Since May, my older sister has traveled from her home in Illinois back here to CT six times. Her son, born in February, is only 6 months old. I know I'd be a hot mess if Maddox and I had to fly anytime soon so I had her give me the run-down with her best tips & tricks for making flying with babies a little more easier and a lot more bearable. Especially if, like her, you're flying all alone!
Try and pick flights that are short
The shorter, the better. You want to make sure it's a clean shot to your destination and you don't have to scurry over to another gate by transferring from flight to flight. A fussy baby won't let you rush and you don't want to miss your plane!
Pick flights around their nap schedule, feeding schedule, and sleep schedule
If you have a scheduled baby or have a rough idea of when your baby sleeps, choose a flight that works well with their schedule. Like people, babies get cramped too. On flights, they have no place to play and kick around. A sleeping baby is a lot easier to entertain and your body will thank you.
Relax, it's okay
Don't feel overwhelmed if your baby cries. It's normal. Just take a breath and realize everyone isn't looking at you. Many people are understanding and realize flying is stressful enough for anyone let alone with a newborn. You may get a snarky comment or an eye-roll but overall, people are sweet.
A pacifier or nurse for take-off & landing
Keep a pacifier handy or if you are breastfeeding, make sure you do so for the take-off and the landing. The sucking and swallowing helps pop their ears!
Change diaper before you board
An easy way to make your plane ride less stressful? Change your baby's diaper before getting on the plane. It'll be much easier than having to worry about it while on the plane, especially if they fall asleep!
Have baby wear an easily accessible and comfortable outfit
Easy and relaxed is what you're going for. Even if you have a flight in the middle of the afternoon, have your baby wearing pajamas or a similar outfit. They'll be warm, cozy, and a diaper change will be a lot simpler and quicker in case something comes up.
Bring sanitizer wipes
Babies (unless they are extremely fresh) love to touch everything! As they grow more curious, their hands want to grab and touch whatever they see. Having sanitizer wipes will keep their hands clean for when they stick it in their mouths.
If you have an aisle seat, great! But if you don't, talk to the attendant and explain you have an infant. It's considerably easier getting up. Most of the time, they'll be accommodating.
A baby carrier is key
If you have to bring a carseat and a stroller with you, check it. Lugging it around will on be bulky and stressful. A baby carrier will make everything run a lot smoother.
Eat before the airport
For yourself, eat beforehand. It'll give you more time to worry about occupying your baby and relaxing before your flight.
Breastfeeding & Bottle-feeding
If you give baby a bottle (even occasionally), you may want to consider bringing one along with you. A bigger baby has less space in a cramped seat.
If people ask to help.. accept it!
Especially if you are alone. Take the help. If they are asking, they genuinely want to.
It helps to apologize to those around you if you have a fussy baby or spit-up or whatever other chaos that may arise. Saying hello to those you sit near will help make you feel more relaxed and calm.
What to pack in your diaper bag:
- an extra, comfortable easily accessible outfit
- burp cloth
- 4-7 diapers & only the diapers you'll need for the plane ride. Pack the rest in your suitcase.
- toys (Sophie, rattle ball, a lovie, a crinkle book are all great options)
- prepared food, if eating solids
- sanitizer wipes
- snacks for yourself
For your suitcase, I recommend packing what you can to make it feel like home. Perhaps a baby monitor, a sound machine, a high chair, toys, enough outfits, and so forth. Be prepared! Everyone is different but this has helped me travel a little more smoothly by myself.
We hope this helps you! What tips and tricks help you fly and travel easier with babies and kids?