Whether it is for pleasure or for business, the thought of traveling with babies tends to give people high blood pressure. When my baby girl was four months old we experienced our first flight with her. Needless to say, I was a
little lot anxious. Would she cry the entire time? am I going to be able to change her diaper? feed her? is she gonna get sick? I had a million questions. So I obviously did a little research and prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best!
We flew about 12 times in less than 3 months. I’ll explain… we used to live in Gainesville, (go Gators!) a small town in Florida, that only had a regional airport, so we had to take connecting flights anywhere we were going. We flew to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston. As you can imagine, I’ve learned a lot from all those trips and I want to share with all those mamas -and also dadas- my best tips for
drag traveling with infants.
Time, time, time!!!
Give yourself plenty, PLENTY, of extra time, specially if it’s your first time flying with baby. You will be experiencing, just as your baby, lots of firsts and as you might have already noticed, everything that you do with a baby takes at least twice as long. In our very first flight, we kind of ignored that and we missed our plane for about 10 mins. Thankfully, since we were in Gainesville, it wasn’t a big deal. We were able to get in the next flight, which was leaving within the next hour.
Stroller and Carseat
Baby’s stroller and carseat travel for free and don’t count as carry on! You can check them both at the gate. The stroller must weight 20 lbs or less and be collapsible, otherwise, it needs to be checked at the counter. If you travel a lot, you might consider buying a carseat travel bag to help protect and keep the carseat cleaned , otherwise, a big trash bag will do just fine! By the way, kudos to Delta Airlines, they bag your carseat for free!
Early Morning Flights
My baby tends to be happier and calmer in the mornings, so we always try to book our flights as early as possible. We usually fly out before 7:30 am. Meaning, we arrive to the airport around 4:30 am. Baby is usually sleeping at this time, allowing us to check-in and go through security while she sleeps. Speaking of sleep, I dress her on sleepers, preferably the ones with reverse zippers. It keeps her comfy and I can easily change her diaper.
Wear Your Baby
I found wearing my baby very convenient during the first part of the airport adventure. It gives me peace of mind because she’s on me while I’m still able to use my hands to hold documents, bags, etc. Babies also need to go through TSA and they cannot do so while being on a stroller. So it is just easier to have her already on me. By the way, in case you were wondering, the metal detectors at the airports do not use X rays, instead, they use electromagnetic waves to produce the images.
About take off and landing
I read in several places that having baby nurse or suck at a pacifier during take off/landing prevents their ears from popping. In our first flight since babygirl was younger, four months old, and all she cared about was nursing, I was able to time feeding sessions perfectly with take off/landing. However, as she grew older, she was not always interested on nursing on my timing. So if she was happy playing and people watching, I did not force her to breastfeed. To this day, she has always done just fine!
If you are anything like me, the thought of changing my baby on a airplane bathroom freaks me out -.- I always change her diaper within 30 minutes of boarding and then pray she doesn’t have an accident during the flight hahaha Our longest flight has been a little over 3 hours so I’ve been able to manage without changing her in the plane. But when that time comes, there are changing tables in those small airplane bathrooms -.-
To pay or not to pay for an extra seat?
Babies age 2 and under do not required a seat. However, parents always have the option to pay for a seat and baby could travel in the carseat. I have never paid for this, however, in one of my flights, I was offered a seat for my daughter for free. The flight was about 3 hours and 30 mins long and she used the carseat for no longer than one hour. During the time she was in her seat, I was definitely able to rest and stretch; but in my opinion, she did not use it long enough to make worth spending all that $$$$. There are many factors you need to keep in mind when making this decision though: age and activity level of baby, length of flight, and whether there would be more laps to carry that baby around hahaha.
One perk of traveling with kids is that you are allowed to board priority. By doing so, I get plenty of time to settle in our seats and wipe down the area baby will be touching. I find travel size disinfecting wipes super convenient.
During check in, don’t be afraid to ask if it is possible to keep the seat next to you opened. You will be surprised, attendants are usually very nice to moms, specially when moms are traveling by themselves.
Some airports have playgrounds, including shoe-free area for infants and toddlers. They are definitely worth checking!
Bring a blanket you can put on the airport floor to allow your baby to play on the floor and stretch.
This one is brought to you by my hubby… he suggests on walking around with baby so fellow passengers start sympathizing prior to boarding. This would hopefully make things easier in the event baby gets cranky during the flight.
Lastly, remember is all about your attitude. Stay positive and relax.