flying with babies
Here are a few of our top tips for flying with babies. What works for you?? Share your knowledge with other parents by commenting below!
security, milk, formula
Jess says: Navigate security with ease. Luckily, milk and baby food (yes, all those pouches) are considered "medically necessary items" and are not held to the 3 oz. rule. Make sure they are bundled in one bag, and be prepared to have them tested. TSA has specific info here.
If you use formula, bring plenty of extra on the plane. I heard a terrible story one time of a mother panicking when the plane taxied on the runway for hours (yes, hours). You never know if you will be rerouted or delayed, so bring way more than you would think you would need. Same goes for diapers! And speaking of diapers, don't be surprised when the flight attendant won't take a diaper to throw away. They're not being mean; it's not allowed. But they will happily give you a bag for your diaper-- you will just have to take it with you.
JoDee says: Be sure to look up the TSA guidelines for bringing medically necessary baby items. Expect to spend more time than usual at security. They will wipe your items and put through a special scanner in order to determine if they are permissible.
You may also want to take a look at a travel bottle warmer for heating bottles. I like the Philips Avent travel warmer. It is a large plastic cup with a lid that contains a thermos. You have the flight attendant fill the thermos with their boiling water, then you can pour some in the plastic cup, insert bottle and close the lid. This item was a lifesaver on our Singapore/DFW trip with our 12 week old. Another product recommended for forumla moms are the Tommee Tippee individual formula dispensers. You do not want to be scooping powder while you're holding boiling water in your lap.
Finally, don't expect the flight attendants to put your breastmilk in the plane refrigerators. I've heard of it happening, but had no luck with it myself. Cooler bags are permitted by TSA, so plan to bring one if you have expressed milk. I froze my milk for our long haul trip and kept it in a cooler. By the time one had thawed, it was ready to eat. The rest of the time, I gave her formula.
And until about 8 months, there's no real "entertaining" baby. It's all about that sleep, 'bout that sleep . . . Click below for our best travel sleep advice.
JoDee says: Be prepared for the possibility that your baby might not sleep, and therefore you might not sleep. This may not be a big deal for domestic travel or short jaunts to Europe, but for long-haul, you may need a plan. We tested benadryl in advance, and wrote her pediatrician to get the all clear for using it during the flight. We used it when she was clearly exhausted, but couldn't sleep due to the stimulation of the airplane, and being overtired. A small dose of benadryl helped her get 5 hours she would not have had otherwise.
If sleep isnt happening, of course you're going to feel terrible for the other passengers on the plane. But don't worry about it. You and your baby are people on this planet, and you have every right to be on that airplane. Screams and cries really only carry sound 4-5 rows behind you, if you're sitting in the bulkhead. The other passengers will survive as will you. But don't take it personally when they walk past you as you deplane and ask if your baby is ill!
Along those same lines, Kelly says: Don't pack a ton of toys, books, etc. When her baby is presented with napkins or a bright, shiny baby toy, she ALWAYS goes for the napkins. So next time, Kelly says she will bring fewer toys and just ask for extra napkins. :)
WanderLittles has mad love for baby carriers. Jess swears by her Ergo, as does Steph. Cally agrees, using a Boba:
When my children were under the age of 2, I loved using the Boba for travel. Whether backpack or papoose style, that thing got me places without trouble. There's nothing like running after your older child as they sprint away while your baby in the Boba has the most peaceful slumber of their life.
Steph says: I fly with my baby carriers just in case the little ones need some extra attention or help to fall asleep. Plus, it makes running to connecting flights or standing in long lines at customs a lot nicer when when the little ones are strapped in and can't go anywhere and I still have 2 hands to pass paperwork or wrangle suitcases.
Kelly points out that even if you are not going to use the baby carrier on the plane, make sure to take it with you, especially if you will be sightseeing or hiking in areas where a stroller would have trouble. She and her husband wore their 6-month old through Irish castles, although the baby slept through many of them. :)
JoDee says: absolutely bring a carrier, even if your baby doesn't like it. If your baby won't sleep in the basinette, she may need to sleep on you. If she needs to sleep on you, you do not want to doze off while holding her in your arms. You may also need to walk the aisles during fussy periods.
In addition to the carrier, I would recommend a Babyzen Yoyo or a Mountain Buggy Nano. Both are umbrella strollers that collapse into carry-on size and can be brought on the plane. Babyzen Yoyo is narrow enough to push down the aisles of the plane, which is a lifesaver if your baby is really young and will fuss when being transferred from carrier to stroller. Taking it on the plane with you helps to keep it from being beat up by handlers. Our baby did not like carriers, but even if she did, I would recommend a Babyzen Yoyo for ease and speed getting around the airports. Sometimes, your baby needs a place to sit so you can go to the toilet. The advantage with the Mountain Buggy Nano is your infant capsule can attach without needing special adapters. If you decide to keep your baby in the infant car seat while you're in the airport, be sure to buy a bag for it so it wont be damaged when you have to check it at the gate.