Flying With Baby

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At 3-months-old, Avi nursed on takeoff, snoozed for the bulk of the trip, nursed on landing and barely made a peep.

Flying with a Baby - Know Before You Go | What to Expect

It was deceptively easy, and eased my anxieties enough to try more flights in relatively rapid succession. The frequency of our coming travel helped make it easy and exciting for Avi. She got used to the process and looked forward to our next trips. On the return flight from Palm Springs, another baby a few rows ahead of us vomited on take off. Spare blankets and burp rags are great too. When our daughter was 5-months-old, we flew from Chicago to Atlanta to visit family. It was early October and we had a nice schedule, departure around 11am and a return flight a few days later around 5pm.

About a week in advance of the flight, we started telling Avi that we were going on an adventure and her eyes would light up, focus on us, seeming to ask us for more information. She was so overstimulated by the new process, the break from routine, and the interest from those around us.

9 Ways to Make Flying With a Baby Easier

She ended up zonking out on departure, was awake for a short time during the flight, and then zonked again on landing. The key we learned at that point was to tell her of upcoming changes, and explain as it was happening. Any time she was unsure, she would look at us, wide eyed, and our explanations really seemed to soothe her. By 5 months old, she was also very active and engaged in the scenes around her, which meant that my magazine reading days were over. At months-old, we took our most grueling trip: a 16 hour travel trip that involved 3 airplanes, 2 continents, lots of delays and a tedious line for customs.

We left the house at 4am for a 7am flight. We woke her slowly, just before departure for the airport, so that she had the least disruption and down time. After check in, we purchased bagels and bananas and filled up water bottles, preparing for a 3 hour flight which would be punctuated by a 2 hour layover. Snacks were planned pre-flight and a layover meal plan established so that when we landed, we could focus on getting a leg stretch, a nice meal and to the next gate in time.

Upon arrival in Belize, it took us 2 hours to get through customs, followed by another 3 hour wait for our puddle hopper to the island. At 15 months, I flew solo to Italy with Avi, who was a developing walker and very interested in the world around her.

Everything You Need to Know About Flying with a Baby and Young Kids

The initial departure flight was delayed 7 hours before canceling at 11pm, and rescheduled for a flight 2 days later turned out to be delayed about 4 hours. Once we finally boarded, the flight had been oversold, which meant there was no adjacent seat for my daughter. I had fed her a steady stream of snacks in the lobby to manage her energy, but once we took off she was overstimulated and fascinated by everything. She insisted that I carry her, so we walked up and down the aisles for about 2 hours until she finally crashed out in my arms.

I had brought along extra baby blankets, and laid them on the floor under the seat in front of me, where I laid her down for about an hour while I in turn took a much needed cat nap of my own. I held her close, thankful for the baby carrier as I was also struggling with luggage and a purse. I talked to her quietly through deplaning, customs and baggage claim.


Jet lag is another story, but that flight was about as much as I could handle. Just before her 2nd birthday, we decided to take one last flight to Sonoma to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Holding 25 lbs of wiggle on your lap for one hour is challenging and extended flights are exponentially so. The management of food, drinks and arm strength are a non-stop struggle.

Managing luggage, coffee, gate details, tickets and food is complicated enough as a traveler; wear your baby through the airport as long as you can. My carrier of choice for the first year was the JJ Cole Agility carrier. The carrier goes on like a vest, has no buckles or snaps and looks like a swagged layer over your shirt.

The lack of buckles and snaps means that you can wear it through security screening some airlines request you remove carriers like ergo and similar on take off and landing.

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Bonus: the fabric panels can act as a nursing cover too! Get yourself a good backpack or diaper bag that can also act as a day bag for yourself. A diaper clutch has also been key for us. We pop the clutch, filled with wipes and spare diapers, from one purse or backpack to another. We opted for the stroller on most trips. After lots of experimentation with a variety of styles and brands, we love the City Mini stroller.

It depends. However, some airlines introduce car seat requirements depending on class of service. For example, on AlItalia, infants do not fly free in 1st class: they are required to have a paid seat of their own, and for that seat to have an FAA approved car seat snapped into it. Most airlines will also wave the fee for checked carseats if they are needed at your destination.

Tip: Be sure to check the taxi car seat laws of your destination, some states require all passengers to be restrained properly regardless of the vehicle. When baby is not yet mobile, you can get away with a window seat. You want easy access to passports, boarding passes, your phone, a safe spot to stash the pacifier and a bottle. Sleek leggings , a simple top and a comfortable jacket with pockets are my uniform of choice when flying with a baby.

Landing is typically what puts pressure on those little ears, causing the pain that makes babies scream on airplanes. Plus, less time spent in transit means less chances for a mid-flight tantrum. If you must book a flight with a connection, schedule extra time on the ground between flights.

Two hours is probably ideal, unless your flight is delayed quite a bit. You can use the time in the airport to grab some non-airplane food, change a dirty diaper, and most important for toddlers, let your child run free for a while to burn off energy!

What Happens to my Baby's Ears When Flying? - Seattle Mama Doc 101

Ideally, you want to board the plane with a dry diapered child. Therefore, be sure to hit up the airport bathroom one last time before heading down the jetway. A pre-plane bathroom visit means one less trip to the tiny airplane lavatory. This leads to less work in the air for mom or dad and less inconvenience for those seated nearby.

