6 Lessons I’ve Learned about Flying with a Baby

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Looking to book a trip but nervous to fly with your wee one?

I’ve been there. There have been trips that I have dreaded for months before buckling down and trudging through! Flying with a baby is an unfortunate reality of our circumstances, so it is something we’ve had to learn to live with.

Not that it’s all gone smoothly,  but with experience comes wisdom and we have picked up a few tips for flying with a baby along the way— hopefully you find them helpful too!

1.) Discuss your options with your airline ahead of time.

Many airlines offer special accommodations for parents traveling with young children. On longer flights, you may have access to a bassinet for baby to sleep in the bulk head row, or you may be seated in a row with open seats to allow you more space. Most airlines will also allow you to gate check items like a stroller or carseat. Whatever the airline offers, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Which brings me to my next point…

2.) Ask for help!

Security agents can test formula, water, or liquid food items that you are carrying for the baby (or for a nursing mama!) so that you can bring them with you on the plane. Flight attendants can bring you hot water to prepare formula or hold the baby so you can use the restroom. Kind strangers may even pitch in (although more often than not, I’ve found that I need to ask.) People do generally seem to want to make your life easier when you’re flying with a baby! A happy baby = a happier plane ride for all!

3.) Wear your baby.

The single most useful thing I have learned by traveling with my baby is that wearing is the solution to all problems. When you have a lap baby, wearing them can help keep your arms free. It can lull them to sleep, soothe their discomforts, and makes it much easier to carry luggage or use the restroom with baby in tow (yep, it can be done!) Granted, most babies need to get used to the idea of being worn, so if you don’t already wear your baby they may take a little practice prior to a big trip 😉

4.) Pack light*

*as light as possible with a baby, that is. Let’s face it, babies seem to require a TON of stuff to get by, even for a short amount of time. But there is nothing worse than lugging around huge (overweight) suitcases with a baby and extra gear in tow. If you cut corners where you can, you’ll find that your trip will be a lot less stressful— and your arms will thank you!

We frequently leave the stroller at home, along with the pack and play and any other gear we can secure on the other end of our trip. If I’m traveling somewhere where diapers and food are easily accessible, I usually plan to purchase them at my destination. Next time you travel, take note of what you could have gotten by without. You might be surprised!

5.) When it comes to toys, variety and novelty are key.

Since you don’t want to rifle through your carry-on for 10 minutes looking for that precious pacifier with a screaming baby, I’d suggest forsaking a large quantity of toys. Instead, bring a variety and even tuck in a few new toys or toys your child hasn’t seen in a while (I usually hide a few favorites a couple of weeks prior to flying so that they feel new.) Same goes for snacks!

6.) It’s ok to break a few of your rules.

I believe in consistency and boundaries. Unless I am about to fly with a baby, in which case bring on the normally forbidden iPad, the not-entirely-nutritious snacks, and the cartoons. The way I see it, flying is an exceptional circumstance— and one that I hope to get through with minimal tears!

I’d love to hear from you— have you picked up any tips of your own for flying with a baby ? Do you have any horror stories about plane rides with a young child?

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