There are tons and tons of websites out there, and I'm sure that if you have a flight coming up with a baby you've probably read them all. I know I certainly tried to find out all of the magical answers myself.
So here I am, offering you some more tips for flying with an infant. Like I said in an earlier post, I've been on tons of flights with my 4 year old and 2 year old. We started flying around when they were just tiny, and I often fly without my husband, so I feel like I have a lot of experience.
Do I have magical answers, sorry no.
Will this upcoming flight be the best you've ever had, not likely, sorry. You can likely tell by the exhausted looks on our faces in the photo above.
Flying with babies is tough work! Being prepared will help.
Here are some suggestions based on what I've found works.
- Fly at night when possible so that the kids are tired and sleep. It makes hanging around in airports tougher, but the plane ride seems more pleasant.
- Use a baby carrier instead of a stroller so that you have your hands free and can pull a small suitcase.
- Got two babies or a baby and a toddler? I have two suggestions.
- One is wear a baby carrier, wear a backpack and push the heaviest child in a light-weight stroller.
- The other suggestion is using a double stroller. This way both kids can lay down, and you don't have to carry a ton of stuff. I keep my stroller all the way until the gate. TIP: Make sure you tell them at check in if your stroller comes a part into more than one piece when you fold it. Mine is 3 pieces, so I need to get three stroller tags when I check in. If you choose the double stroller, I would recommend that you still keep a carrier in your backpack. You will need it for the airport during your connecting flight, if they don't give you your stroller back (some airlines will).
- Dress your baby in comfy, dark coloured clothes like pajamas or track suits. It's not a fashion show, and being comfortable is more important. Tummies tend to get bloated on flights so you don't want tight pants. Dress them in layers because it will get cold on the plane. I like to put mine in an undershirt, pajamas, socks and then pack a zip up hoodie that is easy to slip on.
- Pack 1-2 sets of extra clothes. Something about airplanes and air pressure does something to digestive systems. You may find that you have some messy, messy diapers and need extra outfits. I also like to pack an extra shirt for myself in case baby has an accident on me.
- Pack more diapers than you would normally use. It's better to be safe than sorry, and like I said above tummies and bums tend to act up on flights.
- Don't go crazy on the books and toys if you are on a night flight, chances are your kids will be tired and sleep. Having a few little surprise toys/books/activities that they haven't seen before is always a nice treat.
- Always book an airplane bassinet seat as soon as you book your ticket. There are never enough for all of the babies on the plane, you don't want to miss out. If you don't get a bassinet or if your baby is now almost 2 years old and too heavy for a bassinet, ask if there are any extra seats on the plane. Chances are they might be able to move the passenger scheduled to sit beside you to a free seat. This means that you don't have to hold your baby the entire flight. Ask at check in and then ask again as soon as you get on the plane. If your baby does get his/her own seat, it would be nice if you had a 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow with you.
- To help with ear pressure nurse or feed your baby during take off and landing. If your baby takes a pacifier, now is a great time to use it.
- If your baby is eating food, pack some snacks. Squeeze packets of apple sauce, crackers, yogurt buttons...anything like that will be good for a little entertainment.
- Take lots of walks around the plane. Stop and hang out with the flight attendants. If your baby is crawling or walking, let them go up and down the aisles. Just make sure you wash their hands very well afterwards.
- Expect that your baby will cry. They really don't like when they have to have the seatbelt on during take off and landing. This is a time when you will start feeling very stressed, try to stay calm. Your baby will sense your frustration. This part of the journey is often really hot, try to remove some layers at this time. It might feel like the screaming is going on forever, but as soon as you've reached altitude, you can jump up and walk around to calm your baby down. What others on the plane think, isn't important, you and your baby have just as much right to be on that plane as anyone.
- Go to the toilet! Drink water! If you're alone ask for the flight attendants to help you mind the baby while you use the washroom.
- Sleep as soon as your baby sleeps. You never know how much time you will get, so take advantage.
- SURVIVE! It's all about getting to the finish line.
You might want to get your little traveller a keepsake for his/her first flight. Check out the Simply for Flying - My Flight Logbook. It's a cute little book where they can record every flight that they take, and the pilot and crew can even write them little messages. Such a treasure to look back on in future years.