Tips for Flying with an Infant
To fly with your baby or leave him/her with grandparents is a tough question, one that comes down to personal choice and finances. Many parents don’t have the option, it’s family travel or nothing. For myself, I have travelled with my children as babies many times; it’s rare that I travel without my kids. With some planning ahead, flying with an infant can be done with ease.
Tips for Flying with an Infant
- Book a flight strategically – This may or may not be possible and likely only for short flights. If you have the ability, try booking flight times where your infant normally naps to take advantage of sleep time on the plane.
- Arrange seating – If you are flying with someone, book your seating beside each other at check-in so you can team up to entertain your child during the flight. Up to 2 years of age, you don’t have to book an extra seat on the plane; the child can sit on your lap.
- Check regulations – Before you fly check baggage and carry-on regulations to avoid any struggles with contents through security at the airport. Baby bottles are allowed.
- Pack a suitcase – You’re checking your bag under the plane so this is where extra diapers, toys, formula, snacks, extra bottles and soothers, a favourite blanket, medications that may be needed during your trip and don’t forget that sunscreen and hat.
- Pack medications – Generally you’ll want to bring along over the counter medications for pain, in case of teething or earaches, and stomach upset or diarrhea. You may not need these but you don’t want to risk going without just in case.
- Pack a carry-on – Check current carry-on regulations before you fly to know what you can and cannot bring on the plane. Typically you can bring a bottle of milk or formula in a diaper bag with snacks for baby. Just make sure the diaper bag will fit under the seat in front of you for convenience or you will have to store it in the overhead compartment. Pack a few age appropriate toys and activities for baby to be entertained while you fly. You should also pack a few favourite snacks in small sealed bags or travel cups that work with tiny hands to get through to the next airport. The key here is to pack light and condense to what you will need during the hours your are flying. If you’ll need more formula, pack the powder in a sealed bag with the measuring cup; you can get the heated water from the flight attendant. Bring diapers and baby wipes, not just for the diaper changes but for cleaning dirty hands.
- Bring a baby carrier – Not everyone uses one but this made it easier for me to travel with my infant. Through the airport, wear your baby in the carrier and use the stroller to carry all your items. This works very well when travelling alone with your infant.
- Bring a stroller and car seat – There are condensed versions of strollers for travel for a reasonable price. A stroller that allows an infant car seat to clip into was my personal favourite for transportable reasons. You are allowed to walk that stroller right to the gate and check it at the gate for under the plane which makes it easier for you to transport your child safely and your items without putting too much strain on your back and nerves.
- Pre-board – The airline staff allow parents travelling with infants to pre-board the plane, take advantage of the extra time to stow your bulky items at the gate (stroller/car seat), get seated and have all your necessities at your fingertips. I always used a small blanket to wrap those items into a little sack to store beside me during the flight.
- Don’t stress – Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks if your baby cries; many travellers are parents themselves. Most often your baby will only cry for a short period of time, usually during take-off and landing; make sure to have a soother or bottle for him/her to suck on to allow the ears to pressurize with the least amount of discomfort. If needed, call on your flight attendant; they are more than happy to help you and your baby fly comfortably. You can also get up when the seatbelt signs are off to walk the aisle to help calm your baby; remember to be mindful and respectful of the other travellers and flight attendants.
Travelling with an infant for the first time can seem a bit nerve-racking. Take advantage of these tips and you’ll find yourself well prepared for any flight with your infant and be set to, make unforgettable memories and an amazing family trip with your little one.