While descending once, Lo started crying, after a perfect trip. And Adam started bouncing her on his knee while singing the theme song to “Bonanza”. For whatever reason, she loved it! She giggled and charmed her way back into everyone’s hearts. I just had to laugh at the absurdity of it, but when you’re in such a closed space, you can either laugh or cry… I choose to laugh!
Lo has been on SIX planes by SIX months old and she is an expert traveler! It’s a big, beautiful world out there… travel with your Littles and show them everything you love!