Believe it or not, traveling is (relatively) easy when your child is little. Before school days mean you can really only travel a few weeks a year, getting away with little ones is an adventure work having.
Here are Motherly’s top 10 tips for smooth flights with baby:
1. Dress your little one in easy-to-access layers
Leggings + sweaters + onesies with easy access to diaper changes make sure baby can stay comfortable in multiple climates.
Also, baby will inevitably have a diaper blowout somewhere 34,000 feet up, so be sure to pack an extra change of clothes (or two)!
2. Keep mama comfy, too
Nursing-friendly tops, comfy shoes, stretchy pants. We’re all about traveling in comfort—and style.
3. Pack easy-to-eat food
Don’t worry about this part, most TSA agents are very compassionate to parents traveling with children. Just stand there and try not to look stressed.
4. New, small toys keep baby happy
Flying is all about keeping baby as happy and calm as possible. A few new toys (maybe even wrapped by you in exciting paper that baby can open) help kill the time.
5. Remember just the essentials for your carry on
If possible, pack a dozen diapers (depending on length of flight, but it’s good to be over-prepared in this area) a change of clothes (or two), some snacks, a few new toys and some small baby books.
Keep baby happy by rotating between activities like nursing, looking out the window, reading a book, opening a new toy, or handing baby off to a friendly stranger. (Hey, a mom can dream. . . )
For mama, you’ll want some entertainment for yourself as well.
Don’t overpack, or you’ll wind up lugging wayyyy too much equipment on the plane and across the country.
6. Go hands-free when you can
Wearing baby onto the plane helps keep your little one snug and close, which makes it easy to nurse baby during take-off and landing, and to help her rock to sleep.
The loud ambient noise and shimmying of the plane can actually be really relaxing to baby, so take advantage by wearing baby, getting her to rest, and keeping your hands available for changing the channels on the in-flight entertainment
7. Keep your documents straight
Babies under 2 can fly on your lap for free, but airport staff all seem to have different guidelines on whether or not you need to show baby’s birth certificates.
To be safe, always travel with a copy of baby’s birth certificate or passport, and make sure their name is assigned to your ticket as a lap child.
8. Bring your stroller
It can double as a carry-on holder, and is easily gate checked once you board. Unless you have a partner traveling with you to hold the carry on, it’s probably easiest if you use the stroller to glide through the airport.
And remember—gate check the stroller, not the baby 😉
9. Pre-load digital entertainment for baby and mama
Maybe your wee one is entertainment enough, but justincase, bring an iPad pre-loaded with a baby friendly video.
During flight time, normal rules about screen time go out-the-window for us. It’s all about survival. If your little girl gazes at Wonder Pets for a few peaceful hours, we’re not judging.
10. Do whatever relaxes *you*
Air travel can be stressful, so keep calm and carry on (get it?) by practicing whatever flying rituals usually work for you.
A glass of wine might be enough to take the edge off, but so might a new episode of Say Yes to The Dress on your iPad. Whatever keeps you calm, we’re all about it.