Baby on Board: A Guide to Air Travel with an Infant
Traveling can be stressful and difficult. When you add an infant in the mix, it can be even more stressful and more difficult. But, we’ve got many tips to keep you organized (and sane!) from the moment you book your trip to the moment you’re back home.
Booking your trip:
- Many moms choose flight times based on when their child naps, hoping the child will just sleep for the whole flight. But, that logic doesn’t always work out. Some babies are very curious about their surroundings and won’t nap at all. Also, many times planes are delayed, which defeats the purpose of choosing that time to begin with. So, it’s best to choose morning flights. They’re more likely to be on time, making it easier to keep your baby on his or her usual schedule.
- Choose an aisle seat whenever possible so that you can get up and down freely on the flight to walk with or bounce the baby if he or she is fussy.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, ask for a room that’s at the end of a hallway, away from pools, restaurants, and other areas where people congregate. Yes, the room is little father away from everything, but the benefit is that it will likely be quieter. Rooms close to the elevator or common areas mean lots of people around, all the time. If you’re at the end of a hallway, fewer people will walk past your room, meaning quieter conditions for you and baby.
Packing Your Bags:
- Pack as much as you can in your suitcase. If you’re formula feeding and plan to travel outside of the country bring enough formula for every day you’ll be gone plus two extra days, just in case you’re delayed.
- Bring only essentials with you on the plane. You likely won’t have much time to relax because you’ll be tending to baby. But, bring a book or a pair of headphones for the plane’s in-flight entertainment system in case you get a free minute.
- In the diaper bag, pack extra everything to account for delays. Bring a change of clothes for you AND baby, stored in plastic bags. That way if any of them get soiled and you need the change of clothes, you have somewhere to store the dirty ones.
- If you’re breastfeeding, don’t forget to pack a nursing cover in the diaper bag.
- Traveling with liquids, such as baby food, ready-to-feed and or formula and breastmilk is not problem. The TSA considers them medically required liquids and says “Passengers going on long trips should only carry on the medically necessary liquids and gels needed for their infant/toddler’s immediate comfort during the flight. Please pack larger amounts of liquids for the remainder of the trip in a checked bag”.
The B.box Essential Bottle is perfect for travel! It makes mixing powder formula and water so easy and mess free, which is perfect for in tight spaces, like on planes. The bottle has a special compartment on the bottom for storing formula. Fill the bottle up with the desired amount of water and fill the bottom up with the correct amount of powder formula. When you’re ready to feed the baby, push the plunger on the bottom of the bottle, dispensing the powder into the water. Shake the B.box Essential Bottle a little and you’re ready to fee the baby!
In the Airport:
- Once you’ve checked in with the airlines and handed over your checked baggage, it’s time to go through security. Ask about family security lines. Many airports have separate lines for people traveling with small children. You may not have to remove your shoes and light jackets, and you may not have to take all electronic devices out of their cases in these lines. And, since all the other people in line are traveling with kids, they’ll be much more patient as you juggle the baby and your carry on items.
- If you’re breastfeeding, check out Breastfeeding During the Holidays for some tips on flying while breast pumping or breast feeding.
- Also worth noting: the TSA will never ask you to do anything that separates you from your child.
- Consider baby-wearing in the airport to help keep your hands free, and don’t forget you can check your stroller at the gate, for free.
On the Plane:
- Most airlines offer families traveling with small children the option to pre-board the plane. This can be a lifesaver because it gives you a chance to settle in and organize yourselves without worrying about other passengers trying to get past you.
- Bring a travel pack of Clorox wipes and, once you’re on the plane, wipe down the entire area before you sit. This includes the armrests, tray tables, and the lights and air vents above you. This will cut down on germs tremendously.
- It’s best to keep the diaper bag under your seat and put everything else in the overhead compartment.
- To minimize the pressure on your baby’s ears, experts agree to give your little one a pacifier or bottle or to nurse as plane takes off unless baby is sleeping. In that case, let him or her sleep!
At your destination:
- If you’re traveling outside of the country (to the Caribbean, for example) and you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll need organic dish soap and a bottle brush to wash bottles.
Consider using Playtex Nurser Bottles with Drop-ins while you travel. The liners are disposable, so there’s much less to clean! And, you can bring fewer bottles with you too!
- You only need to bring a few burp cloths. Use hotel washcloths while you’re at the hotel instead, so you don’t have to carry home several dirty (and possibly very stinky) burp cloths.
- Lastly, when traveling out of the country, be sure to bring a thermometer and infant Acetaminophen.
- If you’re traveling within the US, staying at someone’s house and will have access to a car, only bring as many diapers as you can fit. You can buy them once you get to your destination. The same goes for other supplies.
Whether you’re at a hotel or a relative’s house, you’ll want the baby to be comfortable, so bring somewhere for him or her to hang out safely, other than the crib or stroller. Check out Tiny Love’s Take-Along Bouncer!
Your baby will have all the comforts of a traditional bouncy seat and you’ll have an incredibly easy-to-fold, pack and carry, seat. With two clicks, the seat folds in half. Pop it into the carrying case, and it’ll fit in the bottom of a suitcase with the greatest of ease.
- Travel with hard copies of your child’s health information and pediatrician’s contact information.
- Be sure to bring proof of your child’s identity (a passport or a copy of the Birth Certificate).
Traveling with kids requires much planning and preparation. But, with all the right tools, your family trip will go smoothly and you’ll be ready to do it all again in no time!
Tags: airplane travel, babies, baby, family, family friendly travel, family travel, helpful mom resources, tips, travel, travel accessories, travel tips, travel with children, travel with kids, traveling
Krista lives in New York with her husband, their 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son. She teaches English at a local college and loves to read, shop, and cook. She enjoys blogging about motherhood at The Quinntessential Mommy. You can contact her via email, twitter or visit her blog.