Looking forward to an upcoming family vacation, but the thought of getting there is totally overwhelming? Traveling with a baby, like everything else with a baby, can be an exciting adventure all on its own! Here are five tips for flying with a baby:
Have Something for Baby to Suck
If you have flown before, you know the feeling it creates in your ear as the pressure changes. To help your baby through this sensation, bring a pacifier or something else that baby enjoys sucking on, similar to the way you would pop a stick of gum to chew. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding can also be a soothing distraction, and might help your baby go to sleep for the flight! Just be careful to not overfeed and risk getting a whole meal back up and all over your outfit.
Don't Forget Extra Clothes
Speaking of... this is a must for everyone. You do not want to be the person who just got spit-up or a blow out all over them, and all of the extra clothes won't be available until baggage claim! Make sure that you have an extra outfit, along with one or two for baby too.
Pack Distractions for Baby
Try to pack age appropriate toys that you can pull out when things start to go downhill. Think about toys that you wouldn't mind if they were to get lost and not make it home. Babies of all ages enjoy:
- Board books with colorful pages or a touch and feel component
- Finger puppets
- Small, easy to grasp and hold toys that are new to baby and that have a surprise element to capture attention, such as a mirror, or something that spins or pops out
- For older babies who can grasp, magic coloring pages that only use water are fun and surprising
When all else fails, something flipping through the Skymall magazine is the perfect distraction. Some babies enjoy looking for the faces, the animals, or just ripping the pages up.
Time Your Naps
You know your baby best, and you can try to maximize sleep and nap times to your advantage. Very little babies will often sleep through flights with some advance thought to soothing (things to suck on, a swaddle blanket, etc.) For older babies that you know will be difficult to get to sleep in your arms on the plane, sometimes planning to get an hour-long nap in the stroller in the airport beforehand is a good strategy, so that baby is rested, refreshed, and ready to fly.
Consider the Extra Seat
Although babies under two can fly for free in your arms, your baby will be most secure in his or her own carseat on the plane. If you don't purchase the ticket, though, you can consider bringing the car seat with you to the gate instead of checking it at the curb or at the bag check. There is always the chance that there is an empty seat, and the flight attendants are able to rebook your seat next to the empty one so that your child can ride in the car seat. At the worst case, your carseat will simply be gate checked, and available at baggage claim again.
Have you flown with a baby? What are some of your tips and tricks you suggest for making it?
If you have more questions, and are in the Cincinnati or Dayton region, our Postpartum and Infant Care Doulas are able to help you plan for traveling with baby!