Make sure to do one more potty break or diaper change before boarding Photo credit: upslim, Depositphotos. You may think you should skip the pre-board to ensure spending as little time as possible on the airplane with your little one. But getting situated on board a flight takes more time with a young child. Flying with a baby or toddler is stressful enough without having passengers behind you sighing as you struggle to buckle in your little darling.

Pre-boarding makes flying with a baby or toddler easier for you and for other passengers Photo credit: smaglov, Depositphotos. I recommend you book a separate seat for your child, even though lap children under age 2 typically fly free. Not only is this the safer option, but also it gives your family more room to spread out and relax on the plane. Why put your child at risk? A separate seat for baby is safer and more convenient Photo credit: t.

Air travel tickets can be one of the most expensive parts of travel. Thankfully, JustFly. Use JustFly. After you search for a particular route, this intuitive website will prompt you to set up a fare alert to receive a notification when prices drop to the destination of your choice. And, unlike some airlines that charge extra for booking by phone, JustFly. You can also search JustFly. At no additional charge, most airlines allow parents and caregivers to gate check bulky baby gear like strollers and car seats.

Attach one tag to each item and deposit it at the bottom of the jetway. Be sure to fold strollers before boarding. Gate checked items will typically be waiting for you in the same spot at your destination when you disembark but sometimes must be retrieved from baggage claim. Check with your airline before your flight regarding their gate check policy. To lighten your load in the airport and avoid baggage fees, consider renting baby travel gear. This service is available in locations around the world for traveling families. Rent baby gear to make navigating the airport easier and save money on baggage fees Photo credit: doble.

Buckled snugly into a car seat or other approved restraint is the safest place for a baby or toddler on an airplane, especially in case of unexpected turbulence. Your child is used to being secured in the car seat during trips to the store or zoo. Of course, the time may come when you need to unbuckle your youngster for a diaper change, potty break or to stretch those little legs — especially during a long flight. Once your child tastes sweet freedom, though, you might struggle to get him or her back into the seat.

An infant may want to stay in your arms for the whole flight. Meanwhile, a newly walking toddler may want to run up and down the aisle nonstop. The safest place for a baby or toddler on an airplane is a car seat or other approved restraint Photo credit: Reanas, Depositphotos. Bring twice as much formula, diapers, bottles, baby food and snacks on the plane than you think you will need. If your plane becomes severely delayed or canceled, you will thank me.

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The last thing you want to deal with is a hungry, thirsty, dirty-diapered baby when stuck on the tarmac, circling above a storm, or bedding down in a hotel room for an unexpected overnight. Bring double the baby necessities on board the airplane Photo credit: yelantsevv, Depositphotos. You may be tempted to doll up your baby in that adorable outfit from your mother-in-law for your flight. But think comfort and convenience first. Choose attire that is cozy and easy to change. Layers are a must when going from a snowy locale to the sunny Tropics, of course. But layers also help with drastic changes in temperature aboard the plane.

If you get stuck on the tarmac you might be boiling hot, pointing that tiny overhead fan at you and your child.

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Once airborne you might be begging for one of those blue blankets from the flight attendants as the temperature dips to Arctic lows. Better yet, pack your own baby blanket since those airline blankets are rarely, if ever, washed! Wearing layers is also helpful for breastfeeding moms. I suggest wearing a wrap of some sort that can double as a baby blankie, or bringing along a nursing cover. Dress the baby in layers for the flight Photo credit: yelenayemchuk, Depositphotos. Of course, you will want to pack an extra change of clothing in your carryon for your baby or toddler in case of an unfortunate blow out mid-flight.

A friend of mine did exactly that when flying solo with her baby from the California to Europe.

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Unfortunately, though, she did not pack additional clothing for herself. A leaky diaper left mama sticky and wet for the duration of her long flight.

When Can You Fly With a Baby?

To avoid this inconvenience, toss a compact outfit for yourself into the diaper bag, too. Pack an extra outfit not only for baby but also for you Photo credit: belchonock, Depositphotos. Bring formula or pumped breast milk and give your baby a bottle during take-off and landing so you can keep junior safely buckled. Keep in mind that breast milk is exempt from the 3. Chewing a cracker or cookie can also help older toddlers.

EarPlanes are wonderful for flyers with sensitive ears. You may also want to ask your pediatrician to prescribe ear pain drops before your flight with your baby. Changes in cabin pressure cause ear pain for many babies and toddlers Photo credit: marchibas, Depositphotos. Make sure to pack any prescription and over-the-counter medicine you might need in your carryon bag. While that might not sound like a lot, it can add up. In a premium cabin, that can easily be a four-figure number just to hold your baby in your seat. While getting a few extra hours of snuggle time above the clouds might not always be the most comfortable way to fly, it is my No.

Of course, the decision is yours and the equation can shift as the littles grow from a true lap infant to a lap toddler. Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.

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Search Search Cards, Rewards, Deals…. Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter. Advertiser Disclosure. Flying With a Lap Infant? Our Favorite Partner Cards. Terms Apply. Current Offer. Earn 60, points. If you are looking to save money on an upcoming trip, or just think your baby would do better snuggled in your arms, here is everything you need to know about flying with a lap infant: 1.