There are so many tricks and tips to flying with infants that makes the experience so much less stressful. This week, I’ll continue where we left off on Rockstar Tips for Flying with Infants (part 1). Let’s just go into some of the things you should know that may help to prepare for flying with infants. With a lil planning, you’ll be in for a pleasant trip!
How to Buy - When flying with infants, try to buy tickets during nap time, if possible. Nothing is sweeter than a baby who falls asleep on take-off! And note that many airlines, especially budget airlines, no longer allow family boarding first or even promise to seat a family together unless you pay their extra fees. If these things are important to you, be prepared to shell out a little extra dough for your preferences.
- Prepare for Delays - In case of airline delays, pack a baby bag with extra clothes, extra diapers, extra formula, extra baby wipes, food pouches (if over 6 months old), some toys, and so on. We were once stuck in an airport for a 6-hour delay when my son was only 8 months old. Thank goodness I was breastfeeding because I couldn’t run out of food for him!
- Packing Luggage – Sure, maybe you used to travel with just a carry-on but now you’re packing for a small army. Plan to check a bag so you can include your baby’s shampoo, diapers, wipes, toys, etc. Maybe you can buy them on arrival at your destination, too, but you always need to have some available for the first day or two, in case your brands are hard to locate.
- Gate Check Tags - If you’re traveling with a stroller or car seat that needs gate checked, get gate check tags for them as soon as you arrive at your boarding gate. Most of the time, you’ll walk your gate checked baby gear to a drop-off point near the plane and will receive it as soon as you walk off the plane, not at baggage claim.
- Baby Wearing - Wear your baby, if possible. It is so much easier to handle all your travel needs when you have 2 hands free! It’s also very comforting to your child to be so close to you during a new situation. You may want to cover the baby wrap or harness up during take-off or landing, though, because some airlines will actually make you unhook them during that time if they see you wearing. Weird. I know.
- Wait for Space - When flying with infants as a lap child, if it’s just the 2 of you, I found it’s best to wait until the very last passenger boarded to get on the plane. It’s a smart trick that allows you to see where there may be 2 seats open. If the plane is full, no harm no foul. But if there are 2 seats open, nobody will know that they don’t belong to you and your lil one! Then you will have extra room to use, if needed.
- Bathroom Breaks - Always go to the restroom just as the boarding is started. Having to go on a plane while holding an infant is an interesting task. Of course, there’s usually a sweet grandparent type that offers to hold your lil one for you but… it’s better to just not have to go. lol
- Infant Ear Pressure - Make sure you have a pacifier/bottle ready or are set to nurse during take-off and landing. I’ve seen way too many babies screaming because their parents didn’t understand that changes in cabin pressure affects them much more than it affects adults. Please, give your baby something to work their jaws so they can avoid ear pain during take off and landing.
- Comforting Routines - Start fun routines now, even though you think your child won’t remember them. In truth, these building blocks give children the confidence and memories to make future flights easier. My son and I sing the same songs on take-off and play the same lil games while in the air. It’s comforting to him and fun for both of us.
- Fussy Babies - Babies cry sometimes. Everyone knows that so just try to relax. Your baby will feel if you’re stressed and react accordingly.
I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable and confident in your future flying with infants. Remember, flying before they can walk or crawl is the best time to get them used to planes. Happy travels!
Do you have any tips for flying with infants that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!