Planning your first flight with baby is exciting, but it can also be daunting.
Travel in itself can be stressful, and adding the responsibility of caring for another human can at first be overwhelming. But once you get through the flight, you’ll realize that making the journey was worth it. Here are our tips and must-have products to make the flight as easy and fun as possible with your little one.
1) Determine which seating arrangement is best for your family by consulting with your airline.
When booking your first flight with baby, consider calling the airline instead of booking the flight online. Most airlines will let you bring children under 2 on the flight for free, and a customer service agent can help make sure your baby gets properly ticketed. If you decide that you want a little more room for the two of you, many airlines offer tickets for infants at 50% off the normal airfare. If you purchase a seat for your baby, don’t forget your car seat or FAA-approved safety harness. Also, consider booking a seat by the portable baby bassinets offered by most airlines.
2) Pack extra supplies.
Pack your carry-on with extra food and clothing, anticipating that you may experience a flight delay or get stuck at some point on the road. Consider this when packing medical supplies like infant Tylenol in case of an emergency. Also, bring several swaddles to cover the airplane bassinet if you requested one – or they can also be used for spit up emergencies, as a feeding cover up, etc.
3) Prepare for the airport with the latest mobile apps.
From finding nursing rooms to moving quickly through the custom line, apps can help make your time in the airport a breeze. Find our list of favorite travel apps here.
4) Bring a carrier.
A baby sling or carrier will help your hands stay free as you’re pulling luggage through the airport or if you need to walk up and down the aisle to calm your little one on the plane.
5) Gate check your stroller if you’re bringing one.
If you plan to bring a stroller, your airline will let you push it all the way to the gate, making it a nice option to move your little one if they’re older than 6 months. Consider bringing an inexpensive umbrella stroller so you don’t have to worry about damage, or invest in a stroller bag to help keep it clean.
6) Board early.
If you or your partner is an elite-status pass holder on any air carrier, the entire family can board with the frequent flyer group and use the early boarding to set up camp. Otherwise, ask the attendant at the gate if you’re able to pre-board to help you and your baby get settled. Once you get to your seat, wipe down everything to help keep germs at bay as much as possible.
7) Feed during take off and landing.
One of the main sources of discomfort for infants traveling on airplanes is the change in cabin pressure when taking off and landing. You can prepare for this by planning to nurse or give a bottle or pacifier to your little one during takeoff and landing to help alleviate the pressure. If you plan to nurse, consider booking a window aisle and bringing an infinity scarf for cover if you want more privacy. You will be able to bring frozen or fresh breast milk in a soft-sided cooler through security (more details on the TSA website), and you can ask a flight attendant for hot water if you want to thaw a bag of frozen breast milk. If you’re using formula, a formula dispenser will allow you to pre-measure and help you fill will ease.
8) Bring both familiar and new toys to keep baby engaged.
Bring along a new rattle, book, toy, or stuffed animal to keep the baby engaged, along with a familiar favorite. If your baby has a favorite blanket or lovey, be sure to have it ready for the flight. Also, don’t forget cool teething rings for little ones needing something to chew.
9) Prepare for diaper changing on the go.
If traveling on a long flight, consider using night diapers or doubling up on regular diapers in case you’re unable to get out of your seat for safety reasons. Most airline and airport bathrooms include infant changing tables, but be prepared for tight quarters. Pack wipes to clean the space as much as possible before using and consider packing an extra travel changing pad.
Your flight will likely go much better than you are anticipating, Enjoy the time with your little one and the adventure ahead!
What are your must-know tips for traveling with baby? Let us know in the comments!
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