As the mother of 4 girls (ages 11 – 2), I have flown a lot with babies – oftentimes by myself. Over the past 11+ years, I have seen it all on an airplane with my little ones – throwing up (them and me), tears (them and me), and complete meltdowns (them and me). It’s not always pretty, but it doesn’t have to be something that terrifies you! Sure, a flight attendant might ask you if they need to consider an emergency landing because your baby is crying for so long at such an insane volume that they’re worried she’s deathly ill (true story). Or it might take you 19 hours to get home due to weather delays and you find yourself with the flu by the end of the day – you could have a high fever and be breastfeeding your baby, throwing up, and crying on the plane simultaneously – with a 5- and 3-year-old in tow (yep – also a true story).
But more likely, all will be just fine!! :)
(I just told you all that so no matter what happens, you can hopefully tell yourself that at least it could have been worse!!!)
Just remember that even if things go awry (and they might!), you will still reach your final destination one way or another. Things might go perfectly for you, or your day could be a total debacle. I just chalk it up to parenting – surviving a flight with a baby (or young kids) is sometimes medal-earning material if you ask me. (We parents deserve a lot of medals!) But among the countless flights we’ve taken with our kiddos across an 11-year span, the huge majority of them have been relatively uneventful. Only a handful stand out in my mind now – it’s actually comical to think back to those low moments at this point. We have a few good stories to tell anyhow! And honestly, we often get compliments now about how our girls are such good, well-behaved travelers. So if nothing else, take comfort in knowing that calmer flights are ahead! :)
As you can tell in this post with tips to help keep your laundry from making you crazy, I like a system – and I like efficiency. So over time, I have continually revised my “flying with kids” system to help make the experience as painless as possible. In this post here, I’m focusing solely on babies (about 2 years of age and younger) because it felt like too much information to share otherwise. At some point, I’ll write another post with all my tips for flying with older kids. In the meantime, feel free to leave any questions for me in the comments below! :)
Good luck! And safe travels!
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Taking (or Considering) a Disney Cruise?
Don’t miss this post filled with all my best tips for cruising with Disney! Or click on the photo below to read all about it, including more travel tips and the how-to for easy DIY costumes for Pirate Night!
Booking Your Flight
1. Try to Fly in the Morning When Possible
Obviously price is the number one factor considered when booking a flight (especially with a family because those multiple tickets add up fast!), but if the prices are fairly comparable, try to fly at your baby’s best time of day if possible – usually in the morning. I would much rather wake my baby up at 5:00 am than take an evening flight.
There are also other benefits to flying in the morning: those seats are often cheaper anyhow (especially the really early flights); you’ll have shorter lines and less chaos in the airport at that time of day; and most of all, you’re much more likely to arrive at your destination on time and without delays – this is key when flying with kids. You want the travel time to be as short as possible. Typically, if you book a flight that leaves by 7:00 am, you’re most likely to arrive at your destination on time (source). Our family usually aims to fly out between 8:00-9:00 am, and we tend to have pretty good luck at that time of day.
2. Typically Don’t Buy a Seat for Baby
We usually don’t buy a seat for our baby – definitely not before 18 months or so, and usually not until we’re forced to (that’s a lot of money you can save!). Sometimes it can be a tight squeeze in your seat as your baby gets older, though. A few times we have purchased seats for our almost-two-year-old when the flights have been particularly long, but then it always kills me if we get on the plane and discover an empty seat next to us that we could have used free of charge – ugh!
If you can afford it, though, and your flight is longer than five hours or so, you may want to consider getting a seat and bringing your carseat on the plane. You’ll be golden if you can get your little one to sleep in there! And obviously your child is safer when buckled in, too. But keep in mind that you may buy a seat and then end up holding your baby most of the time anyhow – especially if he/she is fussy.
Disclaimer: Obviously it is safer for your baby when he/she is strapped into a carseat that’s secured on the airplane seat. Turbulence could strike at any time, and you might not be able to hold on to your baby. Yet the FAA continues to allow an “infant in arms” because oftentimes people would choose to drive if they were forced to buy a seat for their baby – they might not be able to afford it otherwise. And statistically, a child is more likely to be injured in a car than when held in a parent’s arms on a plane (source). Secondly, you can pull over to feed your baby when driving, but you can’t stop a 4-hour flight – and your baby needs to eat. A nursing mother needs to hold her child. But there is clearly risk that you take on when you hold your baby on an airplane. Is a baby safer when secured in a carseat? Absolutely. But that isn’t always realistic for hours and hours on end. This is a risk we knew and understood when we chose to forego a seat for our baby on a plane – you need to be aware of the same risk.
3. Choose Aisle & Window Seats
If you and another person are flying with your baby, and your baby will be an “infant in arms” (meaning you’re not buying a seat), choose an aisle and a window seat – leaving the middle seat open. Those are the last seats taken – nobody wants a middle seat. So if your flight isn’t full, there’s a very good chance that your middle seat will remain empty, therefore giving you more space to spread out. And if someone does end up in that middle seat? One of you can slide over – your seat neighbor will be thrilled to move to either the aisle or the window!
4. Avoid Back Row, in Front of Exit Rows, & Front Row
When choosing your seats, avoid the very last row. Some planes are configured in a way where the back row can’t recline. So if the person sitting in front of you tips his/her seat all the way back, you will feel trapped with a baby in your lap and nowhere to back up. (And those people are usually oblivious – I have had to ask people to inch their seat up a bit in that instance because I was feeling so claustrophobic!)
The same goes for the seats in front of an exit row – avoid those. For safety reasons, the seats in front of an exit row don’t recline, because in an emergency, you want a clear path out of the plane. So if you’re seated in front of an exit row, and your neighbors in front of you recline their seats at full-throttle (which I happen to think is rude if they do this without a care in the world when they know you have a baby in your lap, but that’s another story!), you will be stuck. You can’t back up, and suddenly you and your baby are sandwiched in a very tight space – this can be awful for hours on end.
Finally, avoid the front row. With no seats in front of you, there’s no good place to tuck your carry-on items. You will likely need to store them up above you. Trust me, we moms need access to burp cloths, blankets, toys, snacks, etc. during the flight. You definitely need your arsenal within arm’s reach!
5. Choose a Window Seat if Alone
I always sit by the window with my baby. You will find that you have much more privacy against the wall if you’re breastfeeding. If your baby falls asleep, you also won’t have anyone trying to crawl over you both to use the restroom. And you can use the window to help distract an older baby, too.
Side note: Keep in mind that all my girls hit a “fear stage” around age 2, however – it was like they finally grasped that they were up in the air on a plane, and it scared them. During that short stage, we had to keep the shades down – particularly on takeoff and landing (unless the flight attendant said they had to be up) – because they would get really worked up if they could see where they were.
