How to Survive Flying with a Baby

I’ve been absent from the blog this past week, as you may have noticed. But I’m baaack! The reason for my absence is that we we traveled to California to visit my family, which was a blast! After my experience, here are my tips for flying with an infant! (Little man is 9 months old at the moment, so that is what I am drawing my experience from currently!) So let’s jump right in!

Clothes for the baby

Bring extra, for sure! Prepare for any possible disaster! On the way back, we had a major poop explosion once we had landed. As in the up-to-the-shoulder-blades-down-to-the-ankles kind of explosion! While it was a disaster, thank goodness it wasn’t on the plane! We had 3 extra outfits because I figured there was no way we would possibly need that many, but 2 didn’t seem like enough. Be sure to bring a plastic bag to contain possible poop explosions as well. I also like these for the changing tables. Also bring them a light jacket just in case they get cold.

Clothes for you

What should you wear? Something light weight, one layer if you can manage it. If you are concerned about being cold, bring a sweater or hoodie but something that has a zipper or buttons because it is much easier to take on and off. On the way to California, I was wearing a sweater that I couldn’t take off and I was so hot! It is surprising how warm you can get holding a baby. They are adorable little heaters! I also recommend a long shirt so that you don’t need to worry about pulling it up or down to maintain your modesty. With carrying a baby around, it will probably ride up, so the extra fabric will come in handy! Also, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. This is always a good idea for going through security, but when you are trying to wrangle your little munchkin…it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Food for the baby

Our little guy isn’t eating anything other than mushy baby foods and formula yet. We LOVE the little grabbers that have baby food in them, they are AWESOME and super convenient. I would still have them wear a bib while they eat those to avoid them getting food all over their clothes.

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We also love these for storing pre- measured formula. They are much easier to use and way less messy than a tupperware container.

We weaned at 6 months so we were using formula for the trip (You can read about my breastfeeding journey here), but while I was breastfeeding I really loved this nursing cover. It is super awesome because it wraps all the way around.  It allows for more modesty than the traditional over the front apron style ones. No one can see your back when you pull your shirt up, and a flailing baby can’t flash your boobs at everyone. (Plus it doubles as a car seat cover!)

As for food for you…it’s vacation, treat yourself! (Treat. Yo. Self. Best show ever!)

Entertainment for the baby

You know that thing that calms them down, that entertains them for forever, and they can’t get enough of? Bring it! For my little man, that is books, and his stuffed owl. He also really loved the safety booklet!

Don’t bring toys that roll away if they are dropped. If you do, save those for the wait at the airport, and don’t get them out on the plane.

Loading and Unloading

If you drove yourself and need to park your car, and if you are lucky enough to have come with someone else; one of you should drop the other off with the baby and most of the luggage. The other one should park the car and walk over or take the shuttle back to meet you with the rest of the stuff. If it is just you, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The employees are mostly utilized for security, but they are more than willing to help you as well. Chances are they will offer if they see you struggling, but you don’t need to wait for them to volunteer to help you out. You will likely need some assistance, so don’t be shy about asking for it.

Checked Baggage

Most airlines will allow you to check one stroller and one car seat per child free of cost. We checked the car seat with the rest of our checked baggage, and they allowed us to check the stroller at the gate, just like they do with wheelchairs and walkers. This was nice because we could use it in the airport! We put the baby’s clothes in my husband’s suitcase, and his miscellaneous baby supplies in my suitcase. This was easier than paying for an extra bag, or carting around an extra bag at the airport.

Security

Everyone looooves going through TSA. It is definitely an even extra dose of fun with a baby. (Be sure to read the previous sentence with heavy sarcasm and eye rolls). They will need to check all of the baby’s food that will be on your carry on, so have it easily accessible in your bag so you can pull it out. Baby food/formula/breast milk is exempt from the standard limits for liquids.

You may need to have a birth certificate for your child if they are young enough to be seated on your lap for the flight. Children under the age of 12 do not need to remove their shoes or jackets while you go through security. They do need to be taken out of carriers while you walk through the metal detector. I definitely smelled poop in my little guys diaper on our way in, so I just pressed on and changed him once we had passed all the way through.

The Actual Flight

We brought a blanket, because our baby goes to sleep more willingly if I cover him with a blanket. We also brought lots of binkies, because he loves his binky and it really helps baby’s ears pop with the changing altitude. Plus if one drops, (airports are definitely not the cleanest…) you have extras! Feeding them a bottle works to soothe their ears as well.

When I was a kid, my parents would give us lollipops to suck on during the flight to help our ears. For older kids that is an option!

There you have it, my tips for flying with an infant! What have your experiences been with traveling with babies? Let me know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “How to Survive Flying with a Baby

  1. We’ve traveled extensively with our four kids since our eldest was tiny and these are some really great tips! Whenever possible, though, you should bring your car seat onto the airplane with you. Not only are all children safest when traveling properly restrained in their own seat, you also risk your car seat being damaged or lost when you check it (even if you check it at the gate) and no one wants to be stranded at the airport without a car seat for their little ones after a long flight!

    1. Very good points that I hadn’t thought about! I was thinking when I was holding him during the flight that it didn’t feel very safe to have him unrestrained on the plane. Thank you for your comment and insights Melissa!

  2. Oh man, I had a six your flight broken into two 3 hour flights with a layover in Denver. In preparation of this trip with a 3 month old and by myself, there were a few things I did that helped too. The airport in Atlanta was the only one to have a pod for breastfeeding moms. I was glad I got there early so I could take advantage of that. I did bring formula just in case but when we were flying, I’d use the lavatory and it would work just fine to sit on the toilet cover and feed him. Changing was a whole other issue. We were fortunate on the way there to be on a key with a lavatory that had a change table. Not so lucky in the way back. I had no choice but to change him and since there wasn’t a table or anything remotely table like to use I instead used my lap. It was the biggest pain. He was screaming the whole time. It was either scream in there for 5 minutes or scream for the remainder of the flight. You nailed a lot of other things (loved the parks and rec reference). I have so much to say on this topic but I will say one thing that works amazing for all trips. Puppy training pee pads. I keep a few in the diaper bag to not only protect baby from surface but also to discard if it gets messy. Loved those!

    1. Thanks for your comment Ashley! I can’t even imagine changing a baby on your lap, that definitely takes skills! The pee pads is an awesome tip, thanks for sharing!!!

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