Leaving on a Jet Plane with your Baby
Itsy Tips on Successfully Traveling with Your Family
Are you leaving on a Jet Plane with your little one? (BTW, if you didn’t instantly started 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 extremely anxious about taking our little one on her first flight 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 unlike the gang in Armageddon, you know you’ll back again. (See what I did there).
Itsy Tip #1: Try to Book Flights That Work with Your Baby’s Schedule
This is obviously easier said than done, but the flights where we were able to 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 6AM so we could fit in a nap beforehand. During our last flight, we left around her bedtime which made me extremely 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 a successful flight.
Itsy 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 toddler.” When we travel, our baby gets her own sit. If you decide to go this route, do whatever you can to keep your baby busy in their carseat 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 Tip #3: Pick The Right Airline
Every Airline has different policies and accommodations for their passengers. Do your research before booking your flights. Our favorite airline is JetBlue because we can upgrade our seats for more foot room. When our baby reaches her breaking point of being in the seat, the extra rooms allow her to play in front of us. If you do not want to purchase your child their own seat, 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 Tip #4: Let Your Baby Run Free in the Airport
Don’t put your baby in their stroller or car seat in the airport. Instead, let them run around and make all the noise they want. Our baby literally 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 every flight we have taken, she’s gone to sleep for at least 45 minutes. If your baby isn’t a lap baby and does not have their own seat, 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 room allows you to do so.
Itsy Tip #5: Say Yes to Electronics
Pre-baby, I was one of those people who said, “My baby will never watch TV,” and let me tell you how fast that changed! Having an iPad is one of the biggest keys to our successful flights. I hold out for as long as possible, but as soon as she starts getting fussy, I put on her favorite show. With that being said, make sure whatever electronic you bring is fully charged before you board!
Itsy Tip #6: Packs Lots of Snacks and a Bottle or Two
Food always seems to calm down our baby. I bring all of her favorite snacks and lots of them. You can never have too many snacks for your babies during flights and making them chew, take a bottle, or even suck on a pacifier will help prevent their ears from bothering them.
Itsy Tip #7: Change Your Baby Right Before You 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 normally makes it through the whole flight without needing another change. However, on the rare occasion when she needs to be changed, I only bring the essentials into the restroom with me. A diaper, paste and wipes are all you need and unlike many of our favorite restaurants, airplanes actually have a changing table. The last thing you want to do is take up the limited amount of space with a big diaper bag.
At the end of the day, your baby could be great one trip and a terror the next. 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.