Is your travel date looming and you are feeling anxious about flying with an infant? Are you worried your parenting abilities will be questioned if your baby isn't calm throughout the flight?
Flying with an infant really isn't too difficult if you prepare and have a few tricks up your sleeves. There are others who have gone before you, tackled the challenge and made amazing memories.
How old does a baby have to be to fly? You probably won't want to go on a plane too soon after delivery or even within the first month because a newborn requires a lot of attention, but by the age of three months, your baby most likely will be ready to travel.
Here are a few tips about how to fly with a baby.
How to travel with an infant tip 1: Health and Safety
Schedule a checkup with your doctor before you leave, especially if your baby has been sick. It is important your infant doesn't have an ear infection.
- Nurse or give a pacifier during takeoff and landing. This will soothe your baby and help with the change in altitude.
- Vaccinations. Make sure vaccinations are up-to-date before you leave.
- Medications. Bring appropriate medications on the plane plus an extra three or four days worth. Add a nasal aspirator and thermometer to your bag too.
- Car seat. Bring a car seat or be prepared to rent one at your destination. You can gate check your own car seat.
How to travel with an infant tip 2: Pack the Essentials for the Flight
Stock your diaper bag to be prepared. Use plastic bags to organize all the necessities into separate bags. Roll up your baby's outfits, bibs, and socks together so you don't have to go searching for tiny pieces of clothing and put each outfit in a bag.
Most new parents have a tendency to pack more than what they need, but you will want to make sure you have at least these essentials in your diaper bag:
- Extra clothes for you and baby. Bring a few changes of clothes for your baby. Make sure to consider that temperature on the plane could be warm or cold and pack accordingly. Pack an extra shirt for you. It isn't fun to wear spit up for an entire flight.
- Enough diapers for the flight and a few extra just in case. Bring more diapers than you think you will need. Wrap and dispose of diapers or soiled clothing in plastic grocery bags, resealable bags or purpose-made wet bags.
- Hand Sanitizing Wipes and Baby Wipes. Hand sanitizing wipes and baby wipes can be used for so much more than just what they are intended. Clean hands, spills, or wipe down a changing table with hand sanitizing or baby wipes.
- Pacifier. Calm your baby with a pacifier during takeoff and landing. If you baby gets fussy during the flight, a pacifier may help to calm down your infant.
- Blanket. Use a blanket if the plane is too cold and as a comfort object. Use a blanket on a changing table as extra padding and a barrier for germs.
- Toys. An infant won't be too interested in toys yet, but around four months old your baby will enjoy gumming and chewing baby toys. Pack a few different toys to keep your baby's interest.
- Bottle/Sippy Cup with Formula. A box of powdered formula is easy to get through security. Buy a bottle of water after going through the security check point so you can mix it with formula on the plane.
- Breastfeeding cover. A cover will give you and your baby privacy. It can also double as a thin blanket to keep your infant cozy.
- Wrap or baby carrier. Wear your baby as you walk through the airport so your hands will be free. Using a wrap or baby carrier could also prove to be helpful at your destination in areas where you don't want to bring a stroller.
Remember that most things can be bought when you arrive to your destination. Here is a list of all you could ever need while traveling with your infant. It will make it easier to leave some of the items behind, but if you are traveling to a remote location where there aren't any nearby stores, this list includes most things you might need on vacation.
How to travel with an infant tip 3: Larger Items
Baby's have lots of stuff. It's just a given, but that doesn't mean you need to haul everything through the airport.
- Borrow items. Borrow some of the larger items if you plan to stay with family at your final destination or if you have any contacts there.
- Utilize rental companies. There are rental companies in big cities that deliver items like a crib, swing, high chair, etc .A car seat can be rented from a car rental company at a daily rate.
- Bring a stroller. The one large item you will probably want to bring is a stroller. A stroller can be very helpful when navigating the airport. You can contain your baby if you need to stop and use the restroom. You can also use it to hold luggage and it can be gate checked.
How to travel with an infant tip 4: Airplane Rules and International Travel
Review the airplane rules and regulations before you fly. Most airlines suggest buying a ticket for your baby so they can travel securely in a car seat, but usually babies two and under will fly free as a lap baby.
- Identification for your baby. Make a copy of your baby's birth certificate and keep it with you while you travel.
- Notify airline you are traveling with an infant. Avoid surprises by giving advanced notice that you are traveling with an infant. Most airlines have similar rules, but you do not want any surprises on your day of travel.
- Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice. Inform the TSA officer at the start of the screening if you have formula, breast milk or juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in your bag.
How to travel with an infant tip 5: Choosing Accommodation
Choose a hotel that is baby-friendly and will give you the most for your money.
- Crib availability. Ask whether or not your hotel has a crib available at no additional cost. You might want to bring your own crib bedding.
- Stroller accessibility. You will want a room or location that is easily accessible for a stroller.
- In-room fridge and microwave. Ask for a room with an in-room microwave and fridge if you will be preparing formula or need a place to store milk.
- Space. Choose a room with more space so you and your family have room to relax. Some rooms are divided into more than one area, which can be helpful when your infant is napping.
Follow these tips and you will become an expert at traveling with an infant. Be prepared to be flexible throughout your trip and you will make some wonderful memories.