Flying with Baby: Helpful Tips

We took our four month old on her first flight the other day.  We made it a short one – just three hours to West Palm Beach from New York.  When my husband suggested we visit the in-laws, I thought it would be a good introductory flight – not too long of a trip – to see how Eden did.  Well she cried a lot, but not for most of the flight.  She cried when we first got on the plane and for a bit in the middle when she woke up, but not during take off and landing.  Sure, mommy and daddy had a headache post flight, but all in all, I’d say it was a success!  But one thing is for sure – flights  are no longer my happy place where I can relax with a good movie or catch up on work if baby is with me!   While it takes some work to ensure you don’t turn into those people everyone hates with the crying baby, I learned a few things along the way to make the whole experience from pickup for the airport to landing at your destination a very doable experience.

  • Ride to the airport and pickup from your destination – if you are bringing your own carseat, you can use a standard taxi or car service.  However, you need to remember you are schlepping a lot more luggage than when you used to travel.  In addition to the extra clothes, swaddle blankets, and other baby items, you’ll most likely have a stroller and some additional carry-ons for your baby’s food and necessities.  Make sure the car you reserve is big enough to hold everything.  In addition, if you are not bringing your baby’s car seat, make sure the company can supply one.  Legends Limousine was highly recommended on many of the mom’s boards.  Their service is top notch.  Not only are the cars clean and kept in great shape, (they get a new fleet every three years), their car seats are clean, modern and safe. I did try another company before them, and the car seat was very old and filthy.  You may want to bring a blanket to put down where you can on the carseat just in case.   Legends Limousine was established in 1994 and is family owned and operated. For over 20 years they have grown to surpass a fleet size of over 65 company owned vehicles.  Their  fleet includes late model sedans, Minivans, SUVs, Executive Vans, limousines, and charter buses.  To date, Legends Limousine specializes in quality local, corporate and family transportation in over 500 cities across the globe.  You can book online at www.legendslimousine.com Use Code CSE for 10 dollars off your next family trip where a car seat is ordered!
  • Strollers, breast pumps, and car seats are allowed to be brought to the gate and don’t count as carry-ons.  While I still like to keep bags as consolidated as possible so there is less room for leaving things at the security check, you won’t have to feel limited because a breast pump is considered a medical supply item.  However, your diaper bag and cooler for your milk does count as a carry-on, so you may want to fold up your diaper bag and put it in your suitcase and bring just the essentials on the plane in one of your other bags.
  • You can bring breast milk – best bet for the least amount of inspection is to freeze it.  Bring a small cooler with a lot of icepacks.  If they are going to inspect it, make sure the bags or bottles are tightly sealed and ask them to change gloves when they inspect it.
  • If you are breastfeeding, nurse during takeoff and landing to help alleviate the pressure inside your baby’s ears.  It could also lead to a nice long nap.  If you’re not nursing, give your baby something to suck on, whether it’s your finger, bottle or a teething toy.  Our baby was so calm during takeoff and landing, just eating and then sleeping through it all.  I found that carrying the baby in my Lilebaby carrier on the way back made it a lot for more comfortable for both her and me.  When she fell asleep, I had my hands free to watch a movie or read my book which was a really nice break.
  • Request the bulk head section.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky.  If you happen to be pregnant again and also have a little one, make sure you mention you are pregnant when you call to make your reservation.  Many times, they will give you the first row in economy, which has  extra legroom so baby and you won’t feel cramped and you have a bit more privacy if nursing. However, they may tell you that if someone handicapped needs it, you will get bumped.
  • If your baby is awake during the flight, go for slow walks with them on your shoulder or just stand in the aisle and sway side to side and up and down for comfort. If they are a little older, I’ve seen bubbles work as well as a way to calm them.
  • While airlines give you the opportunity to board early, I found that all of the extra time on the plane waiting for everyone else to board made for a very restless, screaming baby.  So on the flight home, my husband loaded up the plane with our bags and stroller and I stayed outside the plane until the last person boarded.  My baby enjoyed watching everyone go by and gave many smiles to those walking past her.  The plane took off just a few minutes after we boarded.  She started eating and fell asleep in no time.  We had a much smoother ride back.

I hope these tips help you with your next flight.  Most of all, just take a deep breath and relax because I’m a firm believer that your baby will pick up on your nervous cues.  You will still have a great trip no matter how much crying happens on the plane.  If you are organized and prepared, you will get through the first flight like a champ!

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