16 Tips For Keeping Your Sanity When Flying With Your Baby
Ahh, vacation. You deserve one.
And, while taking a vacation is probably much different now that you have a baby, it still can be enjoyable.
And I’m not talking a vacation that is a few hours away by car.
I’m talking a big, fat, tropical island vacation that includes a plane ride and tons of preparation.
Haven’t put your baby on a plane before?
There’s a first time for everything!
While parents often fear the unknown, you can try to prepare for your voyage. If you’re taking a flight, here are some things you can do to make it easier and more stress—free for all parties involved.
Buy a Spot
Yes, one of the main perks of flying with a baby or toddler include flying free for two and under.
But, if your little one is still in their carrier, keep them in their carrier by giving them their own seat, if you can swing it financially.
Not only is it safer, but it’s more comfortable for you, giving you more space and flexibility to move, manipulate, and entertain, while ensuring that you, your baby, and your spouse will be put together in one row.
A baby carrier is an absolute must when flying with your baby—it frees up your hands to do other things and carry your luggage. Check out our guide to finding the right carrier for you!
Another perk of flying with a baby is getting to board the plane first. The only downfall is waiting for the rest of the plane to board before taking off—and that can take quite awhile.
Some babies are just fine with the wait, while others get fussy and squirmy (and you don’t want an upset baby before the flight even takes off).
So, send your partner on the plane with your bags and allow them to set up a baby friendly area.
You can spend time walking around the terminal, letting your baby explore, and then you can hop on the plane at last call.
Volia! Problem solved.
Bring at least 8-10 small toy items that will keep your baby entertained.
The key is to not introduce them all at once, but to rotate each item every 20 minutes or so, so your baby won’t get bored with their options.
If your baby is older (over one), you may want to entertain them with electronics, like your phone, a tablet, or a portable dvd player so they can watch their favorite shows and play their favorite songs or games.
Just be sure to pack a set of headphones (if they’ll wear them), so you disturb those around you as minimally as possible.
Know Your Liquids
Formula and other baby food and juice item are allowed (more than the standard 3 ounces) in carry on bags, but in reasonable amounts.
What constitutes a reasonable amount?
It’s best to use your judgement here. Generally, travelling parents pack about a day’s worth of food and drink supplies, and pick up the rest of what they need when they hit their destination.
Your bag and beverages will need to be investigated at security, so be prepared to take it out.
Protect Little Ears
As an adult, you understand it’s important to keep your mouth and jaw moving as you take off and touch down, due to pressure in your ears.
Little ones, and especially babies, do not understand this concept. So, have a pacifier on hand for them to suck on.
Toddlers who no longer use their binkies will be slightly confused, yet thrilled when you hand them one. Just take it back when the coast is clear.
Better to do this than have an unhappy child on your hands due to pain and pressure.
Pacifiers, sippy cups, food cups, and other toys will end up all over the floor. This means lots of exposure to germs and other yuckies.
So, purchase several attachment pieces before your flight. These attachments clip onto your baby’s clothes, your diaper bag, their carrier, you name it.
It will stop you from constantly bending, picking, and sanitizing!
Plus, you won’t lose anything either.
Use No-Spill Snack Cups
To keep your hungry toddler happy and your area clean and neat, utilize no spill snack cups. These little miracles allow hands to enter, but keep snacks still.
You can literally turn the cup over your head and shake, and nothing will come out.
They are much more practical than plastic baggies and they can even be tied to attachment to ensure they stay off the floor or don't roll down the aisle.
Keep Them Comfortable
Yes, a dolled up baby looks adorable. You’re sure to get lots of “Ohhhs” and “Ahhs” when walking around the airport.
But, those cute little outfits aren’t always the most comfortable.
Put your baby in loose fitting, soft, and flexible clothing when you fly.
You can certainly change them when you touch down, but for travel purposes, keep them happy by keeping them comfortable.
Fly When They Sleep
By booking a flight late at night, your child will be super sleepy and will most likely catch zzz’s while you travel—especially if flying over International waters.
If you’re taking a shorter flight, and you have your baby on a pretty solid nap schedule, attempt to plan your flight around their morning or afternoon snooze session.
Ask for Help
You’re not Super Mom (who knew?), so there’s no shame in requesting help from your flight attendant.
He or she can warm bottles for you, allow you to walk the plane if your baby is super fussy, provide you with extra blankets or pillows, or even play movies for you to keep your baby entertained.
Your baby is most likely going to cry at some point in your flight. Takeoff and landing can be pretty scary to an unknowing baby, and they may also get overwhelmed with the air pressure and loads of people around them.
Apologize ahead of time to other flyers around you, reminding them that you’re going to do everything you can to keep your baby happy and quiet as possible.
But, as you know, some things happen that are literally out of control.
So, if you set the tone as apologetic from the start, you’ll be a more popular passenger.
Be Ready for Air Sickness
Little ones often get car and/or air sick. Motion sickness is scary and upsetting.
And, if it’s your first time flying with your baby or toddler, you may not know if they get air sick or not.
So, before the flight takes off (take off and touch down is when the sickness usually occurs), ask your flight attendant for a bag or two and some paper towels in case there’s an issue.
It’s always best to be prepared for anything.
You should also make sure you pack a change of clothes (or two) and a plastic bag (for soiled outfits) in your baby’s carry on bag in case if they do get ill on themselves, you’ll be able to clean them up effectively.
This may get pretty exhausting for you, but your baby will sure enjoy it—play all kinds of games with your baby.
If they get sick of their toys and trinkets that you’ve packed for them, turn to good ‘ol peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, and other sing along nursery rhymes with movements.
Your baby will love the attention they’re getting, and their brains and bodies will be stimulated in different ways for a bit.
Bring Comforts from Home
Some parents are afraid to bring their baby’s favorite items from home in fear of losing them.
But, your baby’s blanket, comfort toy, favorite jammies, and favorite books are important to pack because they will provide them with plenty of comfort and “normalcy” which they may seek if it’s their first time flying.
Disposable spoons and bibs are a must when travelling.
You can just toss them when you’re done using them and don't have to worry about making a mess in your diaper bag!
Give Them a Window Seat
Older babies and young todders may really love sitting by a window.
Everything will seem interesting and fascinating to them.
It’s also a great way to engage them in a meaningful, educational conversation about what they are seeing and what’s happening.
Plus, if you have an overactive little one, it will keep them away from the aisle and will decrease their ability to get out of their seat and run around.
A lot of people “stop” their normal lives once they have a baby. But, you deserve a vacation—you work hard!
Whether you’re flying for pleasure or business, you can fly with a baby and it doesn’t have to be scary.
It’s just wise to go in with an open mind, no expectations, but be fully prepared for anything and everything.
The tips above will help you cover all your bases, and will make flying easier and more enjoyable for everyone.