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Flying with a baby can be a daunting proposition. Even the most seasoned traveler must find the idea of packing for a tiny person with unique needs that change often to be quite a task! Here are 6 tips to help you on your flight.
Flying with a Baby: 6 Tips to Make it Easier
We recently took our 6-month-old on our first family trip. We were flying halfway across the country and we’re going to be gone for almost a week. Our trip had one plane change and layovers.
Here are my tips for a successful plane trip with a little one:
- Take as direct a flight as possible – we knew we would have to change planes at least once so we found flights that only required one plane change.
- Try to find a layover longer than 1 hour but shorter than 3 hours. Our flight out had a 3 hour layover and the baby started to get fussy at the 2 hour mark. She fell asleep about 30 minutes before boarding only to have to wake up while we boarded. Our flight home was an hour layover that ended up being even less as our first flight was late getting in. We didn’t have enough time to change a diaper or organize our carry ons for the next flight.
- Have a bottle/pacifier/breast ready and available. We breastfeed and our first flight was off and on breastfeeding the whole way. Once baby knew the drill it was mostly just take off and landing with maybe one feeding in the middle of the flight. The sucking helps their ears and is also comforting for them in a new environment so have at least one item ready!
- Pack twice the number of clothes for them as you would for yourself. I packed 2-2.5x the number of outfits as days and thought I had greatly overpacked. We ended up using almost all the clothes I had packed for baby. We stayed with family and were able to do wash, otherwise, we definitely would have used every outfit!
- Pack clothes in your carry on. We checked all of our luggage. We packed an extra set of clothes for ourselves as well as 3 outfits and a pair of PJs for the baby. If your luggage doesn’t make it or you get stuck in your layover city you will want some fresh clothes to get you through the next day. Also, if there’s a blowout or throw up on your lap you’ll be glad to have a change of clothes handy! This is, one of the best tips for flying with a baby that saves your sanity in those unexpected moments.
- If you can buy it there, don’t pack it. Buy packs of diapers, baby food, etc. when you get there. Save that valuable space in your luggage for other necessities! Only pack what you will need to get there and leave the rest at home.
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Here’s a Bonus for Southwest Airlines Passengers!
- Bonus Tip: Southwest will gate check your stroller/car seat all the way to your destination. This was a lifesaver for us on our short layover!
Items that help Flying with a Baby Easier to Manage
Baby Wearing – Get a comfortable carrier that you are familiar with getting on and off. I prefer a soft sided carrier since you don’t have to take it off when going through security. Perfect if you have a sleeping baby (the metal rings in a ring sling set off the metal detector).
Flight Vest – This was a must for me when we decided to not buy a seat for our little. I was so nervous about turbulence and her not having a seat belt. This gave me some amazing peace of mind! We’ve used it so many times when flying with a lap baby.
Umbrella Stroller – If you are looking for a lightweight stroller that will be easy to haul around this is my favorite! The comfort height handles are a real back saver!
Packing Cubes – I just started using these recently and they are amazing for keeping organized and knowing where everyone’s clothes are if you are packing multiple people’s clothes in one suitcase.
Car Seat Cover – We use one similar to this when we take the car seat and have to check it. It keeps it from getting *quite* so beat up and makes it a little easier to carry through the airport.
So, what tips do you have when flying with a baby?