6. Stroller Advice – What to Bring
When my babies were still in an infant carrier, I swore by using a cart stroller like this (it’s compatible with various infant carriers – be sure yours will fit or keep searching for a model that will work for you. If you have twins, find a double version here. If you’re looking to buy an infant carrier/snap-in stroller as a set, you can find that here). I would load up the bottom with all our gear, and the infant carrier just snapped right on top. It was also lightweight and fairly compact which made it easy to travel with – and it could fit through the security conveyor belt without any problems.
If I would be pushing my stroller a lot on a beach, though, or running/walking for exercise while on vacation, I would fly with my Bob Revolution stroller – love my Bob!!! (They also carry them at REI and at Target online if you want to compare prices.) This can’t fit through security (on the belt), but they can hand-check it for you, and you can still check it at the gate, so no worries there. If your baby is still in an infant carrier, please know that you also need an adapter so the carseat can snap into the stroller. (Make sure you get the right adapter to fit your carseat – there are different styles!!) These Bob strollers are absolutely awesome! They are bigger to travel with, though – I usually have to pop the wheels off to get them to fit in the car with all our luggage.
For an older baby who has grown out of an infant carrier, I typically fly with my MacLaren umbrella stroller (I have the Triumph, but when I was looking to find a link for you, I couldn’t find that model – perhaps they have stopped making it. This link takes you to something very similar. Here is another model, too.) A MacLaren can steer like nobody’s business, and even though they’re compact and lightweight, they’re really sturdy – so they hold up well during travel. I also love them because they have sun visors to help block the rays that are so often prevalent on vacation! I’ve had two MacLarens over the course of 11 years – they are THE BEST! I still use mine all the time for my 2-year-old. They hold up a very long time, even with all the wear and tear flying can bring!
7. Leave Infant Carrier Base at Home if Possible
We used to check the base for our carseat when we checked our luggage – it was just one more thing to (awkwardly) carry! I didn’t realize until we were on baby #3 that our carseat didn’t NEED the base to secure our infant carrier (although it does make things a lot easier)! But we could surely get by for a week or so like the picture below shows – we could simply put the seatbelt over the top of our infant carrier!
Be sure your carseat is made to be used like this, however! Check your instruction book – models are all different. We’ve had this infant carrier since our first daughter was born, so perhaps they don’t allow for this configuration with newer models – I’m not sure.
We also love to use a Mighty Tite – it’s amazing how you just crank that little thing and it tightens the seat right up. You use it with a regular seatbelt, so there is no concern over what a rental car’s set-up might be like when you get there. (We’re old school – we still use the Mighty Tite for our youngest. We have never secured any of our carseats with the latch system. It wasn’t available in our car when we started out as parents, so we just kept using the Mighty Tite since it’s what we know. When you’re using a base with your infant carrier or securing your larger carseat, the Mighty Tite will keep the seat completely stable – it literally won’t move AT ALL. And you aren’t straining yourself to tighten it.)
Disclaimer: To reiterate, be sure you read the instructions that came with your infant carrier. You would never want to secure your baby in a way that isn’t approved by the manufacturer. Safety first!
8. Pack in One Bag (50 Pounds or Less) & Check It
I very rarely try to keep my luggage with me when I’m traveling with a baby. You already have enough to deal with, so even if it means I have to wait for a bit on the other end for my bag, it’s worth it to me. Usually I’m waiting for my stroller at the gate and stopping off to change a diaper anyhow – so by the time I get down to baggage claim, the luggage is often coming around already… no time lost if I’m lucky!
Keep in mind that most airlines will charge a fee to check your bag, and you will be charged another fee if your bag is overweight (usually 50 pounds). If I’m traveling alone with my baby, I always travel with a single suitcase (that’s just shy of 50 pounds most of the time). That way I pull the suitcase behind me, and I push the stroller in front of me when I go to/from the parking garage. If you’re pushing your stroller with one hand, it helps to use your forearm – that way there is equal pressure across the handle(s), and you’ll be able to push it straight.
In need of luggage? Find a huge selection with great deals here at Luggage Online. I am a bag fan of Briggs & Riley luggage myself – I know they will absolutely stand behind their products if you have any issues. With that said, we fly a lot, and we’ve yet to have a single broken zipper or problem with the pieces we have – it’s been 6 years now. I really like the interior configuration in luggage like this – as I explain in this post where I share a travel tip to use dry cleaning bags, we like to tuck dresses and even my husband’s suits inside our luggage rather than carry a hanging bag. Also, I love to use a rolling duffle like this for all my kids’ clothes – I can pack for all 3 of my older kids in here for a week!!
Side note: Airlines do not charge you a fee for checking special items like carseats and strollers. You can check those free of charge.
Tip: I use a luggage scale so I know what my bag weighs before I get to the airport – very handy to avoid an annoying extra charge when you get there, on top of your regular baggage fee! (This makes a great gift or stocking stuffer – the luggage scale shown below is even portable!)
9. Bring Copy of Birth Certificate
You will typically not be asked for proof of your baby’s age, but just in case, it’s not a bad idea to travel with a copy of your child’s birth certificate. If your child looks close to age 2 and you haven’t purchased a seat, you might be asked to prove that your child is under 2. Only one time have I had an airline give me a hard time about this – I was flying Southwest (and I love Southwest!) with a 10-week-old. Clearly my child was less than 2 (she was tiny!!), but the agent still made a huge deal about proving her age since I had no birth certificate with me – finally an annoyed manager signed off on it, telling the agent, “Clearly that baby is not 2 years old!” :)
10. Use a Backpack & Strap Everything Possible to Stroller
You will want your hands to be as accessible as possible. Use a backpack, use the storage area in your stroller to the fullest, and strap as much to your stroller as possible so that you’re not carrying it!
I love to travel with a backpack on my back, and then I bring a tote bag like this for the baby (I like the medium sized zip-up style). It’s so handy with all the pockets inside, and it just happens to sit perfectly between the handles of my Bob Stroller as shown below. It also straps well across both handles of my umbrella stroller (like this one), or the handles will stretch across the handle of my cart stroller, making it still easy to access. My girls all had bags like this as babies (perfect for the gym where I teach classes so the nursery staff knew which stuff was theirs!), and they still use them today. These tote bags are my go-to baby gift!!
11. If Nursing, Dress in Layers
Dress comfortably and in layers – especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. When nursing, I always wore a sports bra that I could easily slide up and down (not a nursing bra with hooks – those always drove me crazy). I especially like the type with removable cups – you can find some at Athleta, probably my favorite clothing store in the whole, wide world!
