Traveling with an infant is a lot less scary than you would expect. The steady stream of smiles from strangers, hum of the engine, and tight quarters can be a combination for a nice nap for babies. Below are some tips I learned on our first experience traveling as a family of three. With a little planning, you will be equipped for a successful first flight and dare I even say enjoyable time? Heck, it's not often in motherhood that we have a chance to have drinks and snacks delivered to us, trashed picked up for us, and the opportunity to flip through a magazine.
1. Wear Your Little One Through Security
Getting yourself, your twelve bags, and you little one back to the gate may be the most stressful part of traveling. The Solly Baby Wrap came in handy going through security. With Brody wrapped tight against my chest, the TSA agent quickly shuttled us to the fast lane, rather than making us wait in the long security line (which came in handy on our first flight since we were running late!). We were able to go through the metal detector without having to take Brody out of the wrap and a pat down was not needed, just a simple swipe of the hands to check for explosive residue.
2. Stretch Beforehand
Since our domestic flights were a bit on the longer side (5 hours), we knew we would be cramped up in the airline seats for quite a while. We hung out at an empty gate until it was time to board. We laid out a blanket on the ground and let Brody roll around and stretch.
3. Gate Check The Car Seat
If you are bringing your own car seat, gate check it. We bought a $15 car seat travel bag cover that had a shoulder strap and helped keep the car seat from getting dirty or damaged. We even filled the excess space of the car seat bag with all of our diapers, wipes and blankets for the trip. This way, they didn't take up valuable luggage space.
4. Bring A Pacifier
The one tip I constantly received was to breastfeed Brody during take-off and landing. The sucking motion helps their little ears pop. On the first flight I tried waiting to feed Brody right when we were taking off, but of course this was later than he was used to eating so he started to get cranky. I decided to feed him and then give him his pacifier to suck on during take off and landing. It had the same effect and we had no problems with his ears bothering him.
5. Travel Crib Is A Must
Since we stayed in three different places during our trip, we wanted to make sure he had the consistency of having the same bed. We bought the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib and let him sleep in it for the weeks leading up to the trip. By the time we went on our trip, he was used to this being his bed and had no trouble sleeping wherever we stayed. I highly recommend the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. It is the lightest weight option available, doesn't take up much floor space if you are staying in a small room, has a comfortable mattress.
6. Ask For A Lid
When you order your drink on the plane, be sure to ask for a lid. Trying to balance a squirmy baby in the confines of an airplane seat, while sipping on some caffeine is a recipe for disaster. All of the airline stewardesses we encountered were so kind and helpful. A lid and a straw made life a little simpler.
7. Pick The Window Seat
The window seat is the best seat to sit in with a baby. It gives you a little more privacy if you are breastfeeding and it gives your little one something to look at other than the back of the chair in front of you. We also found sitting near the engine was a plus, as the sound was the perfect white noise to put Brody to sleep.
8. Wear A Diaper Cover
There are so many horror stories of diaper explosions mid-air. One tip I read on Amber Fillerup's helpful travel tips post was to have your little one wear a simple onesie on the flight that you could toss in case of leaks. We dressed Brody in a plain white onesie and paired it with a diaper cover as a second layer of protection. This worked well for us.
9. Walk The Aisles
On each flight, about halfway through, Brody started to get fussy. My husband would stand up and walk him up and down the aisle a few times and he would immediately calm down. The movement and new faces to stare at helped relax him for the remainder of the flight.
What are your tips for traveling with a little one? Do you have any horror stories of diaper blowouts or missing luggage?
Headed to the beach? Be sure to read my tips for enjoying the beach with a baby in tow.