Last week we flew to Seattle to visit family. Real talk: I was terrified to take my baby on a plane. I remember picturing myself pacing the back of the airplane with a screaming infant, with people darting expressions of either pity or utter fury at us for five whole hours.
Fortunately enough, it didn’t go like that. I won’t lie and tell you it was easy, but with a little work, we managed to get through the flight with nary a dirty look. If you too have a big trip coming up, have no fear. Here are some tips for flying with an infant, to save you a little bit of sanity:
Lifesavers to pack – (links are to our favorites):
– formula container (for easy pouring and mixing)
– muslin blankets (all-purpose. Aden + Anais are my favorite.)
– toys that don’t make a lot of noise, like this soft book
– copy of birth certificate (just in case)
– baby carrier, for those moments where you are walking the baby and don’t want sore arms
– extra clothes
– Use a backpack, not an over-the-shoulder diaper bag. So, so much easier to get around with.
– Use Ziploc bags to divide up items and make them easier to get to – diapers and wipes in one bag, formula and bottles in another, etc.
– Pack even more clothes, food and diapers than you typically would – you never know when the flight will see a delay, or be stuck taxiing around for a bit.
– Make sure your license or passport and plane ticket are easily accessible.
– Pack up your carseat well (two heavy-duty trash bags will do the trick), and check it at the gate, not the ticket counter. It’s less opportunity for it to get bashed around.
Planning Ahead of Time:
– Wear easy clothing, like a t-shirt, cardigan, jeans, and flats. Don’t wear jewelry unless you want to take it off at security.
– Call the airline before the flight to register infant if you’ll have them on your lap. You also have the option of buying an extra seat and putting the baby there in their car seat.
– Check in online. You can print off your boarding passes, and won’t have to wait in line at the ticket counter.
– Buy a big bottle of water once you’re in the gate, if you plan to make formula, so you won’t have to wait for the beverage cart.
– By the way, formula powder is easy to get through security, and again, if you’re using the container, easy to pour and make.
On the Plane:
– You may not want to board first if you can avoid it. It’s just extra time spent entertaining the baby.
– If you do want to board, usually they’ll let you on first. Although going on early helps make sure your carry-ons make it on the plane and don’t get checked at the gate.
– Sanitize everything! Your armrests, tray, etc.
– Totally feed your baby as the plane takes off and lands. That popping in your ears is pretty foreign and painful for your baby, but distracting them with an opportunity to suck on something helps so much. I both nursed and used formula. I thought nursing would be an issue in a cramped plane, but being next to the window protected from unwanted exposure, and was plenty of space.
– Some say you can give Tylenol to the baby before you take off, and that will help. We didn’t, and everything was fine, while the only thing the Tylenol did was leak all over my toiletries bag. Yuck.
– Use your carrier to walk with the baby or rock them in the back of the plane.
– Make friends with the other person in your row. Whoever’s on the aisle will probably be moving quite a bit to let you out.
So now it’s your turn to share your tips! What helps you when traveling?
P.S. This post goes out to my husband, for dealing with a total blowout in the tiny airplane bathroom. We salute you.
For more mommy tips, check out my “#momunity” Pinterest board!