Have Baby. Will Travel. (Or Flying with a Baby without Going Crazy!)
I want to sit next to the crying baby on the plane! Said no one EVER. After spending most of my adult life avoiding children on planes, I find myself in a unique and hilarious position: wanting to travel with an infant. I’ve basically become the person I’ve avoided all my life. Flying with a baby isn’t as bad as I thought it would be but I’ve learned a couple of crucial tricks along the way that have made the whole experience SO much easier…for me and for everyone around me. Smile. Jack is ten months old and has a passport and has been on more than 10 flights – domestic and international. Hey – the earlier he starts the more he will enjoy exploring the world like his Mum!
1. Book Early Flight. Yes, it’s hard getting up in the middle of the night but the first flight of the day is always the most reliable and when you have an infant the last thing you want to do is spend countless hours waiting at the airport for a delayed flight…especially with limited amounts of formula.
2. Book Seat at Back of Plane. What?! the dreaded back of the plane. Yes. It’s the only time I would advise sitting right next to the bathroom but when you have to get up multiple times to change diapers it actually is better to be a row or two away from the bathroom especially if turbulence hits and you are walking down the aisle carrying a baby.
3. Bjorn. I learned quickly if you put your baby in a baby carrier like a Baby Bjorn you can actually walk through security and the screening machines without taking the baby out. If the baby is sleeping, this is key! Your hands are free to put your extra luggage on the conveyor belt and you can easily take off your shoes/jacket and keep the line moving! And therefore don’t become “one of those people” that inspire eye rolls and disgusted sighs.
4. Gatecheck your stroller and car seat. Most airlines will allow you to simply check your stroller and car seat for FREE at the gate for pickup right when you get off the plane. I highly recommend this. When you get off the plane you have a stroller to put the baby in and even throw your diaper bag over the handles and off you go! You can also use the car seat for cab/taxi rides for greater safety. **You can have your baby in your lap in a cab legally but a car seat is obviously safer.
5. Pack MORE bottles and MORE diapers than you think you need. You WILL use them.
6. Breast Milk and Formula IS allowed through security. They just check it in a special machine. You can even bring bottled water through as long as you specify it is for the baby. Just notify the TSA rep at security.
7. Feed during Takeoff and Landing You want to feed right at takeoff and landing so the baby won’t have any problem with pressure in the ears. Also be sure to put Infant Tylenol in your diaper bag in case your checked luggage gets lost or doesn’t make it at your final destination. Again this “liquid” is allowed if you are traveling with a baby.
7. Toys. A few key toys can go a long way to distracting an infant while you work on getting a bottle ready if your baby is in the middle of a melt down. For some reason, a cup with ice in it can fascinate Jack for a good twenty minutes. Do whatever works.
8. Extra TWO outfits. One for you and one for baby. In case the baby spits up on himself or on you, you are covered!
9. Sunscreen or Hat. You never know if you are going to be in a sunny cab or waiting outside in a line for something. Sunscreen is usually packed away when you need it. Keep it handy.
10. ENJOY the moment. If you are stressed, your baby will be too. Babies cry. Such is life. Tell the crazy woman sitting next to you to get over it and go dance the Mambo! Enjoy the moment…enjoy your trip and enjoy the priceless and precious memories you are making for a lifetime!