I would then wear a tank top of some kind with a zip-up shirt or an open sweater over it. (Again, you’ll find great options at Athleta for casual, comfortable and yet stylish everyday wear – love their stuff!) That way I could pull the tank up, but I was still covered on the sides by the top shirt that was open so the person next to me couldn’t see anything. I used a nursing cover like this at times (find another nursing cover here), although sometimes the baby and I would both get too hot under that on a tight plane! If so, I would just use her body to hide me and then drape a light blanket across the spot where she was latched on.
12. Avoid Earrings and Necklaces
I’ve learned this the hard way – avoid necklaces and earrings that dangle at all. Your child will be in your lap for hours, so he/she will grab at anything that is eye-catching. Earrings and necklaces are at the top of that list! You don’t want any broken necklaces or (worse) – ripped earlobes!! If you have long hair, you may also feel better with it pulled back, out of the way.
13. Wear Easy On/Off Shoes
When you go through security, you will have a lot to handle while holding your baby, collapsing your stroller, and so on. Wear shoes that go on and off easily. (By the way, kids 12 and under can now leave their shoes on through security – yay!)
I absolutely love Skechers like this, and I wear them almost every time I fly with my kids – super comfortable, and easy on/off with no hands. Reef also carries tons of great slip-on shoes (find their selection here), and they make the most comfortable, long-lasting flip-flops ever. If I’m not wearing Skechers on a plane, I’m probably wearing Reef flip-flops! I swear by both of those brands.
14. Bring a Change of Clothes for Baby & You
Spills, blow-out diapers, and spit-up stains are likely when traveling with a baby. Definitely pack an extra outfit or two for the baby, and it never hurts to have at least a back-up shirt for yourself, too. Keep in mind that some planes are freezing (even in the summer), and other times it’s unbearably hot. It’s always a good idea to dress your baby and yourself in layers.
15. Snacks/Food– Apple for Teethers
A hungry baby is a cranky baby – and the same goes for us moms! If you are breastfeeding, you will be even hungrier – the tiny bags of peanuts and pretzels offered probably won’t cut it (and sometimes you don’t even get that!). Always pack snacks for you and the baby! For a newborn, don’t forget a bottle and formula unless you’re nursing. And remember that there is always the chance for delays – you could be traveling for much longer than you anticipate, so bring extra.
For a baby who is just cutting teeth, I have found an apple to be a wonderful distraction! I would put my baby in my lap, facing away from me, and hold the apple in front of her (I would get it started, so the peel was gone). She would sit and gnaw on it for the longest time – it often bought me 30 minutes or longer! It’s all about filling time up there in the sky!
Tip: Bring a bib if you try the apple trick – your baby might end up with apple juice stains all down his/her front otherwise! Bibs like this are the best ever – my oldest daughter got one like this almost 12 years ago, and it lasted through all 4 babies! It was always my favorite bib!
Disclaimer: Obviously your baby could somehow manage to bite a chunk of apple that could be a choking hazard. I have never had any scares or close calls – my babies always just scraped their tiny teeth on the apple (with no skin) – but please know there is some risk you take on if you try this suggestion!
16. Bring a Water Bottle for Yourself
I never, ever order a drink on a plane when I’m flying with kids. They will surely spill it. Bring a water bottle and just ask for it to be filled up. (I always fill up my bottle in the airport after I go through security. If you need water for your baby’s formula, you should not be questioned for bringing water through security. And remember that nursing mothers are always really thirsty, so stay hydrated!)
These are my favorite water bottles! It’s actually a hot/cold thermos, so it keeps the water cold all day long – even in my scorching hot car here in the South during the summer months!! I also love how it pours – you can actually “drink” this way rather than having to slurp! :)
17. Enter “Family” Line at Security or Ask
There is usually a special (shorter) line at security for families traveling with young kids. If you don’t see it marked this way, and the regular line looks painfully long, just ask if you can go ahead. A few times when there wasn’t a line marked for families and we haven’t seen anyone to ask, we have innocently entered the “special line” (unless it was clear we should do otherwise). When we got up to the front of that line, we’d simply tell them that we weren’t sure if that line was for people traveling with small kids, too, and they always just nodded and let us go ahead. So take advantage of that small perk while it lasts!
18. Wear Baby in Baby Bjorn (or Similar) Through Security
Even though you have to take off your shoes, belt, etc. when you go through security, you can actually wear your baby in a Baby Bjorn without removing him/her! (Find another model of a Baby Bjorn here – there are different styles, and they are priced differently as well.) This makes life so much easier when you are trying to collapse your stroller and put everything on the conveyor belt. I have only used a Baby Bjorn (love it!), but I’m sure a similar carrier or sling would be acceptable, too. Some airports may give you a hard time about this, but in all my years of flying with kids, I have never once been asked to take the Baby Bjorn off. I just walked right through with the baby still strapped to me.
This method also allows you to load up the stroller even more with bags so there’s less to carry. So until my babies were about 10 months old (or heavy enough where it was awkward to walk with them for too long like this), I always had them in the Baby Bjorn in an airport.
In the picture below, you can see that I’m armed and ready for just about anything! (This picture was taken when I was traveling with all 4 of my kids by myself – hence, their carry-ons in the stroller! That’s not all for me and this little cutie you see here! I’m all about packing as light as possible…)
19. Liquids for Baby are Fine Through Security
While you can’t bring liquids of 3.4 ounces or greater through security, there is an exception made when traveling with a baby. Liquid formula and/or water needed to mix with powdered formula is fine.
Side note: I have also traveled by myself a few (wonderful!) times without my babies when I was a nursing mother – so I had to pump while I was gone. I didn’t have any trouble bringing the breastmilk back with me through security – I had it packed in plastic bags with ice packs in a small carry-on cooler bag. But it might not hurt to check with your airline about this before flying.
20. Get on Last Unless Baby is Almost Asleep
They always tell families traveling with small children that they can get on the plane in the first wave to get settled. While my husband gets anxious to get on the plane early, I am the opposite. I like to get on dead last. I figure that it’s just more time for all of us to be confined and for me to be stressing about keeping the baby quiet. And since I never have a suitcase that needs to go above my head (I check my bags), I don’t have to worry about finding space for that.
The only time I liked to get on early was when my baby was clearly tired (and hungry). I would get settled, start feeding the baby, and she was often asleep before we even pushed back from the gate. That was always awesome – with a newborn, sometimes she would even stay asleep until we landed!! Those were the best flights ever. :)
21. Young Baby: Gate Check Stroller & Infant Carrier
If you have a baby who is still in an infant carrier, I would check that and your stroller at the gate if you have the type of stroller where the carseat snaps into the stroller. As I said above, I like to travel with a cart stroller like this. If I will be on the beach or exercising a lot, I will bring my Bob Revolution stroller. (They also carry them at REI and at Target online if you want to compare prices – don’t forget an adapter that fits your infant carrier!)
They will take these things from you at the end of the jet-bridge (or if you need to go outside, they will take these things from you right next to the plane). They will then give everything back to you when you land – and in the same place that you left it (typically).
