Baby on Board! Flying with an Infant
Our entire family lives in the Midwest, so my wife and I have do not have any relatives to lean on here in North Carolina. Being so far away from family with a new baby has not been easy. However, we have made several trips back to the Midwest since Lyla was born. At first, we were apprehensive about flying with a baby. But, all of our trips have went surprisingly smooth.
If you have not flown with a baby before, here are a few ways to make your travels go a little easier:
Allow Plenty of Time: You're going to be carrying a lot of stuff. You won't be able to run through the airport to catch your flight. You're probably going to have to spend extra time at security. If you are bringing formula or breast milk, the TSA agents will need to run a special test on the bottles. They run the bottles through a special machine that verifies the contents of the bottles. This can take a few minutes to complete.
Get a Car Seat Bag: If you're bringing a car seat with you, purchase a car seat bag. Not only will the bag protect your child's car seat from getting dirty or damaged, it will also make your travels easier. We have a Britax car seat and we purchased this bag. Bonus: the bag also has room for the car seat base! Do not pay to check the car seat! Bring it with you to the gate. Then, the airlines will let you planeside check the car seat, free! Here's a bonus tip: you can stash a few extra things inside the car seat (like blankets, clothes or jackets).
Check Your Stroller At the Gate: Keep your child in the stroller until right before you get on the plane. You can check the stroller free at the gate. This will make your travels through the airport easier. Plus, when you land, your stroller will be available immediately. You won't have to walk through an airport carrying your child to the baggage claim area.
Bring Several Pacifiers: My daughter likes to pull out her pacifier and throw it on the ground. Considering all the germs on airplanes, you're not going to want to put that back into your child's mouth. Bring extras. Also, keep in mind that if your child is sucking on a pacifier or a bottle when the plane takes off and lands, he or she will be much more comfortable!
Bring Extra Toys: Buy a few new toys to bring with you on the trip. This will help keep your child's attention and also help prevent a meltdown on the plane. Also, bring your tablet or iPad with you. There are lots of children/baby games and apps that will keep your child entertained and engaged while you are on the plane.
Ask to Board the Plane Early: As soon as first class passengers finish boarding, approach the attendant and ask if you can board the plane next. This has worked for us every time we have gotten on a plane with Lyla.
Children Under Two Travel Free: That's right. If your child is under the age of two, he or she flies free. The catch? You have to hold your child in your lap. This worked well for us every time we have traveled. Lyla typically falls asleep shortly after the plane takes off. We're lucky!
Change The Diaper: Right before you get on the plane, change your child's diaper. Airplanes don't have a lot of space. I think it would be pretty challenging to change a diaper while you're in flight!
Yes, traveling with an infant or small child is stressful. Yes, it will be more difficult. But, no, it's not impossible! In fact, you might realize it's a lot easier than you think.