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It’s that time of year again, traveling season, and the thought of flying with your child, especially for the first time is SCRESSFUL, bruh! Questions such as, “What should I pack?”, “Is the change in altitude going to bother my baby?”, “Am I finally going to be that mom who can’t calm her screaming baby?!”, “Is this pilot even qualified to fly a plane?” run through your mind. But worry no more, I got you!
The first time I flew with my son, he was 10 weeks old. It was a personal choice to wait until he had had his first round of vaccines before taking him on a plane. Did I mention that I flew with him by myself? I was extremely anxious leading up to the day. I even arrived at the airport two hours early! At the time we were living in Killeen, TX and if you know anything about GRK, then you know that arriving two hours early is excessive. It’s literally doing the most. For context, before becoming a mom, I would arrive at GRK maybe 45 minutes before my boarding time; GRK is about the size of a Super Walmart. No, I am not kidding.
In hopes of alleviating some of your flying jitters, I have created a checklist of tips and must-haves for flying with your baby.
- A car seat and strollerWe own a car seat/stroller travel system and it comes in handy! It is not mandatory to use a car seat aboard the plane, but it is recommended. The stroller makes moving through the airport much easier and most airlines allow you to gate check both free of charge.
- A wearable baby carrierOnce your car seat and stroller have been checked, you’re going to need somewhere to put your baby while you situate your bags. I recommend the Infantino Flip 4-in-1 carrier.
- Documentation with Baby’s name and ageApparently this is required per FAA regulations. The first two times I flew with my son, I was never asked for proof or documentation. It wasn’t until I was returning home one time that an attendant asked for something with Baby’s name and DOB. Luckily, being military at the time of Poppy’s birth, I had ID for him.
- Also, children two and under fly for free. No better excuse to travel!
- Opt for an aisle seatSitting in the aisle makes it easier to get up and down and breastfeed… which brings me to my next tip.
- Feed/nurse Baby at takeoff and landingThis helps keep Baby calm, distracted, and helps relieve the pressure from the change in altitude. You’ll likely be feeding throughout the flight as well, so be sure to wear clothes easy for breastfeeding if you are a nursing mommma!
- Snacks and other distractionsDepending on your baby’s age, activity level, and appetite, you may want to bring along some “flight friendly” snacks and activities. Snack suggestions include: cereal, cereal puffs, dried fruit, and yogurt bites. Activity suggestions include: books, flash cards, blocks, stuffed animals, and even the forbidden tablet. Be sure to pack earbuds.
- Patience!If you forget everything else at home, please remember to bring your patience. It’s the magic stuff that makes flying with babies possible.
You can do this, Mommma! Remember, I flew alone with Poppy for the first time when he was 10 weeks old. It was a short flight, but flying with an infant is never simple. The next time we got on a plane was our family vacation to Las Vegas. That time I had my husband’s help, but the flight was much longer and Poppy was more active. I didn’t think that plane was ever going to land! Yet here I am to tell the tale.
Share with me in the comments your traveling must-haves! For an updated, COVID-friendly update visit Should I Fly During COVID?