If your infant carrier doesn’t snap into your stroller, I would check it through so you aren’t dealing with it – unless you bought a seat for your child, that is, and you want to try to secure your baby in it during flight. Make sure you label your carseat with your name and address if you check it! They will probably put the stroller in a large plastic bag to help protect it – but you can ask for that if they don’t do it automatically (although the bags aren’t always available).
22. Older Baby: Check Carseat Through & Gate Check Stroller
If your baby has grown out of the infant carrier and is in a regular carseat (I love Britax – that’s what we’ve always had!), I would check that through unless you want to use it on the plane if you bought your baby a seat. We have a travel carseat cover like this that we use when we travel. It’s so handy, and the backpack style makes the carseat so much easier to carry to and from the parking garage (we rarely do curbside check-in). This style here even has wheels!! If you’re going to travel a lot by plane, I would definitely recommend getting a bag like this for your carseat. (We think they charge you too much for a carseat at a car rental place, so we always bring ours.) The carseat bag also protects the carseat when it’s being tossed around with luggage in the belly of the plane. If you don’t have a travel bag, you can ask the airline to tuck your carseat inside a large plastic bag to help protect it – those are usually available. (Be sure your contact information is on your carseat in case it’s lost!)
I would then use my umbrella stroller like this (or use my Bob stroller if I needed the jogger on vacation), and check the stroller at the gate. (You need to get a tag at the gate for your stroller – even if you switch planes, they may require you to get a new tag for the second leg of your flight.)
23. Small Planes: Ask About Oxygen Masks Before You Sit
If you’re flying on a small plane (being from northern Minnesota, we fly on a lot of small planes to get all the way up there!), keep this in mind before you get completely settled with your baby: Some small planes do not have an extra oxygen mask (for a lap child) on both sides of the plane. We have been asked to move on occasion because if there was an emergency, an oxygen mask wouldn’t drop for the baby. So if your plane is a “puddle jumper”, perhaps you want to ask the flight attendant about oxygen masks when you board – just in case. That might save you from getting organized, only to be told you need to move and get organized all over again.
Tips While Flying
24. Feed Baby on the Way Up and Down
As the air pressure changes during takeoff and landing, we adults have learned to swallow a lot to keep our ears clear. Help your baby stay more comfortable by feeding him/her both on the way up and the way down (unless asleep). Even with my older kids, I usually encourage them to sip from their water bottles.
25. Books, Videos, Toys, etc.
Come prepared! For a newborn, expect a lot of sleeping – but even for a baby as young as 3 months, you might want some ways to help distract him/her. There are apps and videos now that we can use on our phones and iPads, but also bring a favorite toy or two – maybe something with a few sounds (but not too annoying for those around you!). I love toys like this that can hook on to my bag so they aren’t lost while traveling – or taking up precious space in my bag. Books are great, too – babies love books like this with different things to feel. If your baby is teething, you might want a toy that’s perfect for gnawing (or as I said above, I have let my teething baby gnaw on an apple without skin – read more in #15, including my disclaimer for this tip).
I know some parents are against any TV/video before a certain age, but I’m going to be honest – it’s been a lifesaver for me over the years. Starting at 3 months, the Baby Einstein videos were like magic!! (Baby Mozart is the best for really young babies, in my opinion). I have given the videos as gifts many times. With my oldest, those videos were the only thing that would surely calm her down when she was going crazy – truly, it was like a miracle! And for a baby as fussy as she was, I could buy 30 minutes to make dinner, take a shower, etc. while she happily sat in the bouncy seat and watched some toys move around on the screen! :) It helped this new mom stay sane (for the most part!) at the time! So those videos definitely came with us for every plane flight with a baby, too!! (Starting around 9 months, Baby Neptune became a favorite.)
Side note: If you’re wondering, my oldest watched those videos ALL THE TIME – she’s now 11 – and she is bright beyond her years. So it definitely didn’t affect her development if you’re worried about that!
26. Use the Power of Distraction
When you run out of things in your bag, you’d be amazed by what can calm your baby down if you get creative with your surroundings. Turning the air on above us and lifting the baby up and down to the feel the “wind” has diverted a crisis many times. So has turning the overhead light on and off – and opening and closing the window shade while talking in my best singsong voice: “Uppppppp! Doooooown!” You can also fan your baby to create wind by using the laminated emergency card in the seat pocket. Anything goes when you are desperate to calm your baby down in tight quarters, surrounded by strangers – don’t be afraid to look ridiculous!
27. Older Baby: Avoid Going Up/Down Aisle
If your baby can walk, I would highly discourage going up and down the aisle with your child. I know it’s tempting when your little one just wants to MOVE, but I would recommend teaching them that you’re expected to SIT on a plane. Not only is it safer, but you won’t drive your fellow passengers crazy – or the crew who may very well be trying to provide a snack/beverage service from the aisle.
This rule will help you out down the line, too. Kids are smart, so if they know you let them get up last time, they’re going to want to get up next time, too – and pretty soon you have a huge problem and an extra stubborn traveler on your hands. I have even gone so far as to hit the “assistance” button – when the flight attendant comes back to check on us, I have him/her back me up – “The pilot says we have to stay in our seat, right???” (When my kids graduate to having their own seats, I also use this flight attendant strategy when they have to first start using the seatbelts – “The pilot says everyone has to keep their seat belt buckled, right??“) :)
28. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You don’t need to be SuperMom – especially if you’re flying by yourself. I am never one to shy away from asking for help from my fellow passengers. Usually people are more than happy to help you – they may even enjoy it! Need to use the restroom? Hand your baby to the friendly stranger next to you! I flew cross-country solo with my 10-week-old once, and I had the two men next to me chipping in like proud dads and talking in babytalk by the time we arrived!
Think of it this way – you are isolated on a plane 30,000 feet up – it’s not like that person can steal your child! One time my baby was going crazy, and I was alone – a flight attendant offered to take her back to her seat to give me a break. At first I resisted, but she pressed on gently – said she missed when her kids were little. So I reluctantly handed this woman my baby, and I let myself close my eyes. She managed to get my little one to sleep, and the flight attendant said she loved every bit of feeling that baby in her arms for an hour or so. It worked out great for both of us!
29. Be Prepared to Wing It
When you are flying with a baby, you need to be able to roll with whatever comes your way and not worry about judgment. I have flown on small planes with no changing table in the restroom – so where do I change the baby? On the floor right behind the cockpit! (Trust me, your fellow passengers would rather see a quick glimpse of that rather than smell that diaper for hours!) If your baby spits up on your neighbor? There’s not much you can do except apologize profusely. If the screaming is loud and incessant no matter what you do? Just keep trying and remind yourself that you’re probably never going to see these people again anyhow. Disregard their annoyed glances. Clearly they have forgotten what it’s like to have an uncooperative baby in their arms!
