The holidays are fast approaching and that means travel season is now upon us. This can spur on a wave of doubt on whether or not you should travel with your new baby. I’m here to tell you that babies travel on planes quite well. My babies have always flown as lap children. When traveling with children my best advice is “It’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.” I have heard some horror stories and even experienced them myself but for the most part my babies travel great!
I do have a few tips and tricks that I have used over the years to help myself and my child have a pleasant traveling experience.
1) Tylenol– I usually give my kids a dose When we take off to help them calm down. I do my best to travel first thing in the morning and get their energy out but sometimes those long flights can be really difficult if a nap time isn’t going to happen. And so, I give my kids a little medicine to calm them down so they can drift off to sleep.
2) Pacifiers– Both of my children have loved their pacifiers. If your child was never one to take a pacifier then I will send you to my next point:
3) Bottles– Even when my baby was nursing I would bring 2-3 bottles of breastmilk with me. I only fly home so my air travel is around 5 hours in the air give or take. I bring extra bottles (yes, you can bring breastmilk through security) for take off and landing and I try to feed them only during those times if I can help it. It really helps their little ears handle the pressure change.
4) Baby carrier– This has always been an essential for me. There is no way I could board the plane carrying my carry-on luggage and trying to hold my child. I have traveled quite a bit with just myself and a child. You really need to have a baby carrier even if you are bringing a stroller.
5) Stroller- If you are traveling with one baby I wouldn’t say this is an essential item. I have traveled without my stroller and I did just fine. There was a moment when my daughter got squirmy and I laid her on the floor in the airport on her blanket. It is really nice to have a place to put baby rather than carry them if you are having a really long day of traveling. If you need to bring a stroller with you to use at your destination I would recommend just bringing it through to the gate and gate checking it.
6) New Toy– Yes, even when my daughter was an infant I went to the dollar section at the store and got her a new toy. It kept her entertained for the a few minutes here and there on the flight. She mostly slept but it was nice to have a new toy for her to discover IF she woke up.
7) PATIENCE AND CALM- I cannot tell you how important this is when traveling with children of any age. Allow yourself A LOT of time. When you have a lot of time and you’re not in a rush, the experience will be much more positive then if you’re trying to rush. Even when it was just my daughter and myself I found it so important to do my best to just roll with the punches. TSA needs to test my breast mik? No problem. Need to do a strip search? No problem. I always allow myself A LOT of time at the airport to get through security and find my gate. If you have extra time then you have the opportunity to get some coffee (or something stronger if you so desire).
8) Layovers- Momma, take full advantage of layovers. I cannot stress this enough. My husband always thinks I’m crazy because when I travel with the kids I like to have at least a 2 hour layover. This also goes along with allowing myself enough time. Once upon a time, I found myself running with my 1 year old screaming in her stroller through the Chicago airport. She needed to get out and run and it was not going to happen. We got to our gate just in time to board the plane again. This was THE WORST FLIGHT I have ever been on. I had to go to the bathroom the entire flight, but I couldn’t because my toddler fell asleep on me. Then half way through the flight she woke up SCREAMING, not just crying, SCREAMING her little head off. She was so tired of being held, and she didn’t know where she was. It was a recipe for disaster. Yes, I want to get to my destination as quickly as possible but it is very important to allow your child to get their wiggles out!
There you have it! My guide to flying with infants. Have you found any other helpful hints that I left out? Stay tuned next time for my advice on flying with 2 children 2 and under! Until then!