Proud Tips: A Guide to Flying with Your Baby

Flying with your baby doesn't have to be a stressful experience. Although many parents are already pros at traveling with their kids, many new parents stress at the idea of taking their baby on a plane.

For the normal person flying can be a scary and stressful experience. When you add to that the thought of bringing your little one along for the ride, it's a task that most parents dread. As if TSA wasn't enough of a nightmare, you now have the added task of bringing along your "pre-approving flight items" , your baby, and any sanity you have left.

Making it on the plane it's just step one! Everyone knows a baby and a airplane just don't mix and nobody wants to be the parent of the screaming baby. Although there is little you can do to make your baby the perfect passenger, there are some flying staples every jet-set parent must know.

We've compiled a list of everything you need to know to take the stress out of flying with your baby.

Before You Take Off

Plan ahead!

The trick to a successful trip with your baby is planing ahead. It can not be stressed enough how important pre-planning is when traveling with children. The first step in this process is separating which items for your baby should go in a bag to be brought on the plane and which should items should go in checked luggage. Nothing will stall the start of your trip like having to take something out of your carry on while at TSA or finding out a needed item, like a hygiene product, is over the size requirements. Although guides and blogs like this one may be helpful for information, flight regulations are always changing, we recommend taking a quick look at TSA's website before any trip. This will ensure your are traveling with approved items and with the most current information.

 

 

#ProudTip: Download your boarding passes in advance for quick transitions through the airport. Most boarding passes are available for download 24 hours before your flight and can be download to your smart phone.

Arrive early

Arriving early will allow you time to deal with any unplanned events that might arise during your check-in. We recommend arriving 2 hours before your scheduled departure and using curbside check-in as an additional parenting hack. Using curbside check-in can allow you to ditch some of your heavy item early and free up valuable hands space. Remember to allow more time than you would for trip without your baby for additional TSA screening and checks. TSA requires strollers and all baby carriers to be screened by x-ray and/or manually. You may also experience additional diaper bag checks if you are traveling with lots of liquids or powdered baby formula. Planning time for these additional screenings will ensure you make it to your gate on time.

 

#ProudReminder: Your baby must be under 2 years old in order to be a "lap infant" and qualify for a free tickets.

Don't over-pack

Having your hands free is the name of the game when traveling with your baby. This is why it is important to only bring the essential items with you through TSA and onto the plane. Here is a short list of items we recommend bringing to help you pack like a pro:

  • FAA-Approved stroller and car seat; we recommend a combo for added convenience
    • #ProudTip: Gate check you stroller at boarding so that you may avoid carrying your baby for long periods through the airport.
  • Identification for everyone flying including your baby
  • Diaper bag
  • Breast pump
  • Enough breastmilk to last regular feedings
    • TSA does not currently regulate the amount of breastmilk you may pack with you you.
  • Snacks
  • Diapers
    • Make you you change your baby before you take off.
  • Lots of wipes
  • You baby's favorite toy
  • A change of clothes for your baby
  • A few swaddles
  • A neck pillow; for you
  • Earplugs
    • We recommend bringing a few extra for your neighbors on the flight 😉
  • An extra shirt for yourself; accidents happen
  • Hand sanitizer

 

#ProudTip: Skip pre-boarding.While many airlines offer first boarding for parents, it can take a long time for the rest of the passengers to board, leaving you trapped in place with your baby. When possible, we recommend sending one parent ahead early to store carry-ons and disinfect the area while the other waits at the gate with the baby and boards last.

Once You're In the Air

Plan your feedings

Making sure that your baby's feeding schedule lines with your flight details is a game changer when flying with a young child. Booking a flight during a time where you normally feed and put down your baby may ensure that they sleep during the flight. Even for flights outside your baby's normal feeding schedule, it is essential to make sure that you feed your baby during both take off and landing. Your baby's ears are very sensitive and the change in air pressure is what causes many baby meltdowns. Feeding your baby during these times will keep their ears from popping and keep your neighbors happy.

 

Don't be afraid to get up

Remember, your baby won't be used to being in one confined area for a long period of time. It is okay to get up and walk the aisle if your baby is getting restless. (We recommend booking an aisle seat for this reason alone.) Walking the aisle can help stimulate your baby and recapture their attention. It may also provide you space for the necessary motions to get them back to sleep.

 

Ask for help

The flight attendants and airport staff are usually very friendly and often times and will be delighted to offer assistance to parents in need. Should you need help at any step, don't hesitate to ask the closest staff member or in-flight assistant.

 

Having kids is a reason to travel ,

 

never a reason to stop.

The most important thing to remember when flying with your baby is to stay calm. Your baby will feel if you are stressed out. While flying with your baby may be an additional struggle, remember that the journey is just a few hours of your day. Even if your baby has a bad flight, you will be okay. Don't be embarrassed if your baby cries on the plane, that's what babies do. Your job is to be as prepared as you can to safely get your family from point A to point B.

We hope this post can help you when it comes time to fly with your baby! Don't forget to share your thoughts on flying with your baby in our Proud Moms and Dads Facebook group and let us know if you have any related questions.  

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