I’ve now taken two entire flights with a 7 month old. One was for 30 min (during which she slept the entire time) and the other was for an hour and 30 minutes… Which means I am NOT an expert on flying with a baby! There are lots of other blog posts and friends who have much more experience with this; i.e. Friends who are serving in Papa New Guinea with their four children. THEY are experts on flying with kids.
So after that disclaimer, why am I even blogging about this? Well, as with any experience, lessons are learned and I want to share those. Plus, it will be entertaining to come back to this when we’ve taken more trips with Catherine. My mom and I still have our flights home tomorrow and there’s no telling how things will go :-)
But after two fairly uneventful flights, here are some tidbits:
- Do some research before you fly. Are you planning to fly with “infant in arms?” With Delta, you’ll need to call after booking your trip so they can add that to your ticket. Will you need to take food, formula or milk? You should be fine taking what you need for your flights that day, but find out what the rules are for your specific airline.
- Plan to fly with plenty of diapers and wipes. From what I hear, those can be difficult to find at airports and it’s just better to be prepared! That being said, if you need to change the baby during a layover, just go ahead and stop at the first restroom you see. It’s best to just make the pitstop first thing and then head to your gate (we did the opposite and it added a little more stress than I thought it would).
- A cute baby will get you through any crowd! You know the mob that gathers at the door to the plane? The one that’s impossible to weave your way through should your zone be called? Well, if you have a baby, it’s like parting the Red Sea! Just say, “Excuse me” very politely (but loud enough to be heard!), people will turn and then see you have a little one and will gladly move out of the way!
- Board early. When they call for people who have babies or need extra assistance getting on, seize the opportunity and go! It’s nice being able to get settled without feeling like you’re holding everyone up. Plus, you’ll have your pick of overhead bin space for your carryon!
- Nurse, use a paci or a bottle during takeoff and landing. I did my best to nurse during takeoff and landing so that Catherine’s ears would pop and she wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. This worked wonderfully during the first flight and she slept the entire 30+ minutes. Takeoff during the second flight was fine and then we fed her some oatmeal mixed with bottled water we’d gotten in the terminal. Usually she’s interested in eating no matter what time it is but she must have been extra full for the second landing because she didn’t nurse quotas well and screamed a bit more than any other time :-( Thankfully most people around us were very gracious and didn’t seem too annoyed. Especially once we landed and they saw how cute she was (and once she had settled down).
- Extra cuddles. An added bonus is that almost any sleeping they’ll do if they’re flying in your lap is they’ll sleep in your arms, which means lots of cuddles and sweet sleepy baby faces!
- Bring a stroller if you can. We brought a stroller with us to use in the airport and at our destination and I’m so glad we did!! It’s a $40 one we got at a consignment sale so when we check it curbside before we get on the plane, I’m not really worried about anything happening to it. When we have longer flights and trips, I also plan to bring our Ergo baby carrier to use at our destinations. Bottom line is that being hands free at the airport is really helpful! And getting through security wasn’t a problem at all. They hand checked the stroller and let me walk through to have my hands swiped/checked so that the baby didn’t have to go through the x-ray machine.
- My best advice? The best thing I did when we stepped foot in the airport was to not worry and to not hold tightly to any plans or preconceived notions I had. Babies can be so unpredictable and if you can just let things go, love on your baby, and laugh when things don’t go according to plan, your trip will create memories instead of nightmares that you never want to think about again!
We have several more – and longer – trips coming up in the next 6+ months so I’m sort of using this current trip as a test! Granted, as she keeps growing and changing, we will need to adjust how we travel with her. But now that I’ve got half of this first trip under my belt, I’m more confident and not as anxious about the next flights!
If you guys have any tips, I’m all ears!!