Flying with baby?
Are you planning on flying with a baby? In the worst-case scenarios, it is a nightmare for parents, children and fellow passengers alike. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are ten tips to make your travel a breeze. We’ll share tips to cover everything from packing to boarding to unloading. We’ll give advice whether you’re taking a newborn or toddler on a plane trip.
Tip 1: Get your papers in order.
Are you traveling with a baby? Have your “papers” in order. For example, don’t assume that “I’m their parent” will fly (figuratively) with airline staff. Have copies of your child’s birth certificate with you. If you’re traveling your child but not the other parent, have the other parent’s information and proof they allow you to take them. This is essential if going abroad. There are other documents you’ll want to have available if required, as well. This includes your child’s medical history and copies of prescriptions since you don’t want to make a mistake recounting this if your child needs medical attention away from home. It also saves you from disaster when airport security confiscates your child’s medication and you need to order more at your destination.
Tip 2: Pack as if the stewardesses won’t help you.
Don’t expect stewardesses to give you a bottle of heated up milk. Pack bottles full of water and single-serve packets of baby formula. Then you can mix a fresh bottle of formula when your baby is hungry without waiting for the busy aircrew to help you. Pack several spare diapers, a small pack of wipes, and plastic bags you can use as trash bags that seal in the smell. If you assume you have to do it all yourself, you won’t end up in a bind because they can’t help you.
Tip 3: Plan on being your own entertainment.
Let’s be honest. Your toddler isn’t going to stare out the window the whole trip, and they won’t care about the in-flight magazine. Take your own entertainment. Furthermore, you need several options other than giving them a gadget. For example, take several flipbooks or activity books in addition to a small tablet. Then your child has entertainment if they break the tablet or its batteries die. That’s aside from the stuffed animal and blanket you should take so they have something familiar to hold onto; that will reduce them anxiety and discomfort.
Tip 4: Have a plan to deal with the pain.
You know how to minimize the pressure building up in your ears when the aircraft is taking off. Your child doesn’t. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the discomfort. Give your child a pacifier to suck on if they use one. For toddlers, you can ease the transition by giving them a juice box to drink and chewy snacks. Don’t give young children gum, but they might love a lollipop. You could also give your child a pain reliever before they get on board the craft so that any aches and pains are minimal.
Tip 5: Give everyone enough space.
Some parents put themselves in a literal bind. They sometimes try to save money by saying they’ll travel with the child in their lap instead of giving the child their own seat. This hurts the family in several ways. The first is that it means you are crowded into an airplane seat with your young child, and you have less space to work with if you need to entertain or change them. You’ve also denied yourself the extra storage space you’d get if you booked another airline seat. A side benefit of booking everyone their own seat is that it is easier to move your child to another seat if they’re pushing buttons or kicking someone’s seat.
Tip 6: Consolidate as much as possible.
Before you travel with a baby or toddler, consolidate your possessions. For example, look for a rolling car seat or booster seat. Then you can let your child ride in that like a stroller onto the airplane or let bags rest on it as you pull it along. It also means you aren’t trying to juggle a diaper bag, purse, suitcase, and car seat. Another is tactic is renting baby gear like a rolling car seat or stroller so you don’t have to buy it. Consider getting a diaper bag that you can use as a purse, as well. Alternatively, you could switch to a purse you can store in the diaper bag. Now there’s less to keep up with.
Tip 7: Minimize changeovers.
Changeovers are a challenge in and of themselves. You have to get off one plane and over to another before it departs. This process is made that much harder with a young child in tow. One solution is to book direct flights. It might cost more, but there is less room for error. The other option is to book a flight to the airport with the changeover, spend the night, and take the next leg of your journey the next day. This gives you a full night to sleep, and you aren’t rushing to make your next flight.
Tip 8: Hit the restroom before you board.
Regardless of how old your child is, hit the bathroom before you board the airplane. Then you won’t need to figure out what to do with your child when you need to hit the bathroom. You can change your child’s diaper or practice going potty before you board. You have time to thoroughly wash your hands. Consider rinsing out bottles or fill up a sippy cup with water while it is convenient. This is an ideal time to change dirty clothes and rinse those stains out.
Tip 9: Stock up on drinks and snacks.
Your baby doesn’t understand that dinner is served in an hour or that the snacks cost a fortune. Save yourself a lot of whining and stock up on snacks and drinks in your diaper bag. Have one or two juice boxes and several single-serve packs of snacks for your child. Go ahead and throw in a bag of chips or nuts for yourself.
Tip 10: Pack extra clothes for both of you.
There are several reasons to pack extra clothes for both of you. The first is that your luggage may get lost, and it is a lot harder to find replacement clothes for your child than for you to pick up a sundress at the nearest store. The other is that you may have to change clothes. After all, a child-eating and drinking on a plane is liable to make a mess, and it is hard to get to the airplane restroom to wash off a mess. That’s aside from the fact that they may spit up or throw up on you. Carry extra clothes for both of you in your carry-on bags. This should include bibs and burp clothes for babies, too.
Follow our advice for traveling with babies and toddlers, and you’ll make the trip as smooth as possible. You’ll minimize the meltdowns that can ruin your day and make strangers anxious when they see you traveling with a young child.
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