Leaving on a Jet Plane with your Baby
Itsy Travel Tips on Successfully Flying with a Baby
Are you leaving on a Jet Plane with your little one? (BTW, if you didn’t instantly start singing, “Leaving on a jet plane” and envisioning Ben Affleck singing to Liv Tyler in Armageddon, then you may have just found your next ‘couch and chill’ movie). If so, this post can help make or break your overall experience. First and foremost, let me start by saying there is a reason babies fly for free under the age of two. Being a first-time mom, I was beyond anxious about flying with a baby. But just like everything else in life, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. By following my traveling tips below, I can reassure that you know you’ll back again, unlike the gang in Armageddon. (See what I did there).
Itsy Travel Tip #1: When Flying with a Baby Try to Book Flights That Work with their Schedule
This is easier said than done, but the flights where we could get our baby to take a little cat nap pre-flight have always worked out in our favor. We have even resorted to waking our daughter at 6 AM so we could fit in a nap beforehand. We left around her bedtime during our last flight, which made me so nervous, but ironically, it was the first time she slept the entire flight. You know your babies sleep schedule, so trying to book flights that work in your favor can be the key to flying with a baby.
Itsy Travel Tip #2: Consider Buying Your Child Their Own Seat
Ever since our daughter figured out she could sit, walk, and run all by herself; she started fighting us every time we needed her to sit on our laps. With that being said, we knew she wasn’t a good “lap baby.” When we travel, we bring her car seat and purchase her own seat. If you decide to go this route, do whatever you can to keep your baby busy in their car seat and avoid taking them out. As soon as we give our baby the option of getting up, it’s nearly impossible to get her back in.
Itsy Travel Tip #3: When Flying with a Baby Pick The Right Airline
Every Airline has different policies and accommodations for their passengers. When flying with a baby, do your research before booking your flights. Our favorite Airline is JetBlue because we can upgrade our seats for more foot room. Having extra space in front of our seats allows her to play, which eliminates some built-up energy. If you do not want to purchase your child a seat of their own, try to fly Southwest. Southwest has an open seating policy, and flight attendants will try to move passengers around to give families an extra seat in their row if possible. Ask the flight crew before boarding whether or not the plane is full.
Itsy Travel Tip #4: Let Your Baby Run Free in the Airport
When flying with a baby, avoid putting your child in their stroller or car seat at the airport. Instead, let them run around and make all the noise they want. Our baby puts on a show for everyone when we are waiting near our terminal. She runs around like a crazy lady and essentially tires herself out. She also never naps in her car seat, but she’s gone to sleep for at least 45 minutes every flight we have taken. If your baby isn’t a lap baby and does not have a seat of their own, you can let your child walk up and down the aisle if they are getting antsy. Just do your best to let them do this before or after flight attendants do their in-flight drink services. You can also try to let your little one play between your legs if the room allows you to do so.
Itsy Travel Tip #5: When Flying with a Baby Say Yes to Electronics
Before having a child of my own, I was one of those people who said, “My baby will never watch TV.” Let me tell you how fast that changed! Having an iPad is one of the biggest keys to our successful flying with a baby. I hold out for as long as possible and put on her favorite show as soon as she starts getting fussy. With that being said, make sure whatever electronics you bring are fully charged!
Itsy Travel Tip #6: Packs Lots of Snacks and a Bottle or Two
Snacks of any kind always seems to calm our baby. I bring all of her favorite snacks and lots of them. You can never have too many snacks when flying with a baby, and making them chew, take a bottle, or even suck on a pacifier will help prevent their ears from bothering them.
Itsy Travel Tip #7: Change Your Baby Right Before You Board
While waiting for our flight to board, I hold off as long as possible to give my baby a “pre-flight” diaper change. Nine out of the ten flights we’ve taken, she usually makes it through the whole flight without needing another change. However, on rare occasions, when she needs a fresh one, I bring only the essentials into the restroom. A diaper, paste, and wipes are all you need, and unlike many of our favorite restaurants, airplanes have a changing table. The last thing you want to do is take up the already limited amount of space with a big diaper bag.
Flying with a baby could go either way. Your baby may be great one trip and a terror the next. Do not allow this to discourage future travel. Just like you, your baby has good days and bad. The key for you is to stay relaxed and not get yourself worked up. It is easy for you to panic when your baby starts to fuss, but that will only add to your baby’s stress.