5.14.2015

10 Tips for Flying With an Infant

We did it. We took our three-month-old baby on a plane and survived. I was all stressed out the week leading up to this flight only because I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what we'd need, and I didn't know if the TSA folks were going to give us a hard time. But all of that worry was pointless because our trip was one of the most uneventful flying experience of my life and everyone was incredibly kind and helpful (except one impatient fellow passenger in the security line.) But, I learned a few things along the way and figured I should share the wisdom:

1. Make lists. Make lists for your lists. I had lists organized by how I was packing. There was the baby's bag, the diaper bag, my carry on suitcase, and my personal item (a big purse.) I'd share the list with you, but then you'd really think I was nutso.

2. Start packing early, especially for the baby. Set aside outfits, bibs, burp cloths, whatever else you need in advance. You don't want to have to do last-minute laundry the night before your trip. Plus, as you start to set things aside you'll see how much space it's all taking up, and be able to make adjustments accordingly. 

3. Decide what you can live without. We decided early that we weren't going to bring stroller and we weren't going to check our bags. The largest thing we had to bring with us was the car seat and base (because we needed to get from the airport to the hotel and to the rehearsal dinner with said baby.) Instead of pushing the baby through the airport in a stroller, I wore her in an Ergobaby carrier. Also, the TSA folks they let me keep her in the carrier to walk through the metal detector, which was very nice.

4. Print out the TSA rules for traveling with breast milk and formula and keep them in your carry on, that way if anyone gives you a hard time about your liquids, you can show them who's boss. If you're traveling with a lap infant (a baby you're not buying a separate plane seat for) you should also print out a copy of the baby's birth certificate to show that he/she is under the age of two. No one asked to see it, but I wanted it handy in case of any funny business. 

5. Buy this protective travel bag if you are traveling with a car seat. It's a little bulky on the back, but it leaves your hands free for your roller suitcase or anything else. Secret tip: Pack baby's clothes/diapers/etc. in this bag as well, just place them in a bag in the seat of the car seat and you won't have to bring separate luggage for the baby. 

6. Pay for convenient parking or get a ride to the airport. While parking for the weekend cost us almost as much as the plane ticket (usually we park in the economy lot or take public transportation), it was worth it to be close for departing and arriving since we were lugging a bunch of bags and a baby with us.

7. Keep your destination/accommodations in mind. If you're staying at a hotel call ahead and arrange a crib and a refrigerator for your room. If you're staying with friends maybe they have a car seat or pack 'n play that you can use. Thinking about these things in advance will give you peace of mind and might help you cut down on how much luggage you need to lug through the airport.

8. Feed/nurse/pacify during take off and landing. I guess some babies have a hard time popping their own ears so they recommend that you nurse, feed or give them a pacifier to help relieve ear discomfort. My little one didn't seem bothered by the pressure changes, but I had a pacifier handy in case she got fussy. 

9. Be ready to apologize on behalf of your spawn. Babies will be babies and kids will be kids. They might cry or they might gift you (and your fellow passengers) with a big smelly poop mid-flight. They don't have manners yet, so it is your responsibility to apologize on their behalf. Just a simply, I'm sorry, lets the people around you know that you're aware that this might not be their ideal flight experience.

10. Try to stay relaxed. I know, I know, easy for me to say when I was totally the opposite of relaxed before this first flight. Just know, things might go wrong, you might take up the entire conveyor belt at security with all of your belongings (yes, that happened to us) and some people might be impatient with you... screw them. Most people are helpful and kind, and even if they aren't, you're never going to see them again. I'm a firm believer that your mindset and emotional state transfer to baby, so the more relaxed and chill you are, the more relaxed and chill your baby will be. 

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