Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Tips for Flying with Baby
Flying with baby can be a little intimidating. Flying is a tad daunting in itself. Throw in the potential for a baby meltdown and things can be really frightening. Here are a few tips I picked up along the way:
Check Your Bags
I didn't do this the first time and had to carry my baby, my carry-on, and my suitcase through the airplane. It wasn't impossible, but it wasn't easy. The second flight I checked at the gate and that made life much easier particularly when it came time to de-board.
No one likes to carry a heavy bag on their shoulder, especially when you're already toting around a little one. Pack things that can work double duty. For example, a receiving blanket can also be used as a burp cloth. Plan for delays (pray they don't happen to you) and bring extra formula/outfits/diapers just in case.
I can't promote baby wearing enough and literally use my Tula almost every day (here is a great resource comparing the Tula to other ergonomic carriers). Wearing baby means no heavy stroller or carseat to maneuver through the airport and being hands-free. Holding baby in your lap for a flight can get a little strenuous on your arms and back so having the option of using the carrier provides relief.
I drove an hour and a half to the airport rather than using my local airport so that I could fly direct. It made my travel time about 4 hours (including security/baggage claim) as opposed to 6-8. Every minute counts when you have a little one. Do as much as you possibly can ahead of time. Check to see if your airport has family friendly security lines (saves so much time and doesn't require you to remove shoes or baby carriers) and check-in prior to getting to the airport online.
If baby starts crying, the noise on the airplane is already so loud the only people that will really be bothered are the ones sitting next to you. And they won't be nearly as upset as you are because you're the one trying to figure out what is wrong. Babies cry. It's what they do.
Bring various forms of stimulation for baby including rattles, teethers, pacifiers (if you use them), and musical toys. I downloaded a lullaby app prior to boarding that helped baby rest and relax. If your baby is old enough you may want to download some age appropriate games or videos like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Schedule Flights Around Naps
I didn't do this on the first flight and I ended up holding a 15 pound baby supporting him while he "stood" on my lap for 2 hours looking at people. I was fine, but sore the next day. The second flight was at nap time and I was much more comfortable. I even read my book on the Kindle app!
Whatever you do, keep your cool. Babies pick up on our nervousness and stress and it can cause them to feel stress as well. The happier you are (even if you are pretending), the happier baby will be.