My only exception to the “disregard” rule – if you are letting your child bang on your tray table that is down (which shakes the seat in front of you) or your little one is kicking someone’s seat constantly, that is not okay. I know kids are going to do these things at times, but you need to at least try to discourage the behavior. Not much makes me more irritated than when a child is whacking my seat over and over, and the parent realizes this – but doesn’t care. At least try, people! I will forgive and understand all banging/kicking if there is at least some effort made to curb it – and I bet others feel the same way.
30. Have a Sense of Humor
Finally, have a sense of humor. When my cousin and his wife flew with their fussy baby for the first time, they passed out earplugs to everyone nearby as soon as they got on the plane. They apologized for any noise in advance, and they made light of the situation – which had their neighbors chuckling. (Wouldn’t you know that the baby then slept the entire flight!) I always give people around me my best entertaining “Help!” look when all is going awry – like, “Just be glad you’re not me right now…” The more stressed out you are, the worse things get – for everyone.
It will be over before you know it anyhow – so hang in there, and always pack your smile! :) And if you’re lucky, your experience might even look something like this below… wouldn’t that be nice?
Park on the Highest Level
We always park on the highest level of our parking garage (where it’s still covered). There are fewer cars up there which means we can park closer to the elevator. People at airports are often running late, and they’re usually driving too quickly as they frantically search for a parking place. But if you’re up higher, there is less traffic – and you’ll have a shorter distance to walk among the cars since you’re near the elevator anyhow. Another bonus: if you park in the same general area each time, it helps you remember where your car is when you return!
Store Parking Ticket in Sun Visor
Never lose your parking ticket for the garage again – tuck it up in your sun visor!
At our local airport (RDU), they always say to keep your ticket with you – and pay at the little machine on the first level of the parking garage. But that isn’t necessary – you can just as easily pay as you’re driving out. As you’re pulling through the gate, you simply enter your ticket and your credit card. You’re so much more likely to lose your parking ticket if you keep it with you – so leave it in the car and pay as you’re leaving!
Use Family Bathrooms or Wait for Largest Stall
There are family bathrooms in most airports now – those are perfect for strollers and keeping your kids together. But if one of those bathrooms isn’t available or the line is too long, just wait for the largest stall in the regular bathroom. The oversize stalls are meant for those who are in wheelchairs, but they’re also intended for parents who have a stroller that won’t fit in the small stalls. Sometimes they even have changing tables in those stalls.
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As a new mom ready to travel with a 3 mo old for the first time, this is the BEST list of tips i have found on the internet!!!!
Thank you sooooo much for posting this, i will follow your tips from beginning to finish! hahaha!
Oh good, Ellie! I’m glad you thought it was helpful. I remember being really nervous/stressed as a new mom flying with a baby the first few times, so I hope these tips help calm your nerves a bit! :) Best of luck! Three months is typically a great age to travel – they still sleep a ton then!
I was wondering about some tips for flying with a 5yr old and a 3 almost 4 yr old. It will be their first time flying. What are some good things for them to do. Our flight is only about 2 1/2-3 hrs. From north carolina to houston tx.
Hi Keri! For that age, I usually don’t let them have their own carry-on because I end up carrying it for them anyhow! (Or if they have one, it’s very small/light in case it ends up with me! And it’s always a backpack.) I also bring each of them a small water bottle, and we fill them up after we get through security. (I never let them get a drink on the plane because it always spills.) As for things to do for that age – I usually have crayons and a coloring book, 3 books to read, a favorite stuffed animal or two (you can play games with it, and it comforts them), and then something electronic. (I try to have variety without overpacking.) We always used a travel DVD player – 2 headphones could hook into the same one, so they could share. And of course these days there is so much you can do with an iPad or iPhone! I have a bunch of kids’ apps on my phone, and airplanes are the one place they always get to play with Mommy’s phone! Snacks are key, too – you can often distract with food! :) I let them have gum on planes, as well (that’s a rare treat), so that helps them keep swallowing to ease discomfort in their ears with pressure changes, and they’re also happy to have the special treat! We play a lot of games up in the air, too – things like “I Spy” or make up a story together (I say a sentence, and then they go next, etc.) When they get bored of something, I just go on to the next thing! (Electronics are always my last resort – I try to occupy them with other things first.) It also helps to discuss where they are sitting before you get on the plane – we have had to deal with arguments on board before over who has the window, who is sitting by whom, etc. so if it’s discussed before we board, that helps. If there is arguing, we promise that on the way back, we will reorganize so they each get turns sitting where they want to. Let me know if you have any more specific questions – I could probably type all day about this! :) Good luck! (By the way, we’re in NC too!) :)
This is a great list! I wanted to add that Southwest (which I also normally love) demanded proof of age for my two-month-old on a return trip once. They’d asked for it on our outbound flight, but then they’d taken one look at him and said not to worry about it — on our flight home, though, they swore to us it was FAA requirement and wouldn’t issue a boarding pass without it. They had me call my pediatrician, who faxed the Southwest ticket counter a copy of medical records with his birthdate on it. It was a Monday morning, so the office was open! But I was FAR from home, so I really thought I was in trouble. I’m glad to know that, in your case, a manager could override that requirement. I guess that’s what they’ have done if I couldn’t contact our doctor.
Thanks again! This was a fantastic post!
Oh my gosh – that’s crazy! Glad it worked out! Sounds like if you’re flying Southwest, the bottom line is that you definitely need proof of age! I remember when they were giving me a hard time, they asked if I had anything with a birthdate on it – on prescription medicine, for example. They told me one time they accepted the baby’s birthdate tattooed on Dad’s arm!! LOL! Anyhow, thanks for the info – good to know the same thing happened to you, so they must just be really strict with that policy. Take care and thanks for stopping by my blog! :)
Have you used the flye baby before (it’s like a sling/hammock style infant seat you can have on your lap that attaches to the upright tray table in front of you)? It’s $50 and I’m wondering if it’s worth the price considering my infant likes being held but sometimes doesn’t like being too close if she’s upright facing her head toward my shoulder as she tends to arch herself backward.
Hi Cierra! I’m not familiar with that, and I’ve never seen anyone else using it on a plane – so no help there. Sorry! Sounds like a neat option, though!
Hi HH, I really enjoy your blog! We are flying with our 8.5 month old son from Vancouver to Toronto for our first flight with him. I really appreciate your tips! I really have no idea what to expect, I’m mostly just hoping he doesn’t have a major poop event or cry the entire flight. He’s a pretty sociable boy so I’m sure he’ll charm most people :)
I hope the flight goes well – that’s a long one!! Good luck! I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver – maybe someday! :)
Thank you so much for the tips! We are off to Hawaii with a 3 month old next week and I have such anxiety! Any tips for tiny babies and long car rides?
