Flying with Baby

It's Baby Talk Tuesday and I've got a great guest post for you. My friend Carly is taking over TAA with some great tips about flying with a new baby.

{Am I alone in feeling anxiety over just thinking about this topic?}

Everyone, meet Carly and her adorable daughter, Ellie.

 

Carly and I played soccer and swam together in middle school and high school and just reconnected over the last 6 months when we found out that we were both expecting baby girls in early 2013. Carly was my daily go-to-girl for all questions, pregnancy ponderings and anxiety-laden labor worries. She really helped get me through everything, including which bunting to purchase (we coincidentally picked out the same one!), what to pack for the hospital, and even down to the nitty gritty bodily issues that non-pregnant ladies just don't {want to} know about. Now that we're both on the 'Mom' side, we continue to chat almost daily about our gorgeous girls and how we're handling life as new Moms. So without further ado, here's Carly!

 

Since booking our flight to Florida several months ago, I've been worried and dreading flying/traveling with our four month old daughter, Ellie. The logistics seemed daunting and I had no idea what to expect. Here is our story and some additional tips on flying with an infant.

 

Book wisely. If you're traveling domestically within the U.S., babies fly free until they're two. They just sit in your lap. Just be sure to give the airline a head's up when you book your flight. If your baby is on a regular sleep schedule, book your flight during nap or sleep time. Booking tickets is also your first chance to optimize seating. We opted to shell out an extra $40 each for bulkhead seating and the extra legroom and early departure off the plane was worth every penny.


Keep your stroller with you, but check everything else. They’ll give you luggage tags at the gate, and you just leave it outside the door of the plane. It was waiting for us as soon as we de-planed both times.  It was really nice to be able to stroll around the airport effortlessly as well as store the diaper bag/hubby’s laptop underneath it. 

Side note: TSA requires that you break down strollers and remove the baby from the carrier when going through security. Yes, it's a hassle, yes people will stare at you as you struggle, but it is so nice to have on hand.

 

We made 2 very important purchases:

A stroller cover. The last thing we wanted was any dents/scrapes on it from poor handling. This also made our stroller easily identifiable amongst the other strollers.

A car seat bag. This helped store our gate-checked car seat in, that way they wouldn't get ripped or dirty while being stowed underneath the plane. They can also be used for larger child safety seats later on in life too.

 

Roll with Back-Up: Don't go overboard, but have extra essentials on hand (pacifiers, diapers, wipes, burp cloths, change of clothes). You might even want to pack an extra shirt for yourself.  Also, it helped that I dressed Ellie in layers, because the temperature kept changing.  We were flying to South Florida, so tons of old people on the flight complaining it was “freezing.” Ask a flight attendant which lavatory has the changing table so you'll know when you need it. If at all possible (depending on the length of the flight), change the baby immediately before and after the flight and avoid the in-flight change if you can.

Smooth Landing and Take-Off: To ease ear pressure you can nurse, give a bottle, or offer a pacifier. If they're asleep (like Ellie was at take off), let them keep snoozing.

 

In-flight Dining: Measure out extra formula for babies. Once through security, purchase a big bottle of water (I just asked the clerk for the un-refrigerated water).

In-Flight Entertainment: In our case, the roar of the jet engine lulled our little angel right to sleep. When she woke up, she loved to just look around, play with a few small toys, look out the window and especially loved watching some of the infant apps we downloaded to the iPad (starting her young I know). 

Clear for Take-Off: If you have any hesitations about your child's health (ear infection, fever), check with your doctor before flying. We actually made a pit stop at the pediatrician 3 hours prior to take off because Ellie was pulling at her right ear for 2 days. Turns out, in the words of the doctor  “congratulations, she found her ears.”  Better safe than sorry doc! That $20 co-pay was worth it for my peace of mind.


After all that, we were finally on our way and Ellie was perfect. She slept for 75% of it and the remainder we fed or entertained her!

 

A few packing essentials which I found INVALUABLE!

Zip lock bags. Lots of them. The big gallon ones. Babies make messes. Unfortunately though, when you’re on the road/in the air, there isn’t always somewhere to dispose of dirty diapers, soiled clothes and whatever else the little nuggets get into. We were especially grateful for these when Ellie decided to have a diaper explosion while going through the security line at EWR!

Bath Time. We have been doing a nightly bath routine ever since we brought Miss Ellie home from the hospital. She loves it and to her, it means bedtime is just around the corner. She’s too little for a regular bath so we were recommended this baby tub by a friend. It worked great! It packed away nicely and inflated up to a perfect little tub for her! We also saw some people on the beach with the very same one using it as a mini swimming pool for their babies.

White noise. Ellie is used to sleeping with white noisebut we didn't want to schlep our heavy noise machine along on our trip. We just downloaded it on our iProducts and played it in the bedroom. Worked like a charm.

Diapers.com I can’t say enough good things about this site. Order whatever you need to your destination!  We ordered a box of diapers, wipes, and formula. That way, we didn’t have to carry everything on the flight with us or take up room in our suitcases. This also avoids trekking to a grocery store as soon as you land. Bonus: Delivery is FREE, and the box always magically arrives the next morning.

Lastly, the most important tip I have learned for traveling with an infant…. 

Patience... lots of it. Air and car travel, changes of scenery and new sleeping arrangements can be unsettling and confusing for routine-loving babies like mine. Accept ahead of time that your journey may not go exactly as planned, that it may take a little longer for baby to fall asleep, and that even the calmest baby might be a little upset and fussy. If you accept from the outset that little hiccups and delays are bound to happen, you’ll be all the more able to cope with them and take them in your stride, making a happier experience for everyone. Traveling with a baby definitely has its crazy moments, but it can be wonderful and exciting for both you and them. I found that the handful of things I was most worried about (chaotic flights; screaming on the plane, stink eyes from other passengers)...didn’t actually happen. Overall, I've found traveling with a baby to be easier than I had expected, which was a nice surprise! Ellie (and mommy) can’t wait for our next adventure!

 

 

Whew...doesn't Carly make it sound easy and even...fun?! It definitely gives me the courage to pack up Little Miss P for vacation. Luckily our annual Aruba trip has been postponed until the Fall, so I don't have to worry about it just yet, but I'm definitely going to be taking Carly's tips into account when prepping for that vacation! Thanks so much to Carly and Ellie for joining us today!

What are your baby traveling tips?

Do you have any baby travel tales {the good and the bad}?