At some point, most everyone will have to buck up and face the inevitable fact that they have to board an airplane with their baby. Below are some tips to remember before packing up and heading to the airport.
1. Car seats and Strollers can be checked at the gate- for free!
- Typically, car seats can be checked at the baggage claim area, and do not count towards your "checked luggage" (meaning, they will not charge you.) That also applies for lap infants, so even if you aren't paying for your baby to have their own seat, airlines will courtesy check your car seat.
- By keeping your stroller with you, it's a great way to put your carry-on items in it, and simply push it through the airport and check it right at the gate.
2. Carriers are a lifesaver
- The ability to navigate "hands-free" is amazing. TSA allows you to continue to baby-wear, even through security. All they have to do is simply swipe your hands with a paper that tests for bomb residue.
- Think about this scenario: if you have your baby in their stroller, when you reach security you must place everything on the belt, take your child OUT of the stroller, fold up the stroller and place it on the belt (if it will fit, if it won't, they will have to manually search it) walk through the metal detector holding your baby, grab your items (while holding your baby) wait for your stroller, open it, then put your baby back down. If you have your child in an Ergo or a similar carrier, you'll still have to run the stroller through the scanner, but you'll have your hands free to accomplish these tasks and your child will be safe and secure.
- You may also want to go a different direction, especially if you plan on traveling with a car seat, and boarding the airplane with you. Something like a car-seat carrier may prove very helpful as well, like this one from Gogo Babyz.
3. Dress your child (and yourself) in comfortable and easy outfits.
- If you're nursing, remember the quarters on a plane are very tight. Wearing items that can easily be pushed over or pulled up for easy nursing access may be the difference between a happy baby, and a screaming one.
- Dress your child in easy outfits to change. A normal person can barely turn around in an airline bathroom, so keep that in mind as you dress your child for the day full of traveling fun. Do yourself a favor, and skip the adorable overalls and stick with a pair of stretchy pants and a t-shirt.
4. Bring an activity that your child loves
- Many of you may be in the mindset that your child should not watch cartoons until they are much older. However, it's a great distraction, if worse comes to worse. Some children are very food motivated. If that's the case, being lots of snacks.
5. Don't plan on anything, and just relax.
- Listen, no one plans to have the baby that won't stop screaming for the entire duration of your four hour flight. It just happens. You simply apologize to your aisle-mates, buy them a $5 cocktail if need be, and rest assured that you will never see them again in your life. Are they tweeting curse words and swearing off babies forever? Possibly. Consider yourself an anonymous rock star.