So glad I found this post! I’ll be travelling with my 16 month old for the first time next month and these tips and tricks are so helpful to me and also eased a lot of my fears! Whew! I’m new to the blog but this definitely won’t be my last time visiting!
With love from the Bahamas!
Where was this list a few years ago??! Sadly, I had to learn many of these the hard way.. haha. Great list, thanks for all the tips, some were new to me!
Thanks so much for these tips!! I’m flying from Vancouver to Boston with my 6 month old baby in November and found these really helpful! We’ve just finished breastfeeding and are now full time with formula and I’m just curious about getting through security with the water for bottles. Should the water be in an unopened bottle of water? Or is it ok to have the baby bottles prepared with the right amount of water already? Thanks, again!
My husband and I are planning on flying home to the states soon and I’ve been freaking out about flying with our will be 4 month old (especially it being an international flight). These tips are making me feel so much better about the trip!
If the line is long, the open spaces in the airport can be a good place to let the kids run a little while one parent waits in line to check the bags. Remember to stay close in case the gate agent needs to see each of the passengers or check id.
I love this list. It is very thorough.
I have been flying with my two kids ever since they were 3yo, and 1mo.
The only thing I do differently is I prefer to fly in the evening with my kids. I live in Indy and the airport in the morning is super packed. Takes over 2 hours to get through to the gate even without kids.
I use to always fly in the morning and, only by having no other option, one time has to take an evening flight. There were only a handful of others going though security, and we were able to make it from check-in to our gate in less than 45 min. I now always choose evening flights (departing around 8pm). That way we get to the airport around 6pm giving us more than enought time to get to our gate in time.
Most of the time because I allow for 2hrs to get through the airport we end up with over 45 min of waiting time at the gate befor they start boarding the plane. Luckily most of the surrounding gates are empty, because of the time of day, and we use that space to let the kids run around and burn off some energy before being confined to their seat in the plane.
Once on the plane my kids will eat a snack with the drink provided (I always carry a sippy for each kid), and then they will sleep.
I always arrive 2hrs before departure, even though I hardly ever need i. One time it took over 45min to get checked-in because of having an infant in lap, and for some reason it wasn’t applied to my ticket when I had booked the flights.
Also, strollers need to be under 20lbs (for all the carriers I have flown with, check with your carrier before you arrive to check-in to be sure) if you plan to check them at the gate. I had a “lightweight” stroller that was just under 22lbs and had to check it with my baggage, leaving me with an infant in carrier, a 3yo, a dog in carrier (that I was carrying on the plane), My carry-on, my daughters carry-on, and a diaper bag to get through security and the airport… By. My. Self.
We made it, and I immediately got a massage upon arrival to our destination.
Thanks for all of the helpful tips! My husband is in the Air Force, and we just received our first orders…..AVIANO, ITALY. My husband just arrived a week ago, while me and my 4 month old well make our journey in 2 weeks ALONE.My son will have his own seat. I am a first time mom, and this is my first flight with my son. I have tried to plan and prepare A LOT. i have already planned to wear my Baby-Bjorn, while carrying the snap-n-go stroller along with his infant seat. i had originally planned on putting the infant seat in his seat on the plane, because he normally enjoys sitting/sleeping in the seat, but now I’m wondering if the extra space will be better without the seat so he can stretch out. Which one do you prefer? Also we had to ship our stuff over a month prior to our flight, and we will be in Italy for a month before our belongings arrive, this means i have a lot of bags. I am carrying the max amount of check-in bags (4), and will also have to carry a lot of carry-ons so i am able to get our stuff there. It will be a 31 hour trip, with an 8 hour layover. I also will have to retrieve my bags at luggage claim at my 2nd layover to swap to International Military flight. I am stressing, and need any advice that can be sent my way. I have only flown 3 times in my lifetime, so i am not experienced at all.
Hi Mallory! Sounds like you have a lot to manage these days! If you are flying overseas, I would probably suggest getting your son his own seat for the infant carrier to make life easier – especially if the Air Force pays for your flights?? I would bet at his age you could get him to sleep in there – even if you fed him and then slid him in and buckled him. That would give you some time to read/sleep yourself. Honestly, it may be a long 31 hours, but it might also go much better than you expect! Four months is actually a pretty good age because he’s likely to sleep a lot. I think you might be surprised by how well it goes. But I would prepare to be “on” and just expect the worst, and then anything else will feel like an improvement! :) Just look at it like an adventure, a story to tell one day, and take it as it comes. You are earning your Mom Stripes, that’s for sure! Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck!!
Hi, a lot of great info here. I’ll be traveling this summer with my almost 3 year old and will be using some of these tips. But I’m not sure your aware that those Mighty Tite things are not at all recommended. You said that it keeps your seats from moving at all, but I was taught that they were supposed to move an inch to keep the seat belt from snapping in an accident (Told to me by a fireman when I had a car accident with my then 3 month old). Also the picture shows your child’s chest clip is too low, should be at armpit height for maximum safety.
Hi Sarah! Thanks for the great info! Before I had my first daughter 12 years ago, I was told by a fireman that her seat shouldn’t move AT ALL when we took it in for a safety check. Perhaps safety information has changed since then, or he was never correct in the first place! Thanks for clarifying! And yes, those chest clips always seem to slide around. Thanks for the reminder to all of us to make sure it’s pushed up. Take care and thanks for stopping by my blog!
Awesome tips! I’m a mom of a 2 1/2 yr old and 4 yr old and we have travelled a lot with the kids. Couldn’t agree more about the early flights. It’s much easier to put them to bed early the night before and wake up early than be stranded on a plane with an over tired 2 yr old! One tip that I suggest is bringing some hard suckers (age appropriate of course so they don’t choke.) Trader Joes makes some all natural ones. It helps relieve the pressure in their ears and for younger infants who have never tasted one it provides an excellent distraction. We also use the Cares harness by Kids Fly Safe. It’s the only FAA approved harness for the plane. It turns the regular seatbelt into a car seat like harness. It has worked best for our kids when they were about 2-4 when they didn’t need a baby seat but the plane seatbelt wouldn’t stay on or keep them still. It’s also very small and easy to bring with. Another tip is to look for kid play areas at the airport to allow them to run off some energy before getting on the plane. We also bring antibacterial wipes to clean the arm rests and tray tables since I doubt they get cleaned regularly!
Awesome tips, Kristina!! You know your stuff! :) Thanks for sharing! xo
encontre esta lista por casualidad en mi página de inicio. En marzo haré mi primer viaje en avión con mi hija de 6 años y mi bebe de 1 año. Gracias. Por compartir estos consejos me servirán demasiado, no tenía ni idea de q llevar ni de como manejaría la situación . Hasta ahora
This list is so helpful! I’ll be flying for the first time with my son, he’ll be 18 months by then, all by myself so I must admit I’m a little terrified. But this list made things seem less scary and easy to tackle. Thanks!
