Menu

10 Tips for Flying with Baby

You birthed a baby. You got this.

10 Tips for Flying with Baby

I used to love flying. A few hours to switch off from the world, watch a movie, read a book and hey, even sleep? Well, now that I’m two children deep, “me time” is no longer an actual thing--and getting on an airplane really pushes the point. Nonetheless, I have probably flown with my “extra baggage” more times than I have not now and, though I miss the halcyon days of past, I have it mastered to the point that “fear” and “flying” are no longer synonymous. My most overused maxim since becoming a parent? It doesn’t get easier, you just get better at it. Below, 10 tips for flying high.

FEATURED VIDEO

1) It’s all in the attitude. One of the biggest obstacles between you and an easy flight (apart from your children, obviously) is yourself. Think good thoughts and let the small stuff slide--advice that could apply to parenting in general, the minutia of which is amplified when confined to a cabin. When your child is screaming and the only face you clock is the eye-rolling a-hole who’s trying to move seats, remember s/he’s in the minority. Take deep breaths, offer earplugs (it’ll raise a smile if nothing else) and deal with the situation as though no one else was in the room.

If you’re anything like me, your biggest challenge will be to forget your usual mom-angst. Planes are filthy. The food ain’t organic, sweetheart. Leave your anxieties at the gate and pack plenty of wipes to wipe away the bad stuff. Know that yes, your little one may get pee on her hands from that too-small restroom and yes, she will definitely exceed your usual 30-minutes of allotted screen-time.

2) Timing is everything. Book your flight according to the nap schedule. And if “schedule” is a dirty word, try and push baby’s naps to sync with your flight on the day. You’ll find there is nothing more welcome than the moment your little one falls asleep. Consider mealtimes too; make sure you know you’ll be set up and settled when hunger strikes. As we all know, a fed baby is a happy baby. On this note, see below.

3) Fast Food Keep it simple, people. I don’t often use the puree pouches but on a plane they are a boon. You can also bring your homemade versions if you adhere to the TSA rules, something this handy cooler does brilliantly. Avoid messy food! Once I bought lentil tabouli for a 3-year-old. WHAT WAS I THINKING. Disaster.

4) Snacks. For god’s sake don't run out of snacks.

5) Be prepared. Bring extra everything, but nothing that’s not essential. Basically, don’t bring anything for yourself. Frankly, you won’t have the time, free hands or inclination to read that novel or catch up on those reports for work. All packing must be with child in mind and consolidated smartly. I love a portable changing mat like Skiphop’s for traveling while the usual diaper-bag supplies should be supplemented thus: pack a change of clothes for baby and dress them in layers to allow for ever-changing cabin temperatures. Make sure clothes are easy on/off and dark, in case of blow-outs. Pack more diapers than you think you need (1 per 2 hours, plus a few extra). If you’ve got a toddler who’s iffy on the potty-training, bring pull-ups for naps. Pack a spare top for yourself in case of aforementioned blow-out (shit happens). A large scarf/pashmina is always a winner for when the AC blasts and doubles as a nursing cover. Pack extra of all the above in case of delays or lost luggage. Throw in some Ziploc bags for spoiled clothes and utensils. Also, see next tip.

6) Bag of tricks. In order to occupy your little darling(s), stock that Mary Poppins bag of yours with endless amusements. First up, the iPad. Forget your principles, screw your judgments; this is your salvation. There are some great and not completely brain-deadening apps that can pass away a good chunk of time. If you take one (duh) you’ll need something like these to shield your fellow passengers from the din. Other engaging tools: Books, always. Crayons (not markers) and coloring books. Stickers!!! Toddlers f*cking love stickers. Avoid anything messy or loud. Some folk stock up with fun things from the dollar store. I’ve never done this but will attest to anything new and exciting going down particularly well. In actual fact our most successful distractions have been the jewelry I’m wearing or the airplane’s paper cups.

5) Wear the baby. By means of an Ergobaby or similar, wearing your baby is a sanity-saver, allowing you to be hands-free during the high-pressure security check through to getting organized at your seat. Bonus, if your baby can sleep in the carrier your life is made that much easier in-flight.

7) SNACKS. The importance of snacks cannot be overstated.

8) Babies Suck. NO! They don’t. I mean, have them suck on something on the way up and on the way down. By sucking on a nipple, bottle or pacifier, pressure in the ear canal is reduced and so is the risk of major pain, screaming and annoyance for all.

9) Know the rules. Before flying, check with your airline and the TSA for their current policies regarding carry-ons and liquids including baby foods, formula and pumped milk. True story: last month I unwittingly traveled to London with a defensive pepper-spray device that is legal in the USA but absolutely not in the UK. Yet somehow I got through security and onto my international flight without anyone batting an eyelid. It turns out that in the UK they carry the same penalties as a firearm, a fact I was curtly informed of when I was nearly arrested at Heathrow on the way home. Special note of thanks to the officers for their sympathy and the escort to catch our flight in time.

10) You're a goddam mother, you birthed a baby. You've got this.

Image source.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

    Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

    WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

    WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

    Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

    Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

    FEATURED VIDEO

    Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

    I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

    Keep reading Show less
    News