Thursday, May 22, 2014

Everything You Need to Know about Flying with a BABY

I was anxious about flying with a baby, did tons of on-line research in advance and it really was very doable.  Now that I've had four successful flights with an 11 month old, I feel like I can share some tips with you.  I'm no pro, but I hope my tips make flying with a baby a breeze for you and your family.

Airlines will let you check a car seat & base, stroller and carry a diaper bag on the plane for free with your baby.  Always check airline websites to confirm details in advance.  I purchased bright orange covers from Babies R Us for our car seat and stroller for less than $30.  I wrote our name and phone number in sharpie on the outside and they were really handy.  It was easy to spot them at baggage claim and our luggage arrived undamaged.

Must Have Items for Baby:
Diaper bag
one day's worth of diapers & wipes
diaper changing pad
2 bibs/burp cloths
1 blanket
an extra outfit
a pouch full of new "toys" for them
3 clean bottles
premeasured powdered formula
liquid/ready to drink formula
pacifiers on leashes
snack pouches 
baby Tylenol - just in case
pajamas if a late night flight
 Be sure to dress your baby in something that's very comfortable and soft with shoes so they can move around the airport.  They will be held the majority of the day and you want them to be comfortable.  Also keep in mind that you will need to be able to do quick diaper changes, you don't have any guarantee about the temperatures on your flights so be prepared for anything and everything!!

Example snack pouches:
I did two - one for our flights TO our destination and one for the return trip
and put the 2nd set in our checked luggage
  Example of my bag of "toys" I had for Olive and I also did two bags - one for coming and the other for our return trip.  I included a bag for trash, post-its, stickers, teether, plastic spoons, fruit snack, bendy bunny, clothes pin, comb, highlighter, bracelet and straws.  Basically just pack things you think will entertain your little one.  The clear ziploc will help you to easily retrieve items while in flight and helps you stay organized.  I also made sure not to include any precious or expensive toys.  Everything was disposable and lightweight so I didn't stress if we lost something in the bag.

Must Have Items for Parents:
Wear comfy layers avoiding belts & lots of accessories
slip on comfortable shoes
elastic waist pants - for ease while baby wearing
dark clothes - in case of baby accidents
portable phone charger
Baby carrier - the Ergo is my fave
carry on bag with your necessities
hand sanitizer
Clorox wipes
Tylenol for you :) just in case

 Babies are magnets for attention and other kids will want to talk to your baby.  Olive is at such a fun age of waving, blowing kisses, smiling and just being pretty sweet so she was quite the crowd charmer.  She even got hugged by a little boy and kissed by another!!  It was adorable.

The play by play of our experience:
1. Take the shuttle in or have someone drop you off at curbside with your luggage.  Some airlines require social security cards or birth certificates for your baby.  We brought both and Frontier didn't want to see either.

2. Wear your baby through security and use your stroller to push your carry ons and diaper bag.  We also let Olive ride in the stroller when she didn't want to be carried.  She's at the age where she likes to see people and know what's going on so it was nice to have a few options to transport her.

3. Be prepared for your trip through the security check point to take longer than usual.  If you have liquid formula, breast milk or baby medicine, they will wan to check each item individually.  Go through the family line if that's an option.

4. Buy water bottles for you and one for the baby bottles when you get through security.  You'll likely be a sweaty mess from managing your luggage, yourself and your baby and it's important to stay hydrated.

5. Board the flight early when they allow family boarding.  Check your stroller plane side so that it'll be waiting for you when you get off the flight.  You won't have to wait long.  This was helpful for us to get settled and our baby isn't walking yet so it was nice to get on the plane ahead of the crowd.  This also gives you a chance to CLOROX wipe everything in your row - seat belt buckles, arm rests, tray tables, brochures, seat backs, windows, etc.  The entire area is disgusting and your neighbors will likely ask for a Clorox wipe to do their row too.
6. Some flight attendants will be wonderful to you and others will be nasty.  Ignore the hateful ones and be extra nice to the ones who offer to put your bag in the overhead bin, give you extra water or snacks and smile back at them.

7. Avoid sitting in the middle seat at all cost.  We got to sit by the window and aisle and both were nice with a little one.  The majority of the people you fly with will smile at you and adore your baby.  A few will not and do your best to ignore them.

8. Put the diaper bag under the seat in front of you and have everything easily accessible in pouches.  You will feel cramped and crowded so it's nice to have your spouse there to help you reach things.  Also don't stress about retrieving toys and dropped items during the flight, just grab them when everyone is deplaning.

9. Do your best to wait to give your baby a bottle or their paci when you are ascending and descending.  It really is hard on their ears and everyone will be happier if you can get them to suck on something.  We only had one portion of our flights where Olive refused everything we gave her and she cried until we got to our cruising altitude.  Stressful but it was short lived.  Olive napped for some portion of every flight we were on.  Praise the Lord!

10. Rotate through your pouch of toys often.  I filled a ziploc bag full of her favorite things.  Some were new, some were things I usually don't let her have and others were her favorite things.  

11. Bring a mixed pouch of snacks for your baby and for yourself because you'll be starving!

12. Deplane, pick up your stroller and move on to your next gate.

13. Let the baby explore at your gate.  I swore I'd never let my baby crawl around an airport or play on the seats but I really had no choice.  She was stir crazy and needed to burn off some energy.  I clorox wiped the seats where she was playing, washed her hands frequently and tried not to think too much about it.

14. Repeat this process until you arrive at your destination.

Overall, I'd say that flying with a baby is:
1. very doable with proper planning
2. stressful but the memories you make are completely worth it
3. best if you can book a direct flight
4. is doable at anytime - your baby will likely nap at some point and enjoy playing with their toys.  I wouldn't worry too much about keeping their exact routine because air travel is pretty unpredictable (We boarded, had to deplane for mechanical issues, got stuck in the airport for 2 hours, boarded a different plane, landed 5 hours later than planned at 3:00am and we were all just fine :)
4. best when everyone is as comfortable as possible - clothing, food, entertainment, etc.
5. exhausting so be sure to plan plenty of down time to rest after a busy day of flying with your family.

Good luck!!
Babies are very portable;

1 comment:

  1. I NEEDED to read this post! I am flying with my son next month from New Orleans to Seattle (5hours) and I am freaking out and terrified because he is always wanting to crawl and hates being held. This made me feel a little better reading this post.


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