So it’s rude for me to recline my seat back on an airplane because you are traveling with your baby? Sorry, I disagree. You know how tight planes are and if you choose not to buy an extra seat for the child, it’s going to be even tighter – this is your choice, not mine.
Emily, I am simply pointing out that if someone reclines their seat and I can’t recline mine (because I am in the back row or in front of an emergency exit row), things will be extra tight for a parent with a child in his/her lap. So I’m encouraging parents to keep that in mind and avoid the back row and the rows in front of the emergency exits when possible. And yes, I guess if I know the person behind me can’t back up (whether they have a child in their lap or not), I choose not to recline my seat because I don’t want to make that person feel crowded. Just a choice I make personally.
It’s just common courtesy to be aware of your surroundings. If knowing that your comfort makes someone else and their baby very uncomfortable, that’s your prerogative.
So much great information here! Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll be traveling solo next month with my 10 month old daugtherf for the first time on a 4 hour flight!
My question is: where do I change her diaper? It’s been a long time since I’ve use a airplane restroom, but I don’t remember enough room to lay a baby down and change a diaper?!
Any guidance I truly appreciate!
Most planes have a changing table in the bathroom – it’s up over the toilet and you have to pull it down toward you. Definitely a tight squeeze to change a diaper!! On small planes, though, there may not be a changing table. During desperate times, I have gone to the front of the plane (there’s no first class on these tiny planes – nor is there an open area in the back of the plane), and I have changed diapers on the floor behind the cockpit, right by the door to exit the plane! You’re kind of hidden if you go near the door. Not ideal, but I figure it’s better than making the rest of the passengers smell that diaper for the duration of the flight – not to mention the diaper rash that could result if you choose not to change it! Most people are parents themselves and just laugh and shrug it off. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, I guess! (But hopefully you have a changing pad or a blanket you can lay down so the baby isn’t on the dirty floor!)
Any thoughts/preferences on where the baby sleeps upon arrival? Do you use the hotel’s crib/stroller? Bring the pack in play?
Tracey, if staying in a hotel, I have always used the hotel’s crib. They are usually really nice – or a pack-n-play just like I would have brought along myself. :)
I love this list! I’m getting ready to fly with my 22 month old, what are some of you recommendations for distractions as this age? He’ll be a lap baby and I’m nervous about having enough in my bag to keep him entertained. We have two 2-3 hour flights each way.
That is a busy age, but the power of distraction is a beautiful thing! I would try bringing a few books that are new; maybe some videos to watch on your phone or a portable CD player; show him how the air comes on above him, how the window shade goes up and down, let him look for “puppies” in the magazines (there are usually a bunch in the Sky Mall catalog!), etc. Snacks are also a great way to buy some time, so pack a bunch!! (Maybe even a sucker – I know, I know – as the daughter of a dentist, I know that’s not the best option for his little teeth, but sometimes we are desperate with small kids on a plane, and a sucker can keep a little one content for like 30 minutes sometimes!!) Also, you can just play games with him – peek-a-boo, pretend like a stuffed animal is talking to him, make faces, sing silly songs, etc. Hopefully he’ll fall asleep, too! If there’s a blanket or a toy that helps him get sleepy, definitely bring that on the plane! I would often have all kinds of stuff in my bag, but just making use of what’s around me ended up being the best distraction a lot of the time. The “barf bags” make great puppets – he can try coloring on them or bring stickers you can help him put all over it! Good luck!
Thank you so much for this helpful advice! I am a first time mom and I am flying with my 5 mo old son for the first time next month. A quick question–my son and I will have a 70 minute layover in Detroit both coming and going. Do you think it is wise to gate-check the stroller and infant seat with such a short layover? Any layover advice would be most appreciated!
Hi Mackenzie! There’s always a chance that you could be delayed, and you’d have to wait for your stuff at the gate, which could lead to you missing your flight. But 70 minutes is actually a lot of time for a layover. I have had 30 minute layovers before and been okay with my stuff gate-checked – but you never know! Sometimes the people working the gate even unload everything that’s gate-checked before they open the plane door. That way everyone just grabs their gear and goes. But other times we’ve had to wait a bit. I’d look at it this way, though – if I am trying to run to catch a connection, I’d rather be pushing my baby in a stroller than trying to run while carrying everything, including the baby! And as far as having a layover in Detroit, that’s a really nice airport! :) Good luck!
What an awesome list. Do you have any suggestions on how to let your toddlers (a 2 and 4 yo) sleep more comfortably on an airplane? I have a long international flight and I feel so uncomfortable sleeping in economy so I know my kids will absolutely hate it. I’ve seen inflatable air beds for cars. If it’s small enough am I allowed to bring that onto the plane?
Hi Cindy! I’m not sure about inflatable air beds. If it would hinder the ability to get out of the seat in case of emergency, I’m guessing they wouldn’t be allowed. But I can’t answer that for sure! I have always just brought my kid’s favorite blanket, and crossed my fingers! It’s kind of amazing how they will fall asleep if they are tired enough. I have pictures of my kids sleeping in so many funny positions on airplanes – my favorite is the one where my two-year-old is resting her face on her tray while holding a crayon. She fell asleep mid-color! Best of luck!! Glad this list was helpful to you!
Thank you so much for your list. I am going to be travelling by myself with my 9 month old in a few months. What are your thoughts on the stroller bags for gate check? Like http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=17199266&skuid=14621881 Someone suggested that the stroller be put in a bag because sometimes the baggage handlers put the strollers on their side or if the weather is nasty, this will keep it nice. Thoughts? Experiences with stroller at gate check. Thanks so much!
Hi Brandi! It certainly couldn’t hurt. My handles have definitely gotten beat up by being thrown around when flying. Although keep in mind that it can be really stressful when you are collapsing your stroller, managing your bags (while probably dropping things), and keeping an eye on your kids all at the same time as you are at the bottom of the jetway, trying to board. And typically people are feeling very impatient around you or even trying to sneak past you. Adding the step of needing to put your stroller in a bag may just put you over the edge. Along the same lines, you will have to do the reverse upon landing. If you’re ever on the verge of missing a flight, it could add some extra stress as you are pulling the stroller out of the bag and then figuring out what to do with the bag. So I guess I would ask you to think about how important it is to you to keep your stroller in good shape. If it’s an expensive stroller, it might very well be worth it to you because the bag would definitely help protect it (baggage handlers are most certainly focused on speed rather than being delicate!). But otherwise it might not be worth the extra step/stress… just my thoughts! Good luck!! :)
My friend sent me this article, as I’m working on a website with another friend of mine about traveling with babies. This is great advice!! I love the pic of you at the airport with all the call-outs! Once our site is fully ready (we’re still building it), I’d love to get in touch again and get your feedback!
