Tips for flying with a baby
We have now flown to three places with our baby girl from Seattle, WA:
- Disneyland, 6 months old
- Walla Walla, Washington, 12 months old
- NYC, New York, 13 months old
The flights have gone fairy smooth, but she cried a little each time.
My number one tip is to nurse your baby. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but it has been the best way to keep her calm, let her nap, and prevent her ears from hurting (I assume anyway – how would I know except for her bawling from pain).
I didn’t want to nurse on the 45 minute flight to Walla Walla because she doesn’t normally breastfeed during the day anymore. However, I was flying alone with her and she was crying during takeoff and wouldn’t eat any snacks or take a sippy cup of milk. Luckily, the seat next to me was open so I had plenty of room to get situated. Every time I took my boob out of her mouth she started crying so she napped that way for most of the trip (20-30 mins).
My second tip is to bring someone with you. I wouldn’t want to do a solo flight much longer than the hour we did. At a year, she was very busy and tried getting into everything. It would have much harder without an open seat next to us too. We haven’t bought her a ticket because of cost, but the extra room is nice.
Third, bring snacks! My daughter takes forever to eat and can eat a lot, so this kept her occupied most of the time.
Fourth, wear your baby until you are seated on the plane. It’s so much easier having your baby attached to you in a carrier than trying juggle your bags and a baby. The stroller can be cumbersome to move around, so they check it right before you board.
Fifth, take your baby to the airport play place. This is great if you need to pump before boarding too. I did this on our trips when she was a year old and walking so she could burn some energy and theoretically sleep on the plane. It didn’t totally knock her out, but I’m sure it was much better than making her sit in an airport chair for 2 hours.
Sixth, keep all baby liquids in less than 4 oz sizes and place them in a clear plastic bag. I know this may be obvious for some travelers, but we had to throw away some nice baby lotion because someone put it in the diaper bag rather than the checked luggage. This doesn’t apply to milk – security will test larger sizes and let you bring it on the plane.
Seventh, pack extra clothes for baby and you! There are many accidental ways you could ruin your clothes – primarily from a bodily fluid like baby poop or leaked milk.
Eighth, keep them busy with toys, napkins to rip up, or ice to scoop or touch. You don’t want to bring so many toys that it’s hard to carry though. My daughter isn’t into TV yet, but they can also watch kids movies provided by the airline.
What are your best tips for flying with a baby?