Something I've learned throughout parenting is that everytime I do something for the "first time" is like ripping a bandaid. It has to be done, it's not necessarily going to be fun, but when it's over I'll feel so much more empowered! Flying with a baby for SURE was like ripping a bandaid, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Just this past weekend I traveled to Wisconsin with Holland! I went to my cousin's wedding and Holland got to meet almost all of our Chicago family. We love them -- it was such a brief trip, but we always love going. Since this was Holland's first flight, and my first solo trip sans Andrew, I did a LOT of research and asked a lot of questions before leaving. I wanted to be prepared for any circumstance (flight delay or cancellation, blowouts, getting through security, feedings, adults acting like children, sleep). I also wanted to pack light and smart.
Here is my
"do this, not that"
list for flying with a baby!
- DO pack enough diapers, wipes, a toy, swaddle, and enough bottles for the flight in your diaper bag. Only what you will need for the flight!
- DO pre-measure formula and put into a formula dispenser before arriving to the airport for later use. You can bring as much formula or breastmilk as you need through security. If you're bringing breastmilk, pack a cooler. The flight attendants will help you warm up your bottles! If you're packing formula, I recommend this formula dispenser and these Mixie bottles (made my trip so much easier)!
- DO pre-measure formula and put into bottles before arriving, too. See #2.
- DO bring a backpack diaper bag so you can stay hands free! (We have this one in black).
- DO bring a carry-on and pack extra baby clothes, clothes for you, diapers, formula, swaddle, and toothbrush in case of a delay, or worse... a cancellation!
- DO pack a bunch of white onesies (these) so you can throw away (guilt free) if your baby has a big blowout. Then you won't need to mess with having to do laundry or keeping it bunched up in a "wet bag", especially if you won't have access to laundry for a couple of days.
- DO bring a bag for everything that gets dirty if you don't like the #6 option!
- DO pack layers for your baby. You might anticipate the plane being cold, and therefore dress them warmly. Both of my flights with Holland were warm, and she was happy in a short sleeve onesie and socks!
- DO wear your baby through the airport & security so you can easily & quickly break down your stroller (not for other's sake, but for your own -- you'll likely feel flustered if you're doing this alone, so having less steps will be good). After security, let that baby ride in his/her seat! (I have an Ergo 360 and a Baby Bjorn from my sister -- I chose to use the Bjorn because Holland fits better in it right now).
- DO bring your stroller caddy instead of your full frame travel stroller, if you're able. Much less risk involved, plus the caddy is ten times less heavy!
- DO leave your car seat base at home IF your car seat can buckle into your car legally.
- DO bring a blanket so your baby can roll around on the airport floor and get their wiggles out pre-flight. Don't use that blanket for anything else except that. (We bought this one)
- DO check in once your arrive at the gate to see if your flight has any open seating. If they do, you can bring your car seat on the plane. See #8.
- DO wear your baby onto the airplane, especially if you have a carry-on.
- DO ask for help with your carry on if you're alone. It's difficult wearing baby and trying to put luggage above.
- DO wipe down the seat / tray table / arm rest before letting baby play -- don't mess around with germs!
- DO feed your baby or pop that pacifier in during take-off/landing. Holland didn't have an issue with either, and word on the street is that the descent is actually harder on them than the take-off because it happens more quickly. To be safe, do both!
- DO pack proper cleaning tools for your bottles -- I like this soap and brought a regular sponge from home that I use only for Holland's things.
- DO bring this squirt spoon if your baby is eating oatmeal, rice cereal, or purees. LIFE SAVER!
- DO buy your diapers, wipes, and formula at your destination if you will be gone for longer than four days!
- DO call your airline at least a few days in advance to see if baby will need identification to board. I needed immunization records, or discharge papers from the hospital, or birth certificate as it had her DOB & legal name! If FAA boards the plane, they can & will fine you if you don't have one of these -- who knew?!
- DO bring infant tylenol on your trip, just in case baby gets sick.
- DO be positive when baby cries on the plane and remember he/she will likely sleep, and if not you can walk the aisles when necessary. Remember that baby is in unfamiliar territory and is communicating with you, not purposely trying to panic you!
- DO make sure to rent a car big enough for baby and baby's things!
- DO have the mindset that people love babies and will be able to handle themselves and act like adults when/if your baby cries on the airplane! There is so much white noise on a plane, the cries will be muffled. If they are bothered -- politely ignore them. :)
Keep in mind that Holland is only 4.5 months old, and as she gets older this list will certainly evolve. This list works well for babies who aren't very mobile yet (ie crawling, standing, walking, scooting) and heavily depend on adults! If you have more tips -- please share them! I am by NO means an expert!