I’m getting ready to travel with my 14 month old here soon. I’ve down quite a few times,but he never has. Do they allow babies to have a “carry on”? I’m trying to get the most out of any and all space that I can! :-)
Your baby would officially get a carry-on if he was a ticketed passenger (meaning that you bought him a seat). You would just be considered one passenger between the two of you otherwise if he’s a lap child. I try to pack as light as I can anyhow (which is hard to do with a baby!). It’s enough to keep track of your baby and your stuff as it is! :) But if you had a rolling piece of luggage that people often use as a carry-on and then an overflowing diaper bag of some kind, I’m sure you’d be fine! Good luck!
Thank you for this great list. I’m travelling between Iceland and Denmark next month, alone with my then 5 months old and I’ve been worrying a lot about it as a nervous first time mom :) This list eases my mind a lot and I will use these tips for sure so thank you again!!
Hi. I will be travelling for the 1st time with my 18 months old on international trip. First would be on small plane for 2 1/2 hours then from that, 17 hours on a bigger plane. My daughter drinks whole milk and wondering where can I get that inside the airport or in the plane? Thanks
Hi Karen! When needing liquids for a small child, you should be able to bring that with you through security. Perhaps you can pack it in a small insulated bag with some ice packs? Best of luck!!
Wow. This was so helpful. My baby will be 6 months old when we fly. This will be mine, my husband and my baby’s first time flying My husband is so scared of heights. I am nervous for him and my baby. I think I am most nervous about where to go in the airport and time. I’ve never done this and have no idea where to even begin. Any tips if all of us art first time flyers?
Wow, so exciting for all of you to share this experience! Just keep telling yourself that you are safer on an airplane than in a car! It can feel “scary” because you’re not the one in control, but try to relax and enjoy the experience as best you can! At the airport, I would recommend giving yourself extra time since you may be a bit anxious. And then just get down to your gate and enjoy the people watching! :) No better place to people watch than at the airport! :) It’s fun to watch the planes come and go, too. I hope you’re able to embrace the whole thing and make some memories! Best of luck! Feel free to message me privately over on my Facebook page here if you have more questions. Take care!
Great list, and great blog! I’m curious what you think about bringing a boppy pillow along… when I googled “traveling with a baby” earlier, another blogger had suggested it. Since you hadn’t mentioned it earlier, I’m assuming you don’t bring it. I’m trying to prep for my first solo flight with my 6mo. Lap child, nursing mom, Southwest flight. I was thinking it’d be nice to have the boppy so she can sleep on it, and I’m not trying to hold her the entire time. What do you think?
That sounds like a good idea for all the uses you listed, but it might get annoying to carry it. :( You’ll already have so much that you’re dealing with… (imagine being in the bathroom at the airport and trying to change diapers! The boppy may end up on the floor of the bathroom by mistake – yuck!) My friend literally couldn’t nurse without her pillow, though, so it went everywhere with her, including on vacation! :) My babies always just fell asleep in my lap after nursing. I could usually slide them down off my arm and onto my legs so I could move around a little bit. I actually loved every bit of that snuggle time! I would probably lean toward improvising and propping her up somehow with blankets, etc. rather than dealing with carrying the boppy around – although if you want it for use throughout the trip, then maybe bring it! Or jam it into your checked luggage if you can! Good luck!!
So happy to find this post! We are getting ready for our next flight to South America, this time with 5yr old and 1 yr old.
My advice – take a blanket – it might get cold or you might need it during long waiting at the airport. Put your carry on lugagge in front of you, use tots or bags that are easy to open. For younger babies and longer flghts you can order the bassinet (ask your airline), if it’s not available, the good carrier (we use mei tai) is life saver. To be honest, I would not use the baby bjorn, as they say only the parent-facing position is good for baby’s hips.
For older kids look for colouring sets – there are in the box, with popular character, include crayons, stickers etc.
Thanks for all the great tips! :)
Hi, I just want to ask if it is possible to review the links, as i couldn’t open any. I was super interested about strollers and carseats. also for purchasing a seat or not for my 4 months old. I checked online and some sites are charging the whole price as adult. Thats too much!
Thanks so much for the tips, coz really i was nervous travelling back home with my little one.
Hi there! Yes, I would imagine some of the links are outdated at this point since this is an older post – I’m so sorry about that! I’m just one person running my site, so it’s hard to keep up with creating new posts, let alone managing errors that pop up in old ones over time! I will try to get to that when I can. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any specific questions! Best of luck!
Hi! I love your comments. This is what I have done and my daughter does it now. I wrap a small gift from the dollar store. I would give it to my daughter right after we took off. And then when we got ready to land, I would give her another one.. Then on the return trip I would pick up something small again for the trip back.. She now does that with her kids. I also, have made learning books out of felt and put velcro on them.They can take them on and off. Such as shapes, and colors.You could make it as big or as small as you need to. I just take pieces of felt and hot glue them together. I either draw them on or cut them out of another piece of felt and glue velcro on both pieces. You could use numbers, or letters as well. It is a good quite game of learning. My daughter, has these now for her children.
I love these ideas so much, Wanda!! Thank you so much for sharing! :) Take care!
What a great post to stumble into as I’m preparing for our flight next week. Will be traveling with an 8 month old and a
4 yr old, all by myself. And I’m actually terrified! I am planning to just put my infant in an Ergobaby carrier, bring a backpack, check one luggage and use a toddler harness for my my 4 yr old to ensure she doesn’t run around and go missing! Is it a good plan? I am still nursing my 8month old too. Any more tips on how to keep them both distracted during the flight? I worry if my 4yr old needs to pee then it would be a squeeze in the toilet for the 3 of us or worse, she needs to go when we are required to be buckled in! ?
You will be fine!! Sounds like you have a good plan in place! I have had to deal with the “I have to go potty!” panic so many times. When you’re not allowed to get up, you just have to keep telling them that the pilot said we have to stay in our seats… that can be stressful, but there’s nothing else you can do! If you have to take the little one to the bathroom, it’s definitely hard to have the baby with you. You could carry the baby with you, and then ask a flight attendant to hold the baby while you’re in there. Or maybe you will have befriended someone in the seat next to you who would help you! I have had plenty of strangers hold my kids for those few minutes! After all – it’s not like they can go anywhere with your child when you’re 40,000 feet up! :) Good luck! No matter how it goes, you will feel like a superstar when you land! It’s like earning a Mom Badge of Honor when you fly solo with kids! Ha!
Wow,,,just wow. I can’t thank you enough for these tips. I found myself with wide open mouth in more than 2 tips. I just changed my seats lol. Thank you!!!
You are too funny – glad the tips helped! Good luck!! :)