Traveling can always be hectic and traveling during the holidays adds a whole new level of stress. Add a baby to the mix and it’s just a whole different story! This year we are traveling to visit my side of the family for Thanksgiving. My whole family lives in Iowa and considering we live many states away in South Carolina, we were definitely going to fly.
We have an 8 month old and have taken him on an airplane once when he was two months and we were moving. He did wonderful but this time he is more awake, way more mobile and definitely needs things to keep his attention. Thankfully the flights weren’t going to be long ones but I knew that it had the potential to go very, very wrong. I have been on many flights where I hear a screaming child the majority of the time and it is not too fun. I really didn’t want to be the person with the screaming child!
Here are some tips that helped us along the way!
1) Bring tons of things to do!
Even if you think it is too much, bring it just in case. My son kept dropping toys and depending on where he dropped it, I didn’t necessarily want him putting it back in his mouth So it was nice to have extra toys.
2) Bring even more SNACKS!
This was a lifesaver for us. I brought baby puffs, yogurt creamies and teething wafers. We also bought some bananas in the airport since it is one of his favorite snacks. I packed an empty sippy cup and filled it with bottled water in the airport. The snacks are what really helped him when he started to get fussy on the plane.
3) Sanitize areas!
Wipe down areas that your baby will likely touch on the plane. There are sooo many gross germs on a plane and it is so easy to get sick. I used wipes to wipe down the window area, tray tables and arm rests. I also had “pacifier wipes” (found them at target and are safe for disinfecting things that baby puts in their mouth) for cleaning off toys or sippy cups if he dropped them.
4) You can bring breastmilk or formula through security!
Just be prepared, they are going to inspect it so you will have to take it out. I also believe it must have a hard ice pack if using a cooler, I don’t think you can use the gel ones. If you need to use milk on the plane but don’t have anything to warm it up, ask the flight attendant if there is anything they can do and it is likely that they can help. The first time we flew, they were able to warm up his bottle in hot water.
5) Bring a stroller!
Especially if you have a long layover!! We have a large jogging stroller that we wouldn’t have been able to take all the way to the gate anyway so I ended up buying a small cheapo umbrella stroller before our trip and I am glad I did! We were able to wheel him around in it and keep him entertained until we went on the plane. Then just checked it at the gate!
6) Nurse on the plane!
Nurse on the way up and before landing, this helps with their ears popping. Thankfully, my son didn’t seem to have a problem with his ears but I have heard of many people who do this and it helps. Sucking on a pacifier could also help.
7) Bring an extra onesie, pants and/or burp cloth!
You never know the kind of mess they are going to make! Luckily this time my son didn’t make any messes except for dropping puffs on the ground. However, the first time we flew with him at around 2 months old he had a huge blow out and of course, of all times…runny poop starts running out of his diaper and onto my lap only a few minutes into the flight!! Thankfully we got it wiped up with wipes. Did I mention to bring WIPES?!
8) If possible, plan travel around bed time or nap times!
The first time we flew with our son it was a 7 hour flight (man were we dreading it!) but it was a completely overnight flight. Since he was already sleeping through the night he slept…THE WHOLE FLIGHT! I couldn’t believe it! Then this last time we went during naptime. Since he was on our lap this time I thought no way he would sleep but to my surprise, he still fell asleep on my lap during his usual naptime!
9) May be useful to get their own seat!
If you’re traveling by plane and the flight is long then it may be worth it to pay for an extra seat for your baby if you can afford it. Babies under the age of 2 can sit on your lap but if the flight is a long one, it is much easier to bring an infant carrier or car seat along for them to sit in. If traveling by car, take breaks to let them stretch out.
10) Most importantly…make the best of it!
Traveling with a baby may feel like forever but it will be over before you know it. Try not to worry about the people cussing you out for your baby’s cries because most likely, they will be in your shoes someday as well!
We took lots of pictures and had a memorable experience traveling with our little guy. He loved looking out the plane windows as we took off, had a blast bumping up and down while we ran through the airport (as we almost missed our second flight!) and really enjoyed looking at all the unusual things he doesn’t see on a day to day basis. Traveling with a baby isn’t easy, but it really just takes some planning and organizing! Hope this helps with your travels!