Satisfy your wanderlust!
Just because you have a new adorable baby doesn’t mean that you have to put your life on hold! Traveling with kids can be challenging, but with these 10 tried-and-true tips and a willingness to roll with it, the world is yours!
1. Do your research. Different airlines have different policies regarding how young a child has to be in order to fly. It is generally recommended that you wait until your baby is several months old to avoid leaving them susceptible to germs in a crowded space. Check out the following links if flying with Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines to view airline specific requirements. If flying with a different airline, a simple google search will get you the information you need.
When traveling with a child under 2 years old, you can have your child share a seat with you and simply have them on your lap, or you can purchase a separate seat for them and be able to use their carseat on the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration has restrictions outlining what qualifies as an approved car seat that can be viewed here.
2. Bring your stroller and car seat to the gate. Depending on the seating process on your plane, you may be able to snag the seat next to yours if the flight isn’t too full. (Thank you Southwest open seating!) If you are lucky enough to get an open seat beside you, try seating your baby as if you were going for a car ride -- this position is something familiar to your baby and might be the most comfortable for them. If the flight is full, they will gate check the seat and stroller at no cost to you, and you can use them in the airports.
3. Change their diaper. Do your best to change their diaper right before the flight to have the least chance of having to try to do that in those teeny tiny airplane bathrooms.
4. Admit you need extra assistance! When boarding, feel free to board the plane when the gate agent calls for anyone needing extra time or assistance. This will give you time to get you and your baby settled without as many people crowding around you.
5. Be prepared to battle air pressure. Young children are especially affected by changes in air pressure. But don’t worry! There are many things you can do to aid in this change. Try to nurse or bottle feed the baby during ascending and descending to minimize effects on their ear pressure. Think about the act of chewing gum and how it helps an adult adjust. If they aren’t wanting to eat, at least give them something to chew or suck on to keep their mouths moving.
6. Be prepared to play and eat. Pack a bag full of a wide variety of toys for your baby to play with. In the days leading up to the flight, notice which toys keep your baby entertained for the longest amount of time. While on the plane, wait to give them something new until they are done using what they currently have. Another huge tip is snacks. Snacks, snacks, snacks! Bring a variety of snacks for your baby (and you) to keep you both going.
7. Pack an extra change of clothes for your baby AND for you. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Hope that you don’t have to do multiple wardrobe changes in the aforementioned teeny tiny bathroom, but be prepared to, just in case you have to!
8. Bring a blanket to snuggle. Do this even in the warmer months, as planes can get cold.
9. It’s ok if they cry a little. If they cry at home, then they’ll cry on an airplane. Don’t panic, just follow your parenting instincts and take care of them as you normally would.
10. You are not the only one. Always remember that you are not the only one who has had to fly with a baby. A lot of people have flown with infants and kids, so don’t think about how you must be annoying others. Of course, you should always try to be courteous. Most people around you will be kind and understanding; strangers will often be willing to help you out because they understand that you are the one doing the heavy lifting!
These are some ideas we had for ways to successfully fly with your baby. What are other must-dos or must-haves for plane rides? We would love to know what you do to keep your baby happy (happier than this baby and passenger) during an airplane flight!