As a new parent, flying with a baby for the first time can be daunting. (and even downright scary!) Parents want to be sure they’ve thought of everything – and often end up bringing everything as a result. And honestly, I think that we all do that now, even as adults.
Is every baby toy really necessary? Aren’t they just going to play with whatever you have lying around in your purse? What else can parents do to make flying with a baby less stressful? There are actually several different ideas!
Read up on tips for new parents about what to expect, what to bring, and advice on how to keep this milestone fun and stress-free. This post can really save you a lot of time and stress.
Related: How to deal with a cranky baby
Baby’s First Plane Trip
Allow for extra time
Just know that things are going to take time. Those days of the last-minute dash to the gate are really over. You have to prepare even more.
Families should allow extra time for security, extra time for settling into seats on the plane – pretty much extra time for everything. When you add more people to your travels, it takes more time.
Remember, what used to be done by two people (unloading luggage, etc.) is most likely being handled by one right now. One will be caring more for the baby than helping with the traveling. Parents traveling solo have even more to handle. Only two hands to do it all! That two-hour minimum window that airlines insist on is a blessing in disguise that parents should adhere to. Use it to your advantage!
Bring extra diapers
This sounds like a no-brainer, but the amount of diapers parents tote
In these days of delays and flights sitting on tarmacs indefinitely, the diaper bag should have at least 10 diapers, more if they can fit. I also like to go for two dozen in mine, but that’s just me. This will keep baby well-stocked not only for delays but any mishaps that require multiple changes. (and trust me, it does happen!)
Bring a change of clothes for everyone
Most parents remember to bring a change of clothes for baby but forget to do the same for themselves. Don’t forget that things can happen to you as well.
While it may not be convenient to bring an entire outfit, an extra blouse or top can help Mom or Dad to avoid wearing pee for an entire trip. (or puke or anything else that baby might throw at you) And this is one time where busy prints can be good – they’re more able to hide spit-ups and stains. Thing ahead for moments like this.
For another alternative…
Bring beige food as a way to downplay stains. The more bland, the better. Parents of babies that have started solids might want to save the peas, spinach, and anything with tomato sauce for on the ground. Who knows if they’re going to do well with the turbulence on the flight?
Make the on-board meals relatively bland in color – applesauce, squash, and some yogurts are examples of foods that won’t stand out quite as much on clothing. And if they do spit up, it’s easy to clean up quickly as well with not a lot of smell.
Bring anything baby can suck on
Again, most parents bring whatever their baby is using, whether it be bottle, breast or pacifier. This isn’t a time to “test” out if they can go without. This is the one time where it pays to bring the entire stash. Pack it up and take it.
Changes in air pressure on little ears cause pain, and what usually works like a charm may be cast aside by a frustrated baby. You’ll be so happy that you’re prepared. Having something new on hand may actually do the trick, and go a long way in soothing both baby and fellow passengers. Everyone on the flight will be thankful.
Toys may not be necessary
Depending on how early in life baby embarks on his first plane ride, a sackful of toys and books is most likely overkill. They really just need a few things. Really young infants up to 4 months) are usually still into napping and feeding and won’t be overly enthralled with toys anyhow; older infants (between 5 and 10 months) won’t be kept too busy by any one toy due to short attention spans. Don’t overpack because of this!
While it pays to have a one or two on hand, parents shouldn’t expect them to keep baby occupied for more than 10 minutes – if that much. Just know that you can bring many other things that you or your baby are going to need rather than toys.
The bottom line? Baby’s biggest source of entertainment is going to be his family, not some $15 doodad. Bring on the silly faces and endless games of pattycake!
Get plenty of rest the night before
Late or all night packers may want to rethink that vacation prep strategy. While this may have worked pre-baby, it isn’t a good idea now. Don’t plan for a nap on the plane, regardless of how closely linked the flight is to the baby’s nap time. It just isn’t going to happen. There is too much going on. New stimuli and overall excitement can sometimes keep babies from adhering to schedules, meaning no rest for parents either. And you have to keep on eye on the baby at all times on the flight, too.
A night of good sleep not only allows parents to keep baby entertained, but it also allows them to stay alert during check-in and security checks when things can go missing or get misplaced. You have to be on your toes when traveling with a baby!
Bring any medicine on-board
Any prescription medicines should definitely be in carry-on luggage; even if the baby is only taking them every 8 hours. Have them on hand always because delays or checked luggage that goes missing could mean an important dose is missed. And if your baby needs medicine, you don’t want to get them off schedule. It doesn’t hurt to stash some pain reliever too, for painful ears. Again, it’s good to be prepared for these situations.
Join Priority Pass
This company provides travelers with access to hundreds of airline lounges worldwide for an annual fee, negating the need to belong to any particular airline’s club. It’s just something good to think about to give your traveling family a nice place to go. Being able to sit in a comfortable lounge with complimentary snacks and drinks can make an airport wait far more relaxing. Less hustle and bustle and noise, for sure. And although primarily set up for business travelers, most lounges are family-friendly. Always ask that question before making a decision.
Membership levels vary, making it feasible for a variety of budgets. If you don’t travel that much, it might not be that pricey. If the membership fee is too much, though, many airports have family-friendly play areas that infants old enough to sit up may enjoy. Again, you just need to ask to find out the answers to your questions.
Don’t worry about the 3 oz.
rule when it comes to feeding baby
Families traveling with an infant needn’t worry about the Ziploc bags and 3-ounce maximum when it comes to baby food. This is good information to know!! Breast milk, formula, and juice are allowed in any amount, although the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) urges parents to bring only as much as is needed to reach your final destination. This is a huge help to parents and takes away that stress and worry just a little bit when planning. It’s also worth noting that gel and liquid-filled teethers are allowed on board, as well as canned or jarred baby food. Add all these to your bag for traveling as well!
While many new parents get anxious at the thought of baby’s first flight, these helpful tips should make air travel with baby a smooth and enjoyable experience – for baby, and for all the other passengers too. You’ll find that the more you educate yourself and prepare, the better your flight and travels will be!