Tips for Flying with a Baby
Are you starting to plan a vacation? Does the thought of flying with a baby make you nervous? I remember feeling panicked a few years ago when my husband suggested we fly to Thailand with our 6-month-old baby. Every time I imagined this scenario, I pictured my baby crying non-stop for hours and hours. I envisioned passengers saying mean things and giving us dirty looks. And when I started Googling to get tips, I found all kinds of horror stories.
Let me help ease your fears. Flying with a baby is totally doable. For our trip to Thailand, I packed about 10 toys and had tons of snacks. My son played for 10 minutes and then slept. the. entire. flight.
That’s not to say your baby won’t cry. But, I’ve found that most passengers are extremely sympathetic and understanding. We’ve been seated next to loving grandparents, pediatric nurses, kind souls and other parents. I hope that you have the same luck when flying with a baby! And if all else fails, remember that you’ll probably never see these passengers again!
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Create the Ultimate Carry On Diaper Bag
One of the most important pieces of luggage you will have when traveling with a baby is your diaper bag. One of my favorite diaper bag’s is the Lassig Green Label Neckline Diaper Bag. I love how much stuff I can pack inside. There’s a spot for everything! Remember extra baby clothes, medications, ointments, and lots of diapers and wipes.
I like to get a nylon reusable bag (like these bags) and put a few diapers and a small pack of wipes inside. That way, I can grab this little bag when heading to the tiny restroom to change my baby’s diaper. Insider tip: the one in the back of the plane usually has a changing table.
If your baby is old enough to eat solid food, bring some! Ask your flight attendant for a cup and pour a few Cheerios in at a time. It will become an activity for your baby to fish them out and feed themselves. I’m also a fan of pouches because babies can drink them. One of my favorite brands is Plum Organics food pouches. Keep your wipes handy to clean up any messes.
Buy Milk at the Airport
If your baby is old enough to drink cow’s milk, buy a bottle at the airport right before you board. Most airlines don’t carry milk on board (we learned this the hard way!) Bring your favorite sippy cup and refill as your baby gets thirsty. Milk can stay out at room temperature for 2 hours and airplanes are usually pretty chilly.
Wear a Nursing Poncho
I was a bit uncomfortable nursing in public with my oldest. And when I got the hang of it, he started to get distracted. That’s why I recommend packing a nursing cover for the flight. It will keep your baby focused on eating and possibly help them fall asleep. Plus, it can be used as a burp cloth, an extra blanket, and you can stretch it over the car seat for privacy.
Remember how I just told you to pack snacks? Your baby may wipe this snack on you. Or spit it up on your shirt. Or pee on you. You may not want to remain in soiled clothes for the rest of your flight. I’ve worn a nursing cover as outerwear to keep my clothes clean when flying with a baby.
Don’t Forget the Binky (or Lovey)
Both my kids have been binky babies. We always have one clipped to them on flights. My favorite pacifier clip brand is Booginhead because they are a local Seattle-area company. They make a sensory version of a binky clip that has a crinkle sound. My 16-month-old can’t get enough of it! And I usually have 2 extra pacifiers in my diaper bag, just in case.
If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or little lovey, don’t leave it at home! In fact, you might pack an extra one and hide it in your luggage. You won’t want to spend your vacation hunting down one after it’s been misplaced.
Use a Baby Carrier
The biggest tip I have for flying with a baby is to bring a baby carrier. Yes, even if you have purchased a seat for your baby. Chances are, at some point your baby is going to want you to hold him/her. Being able to secure your child in a baby carrier will give your arms a much need rest.
I currently own 10 baby and toddler carriers. Yes, I know that seems excessive (and it is.) The ones that I use 95% of the time are my Tula baby carriers. I like that they fit my small frame and can easily be adjusted to fit my husband’s larger torso. But, on a more stylish note, I’m obsessed with the variety of prints. There are even Facebook groups for people who love their Tula baby carriers! Plus, you can customize your Tula carrier with fun suck pads, creative hoods and decorative accessories. You can see my customized Mickey Mouse Tula in my post Why You Should Take Grandma to Disneyland.