Have Baby, Will Travel

I prefer driving over flying if I’m going anywhere within 10-12 hours.  The airport is about 2.5 hours away from my house, so by the time I drive, be at the airport to check in early and wait, get a rental car at my destination, etc., it’s usually sixes as to whether I’d be faster driving.  Comfort-wise, driving is always better too.  Anyway, now that I have my first trip flying with EJ under my belt, I thought I’d share some of my travel tips/thoughts/experiences of flying with a baby.  I’m by no means an expert, but I think it’s so helpful to parents to have a variety of opinions and experiences to consider when flying!  Keep in mind that EJ was 7 months when we flew so my experience is based on that age.

In no particular order..

-We booked our flights very last minute, so my mom and I were lucky to get a seat.  I didn’t get one for EJ.  She did fine in my lap, but if I was flying longer than 90 minutes, I would probably want to get her a seat.

-I gate-checked EJ’s carseat in a garbage sack to keep it clean.  I didn’t take the carseat based, which was my biggest regret!  Take the base and have it attached to your carseat if you gate check.  Having your base will allow the carseat to be more secure in your rental car.  I had so much stress worrying about the fact that EJ’s carseat wasn’t extremely snug in the rental.

-I’d posted on Instagram asking for travel tips before we left and several people suggested getting a carseat from the rental car place.  I’m glad we didn’t do that because gate checking EJ’s seat was easy and then I knew she was in a clean, safe (never been in a car accident) carseat.

-Take antibacterial wipes to clean your seat area.

-It’s extremely convenient to wear the baby through security.  This allows you to have your hands free to do everything else that you need to do.  I never had to take EJ out of the baby carrier.

-You can carry baby food and formula in your carry on.  Security will screen it, but as long as you don’t have an over abundance of food/formula, they don’t have any problem.

-Other passengers and/or people in the security line are going to be extremely helpful to you if you have a baby.  Take their help.  I was so grateful to the man who put my carry on into the overhead compartment for me.  I’m not sure I could have done it while wearing EJ without smacking her in the face!

-The baby has to be in your lap (not strapped in a baby carrier) for take off and landing, so when you get on the plane make sure that you unstrap your baby before your seat mates board and you don’t have arm room.  (I boarded early!)

-Take quiet toys with lights and different colors (iPad, books).  You want to entertain the baby but not annoy the people around you with baby music or rattling noises.

-Also gate check your stroller.  This lets you put the baby into the stroller while you’re waiting in the airport, letting the baby be a little more comfortable than if he/she is in the baby carrier for the whole time.  I wanted to make sure EJ was as happy as possible before the flight so that she didn’t cry, and keeping her comfortable was imperative.

-Your baby may cry and it’s okay.  I was so worried that EJ would bawl, but she didn’t.  She did really well on the first flight, playing with toys then falling asleep.  On the way home she had a huge meltdown before we boarded.  Everyone getting onto our plane saw/heard and I’m sure they were dreading having to get on a plane with her.  Fortunately though, she was just tired and her fit was short-lived.  She fell asleep for the entire flight.  I realized though that as horrible as I would have felt if she cried on the plane, the people would be annoyed, but they are also really sympathetic.

-Use a pacifier clip because you absolutely don’t want to lose the pacifier or have it drop on the dirty floor.

-Give the baby a bottle as you begin to taxi away from the gate.  This helps with their ears popping and hopefully will put the baby to sleep like it did with EJ.

-RELAX.  This is my biggest tip.  Babies pick up on how we feel.  I know that just before our flight home I was grumpy and worrying how EJ would do, and I started stressing out about all the things I needed to do when I got home.  She could tell I was nervous and I really think that contributed to her meltdown.

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