Have you been putting off that trip you’ve been meaning to take or stressing out about it because you will be traveling with a baby this time around? As a mother who has flown quite a few times with my little one, I know there can be a lot of anxiety and stress associated with taking your wee one on a plane, particularly baby’s first flight.
Because I love you all and want you to be as carefree and relaxed as possible, I’m going to share with you a few tips I have picked up through the past few years of jet setting with my bundle of joy.
1. Choose your flight wisely
A couple things to keep in mind when booking your flight.
a. There are 2 seating options for children under 2, they can ride on your lap or you can opt to purchase a seat for them. While the second option is more expensive, if your kiddo will sleep in their car seat, it may be worth the extra cash.
b. For transatlantic flights, some airlines have a cot option in specified seats, check with the airline ahead of time to see if they offer this. It will allow you a bit of space if you chose to forgo the car seat option.
c. Also for transatlantic flights, take the latest flight possible for the best chance of a sleeping baby for the majority of your flight!
2. Help your little one’s ears
Your baby isn’t going to know how to pop his or her ears when pressure builds up during take-off and landing. But, they have the same ears you do, so they are going to feel that pressure and it might be painful. So you will want to relieve it for them. The best way to do that is to nurse or give them a bottle during take-off and landing, which cause their jaw to move as though they were trying to pop their ears and will help release ear pressure and prevent inner ear pain.
3. Keep it Simple!!!
Try, try, try your very hardest to channel your inner minimalist. Getting on and off the plane can sometimes be a little frantic, the less you have to gather the better. For entertainment try to limit it to baby’s favorite LIGHT books, a few small quiet toys, and a couple different snacks to keep things interesting.
4. Make friends with your neighbors
Some people have brought a handful of plastic bags with a note saying “This is my first flight, please use these ear plugs in case I get upset–the baby next to you” with some candy, and passed them out to the people in the seats surrounding them. This can help if you’re having some anxiety about whether or not your child will be “that baby on the plane” during the flight.
5. Be prepared for an all-weather flight
In your carry-on bag, pack a couple changes of clothes. The plane is not always temperate, you might want to add or subtract layers to keep babe comfy.
Poop-splosions DO happen, have a plan, bring back-up supplies just in case. (Yes I may two poop-related words in this one).
7. Family-friendly airport restrooms are your friend
There are family rooms in certain airports where you can change diapers and take a breather, while keeping the kiddos corralled. They are generally cleaner, more comfortable and spacious, and allow mom and dad to be in at the same time. Take advantage of these!!
8. Take a walk
If they start having a tough time, get up and walk around, it’s hard enough as an adult to sit still for that long of a flight, poor kid needs some new scenery and stimulation. People will get it and appreciate your efforts to soothe your baby and won’t be annoyed. If they are, who cares (see more on this below)? This can also help deter the scowl inducing kicking of the seat in front of them.
9. Family first
People are usually more kind and understanding than you expect, many of them have been there and done that. While it is courteous to try your best to maintain a quasi-quiet baby, the bottom line is that your child’s happiness, safety, and comfort are your priorities-you do not need to be concerned with the contentment of your neighbors.
10. Remove the hassle of traveling with baby gear, rent it!
Don’t bring all of baby’s gear with you! There are baby equipment rentals in most major cities in the U.S. The majority are clean, safe, and deliver to your hotel or residence! No need to lug a stroller, car seat (if you chose to lap sit), play yard, and bulky toys. Rent them and save yourself a world of hassle. Buy things like diapers, extra wipes, and extra snacks when you get there. If you’re not going to a third world country or out in the boonies, you can most likely find these items once you get settled and it will save you valuable suitcase space.