Simple Tips for Flying with a Baby
Flying (even long distances) with a baby does not need to be stressful! In fact We (baby H and I) really enjoyed it! When Hudson was 3.5 months old, Mark and I took him on an oversees flight from Vancouver to London and it was a great experience. Shortly after that Hudson and I flew on our own to Barcelona! A few flights since and I’m starting to feel like an expert! Here are my tips for a peaceful flying experience with a baby:
Call Airline Ahead: Calling the airline to confirm seating is one of the first things I do! Once the flight is booked, informing the phone agent that you will be flying with an infant and requesting a bassinet if the flight is a certain length. *Usually larger flights or oversees flights will have these available… but they are First Come First Serve! They can only hold up to 20-25 lbs so they usually ask the age or weight of the baby. Also ask the airline what they allow to be checked and what they allow as carry-on baby items! Extra baby items are usually free and treated with extra care!
Pack Correctly: Make a list and pack ahead! We brought a travel stroller that was small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. The Mountain Buggy Nano was recommended by a friend of mine and worked perfectly for a baby who didn’t yet have full head control, but could still fold up small and compact! I packed our diaper bag for the plane with extra diapers, wipes, portable change pad, an extra outfit, teething toys, pacifiers, 2 blankets, nursing cover, a sleeper & hat, baby Tylenol, and the Sleep Sheep which makes white noise.
Wear your baby: This was a life saver! Especially when I traveled without my husband. With the baby carrier I was able to board the plane and store my bag and stroller in the overhead, and also use the restroom! The carrier was also extremely useful when passing thru security as the stroller needed to go on the belt. Hudson loves his carrier and often falls asleep in it. I also used my carrier when I took a short nap during a layover – knowing he was safely secured on my chest!
Request a Bassinet and/or exit seat if available: Even if there are no bassinet seats available when booking, ask when you check in for the flight! Not only are you given more space if sat in the bulkhead or an exit row, but you can place baby in the bassinet to sleep and have a little more freedom in your seat. Baby H slept for 6 hours straight on his first flight in the bassinet and I was able to relax, eat my meals and read a magazine! Bring an extra blanket to line the bassinet and even a cover to keep it dark if the lights are bright. They didn’t allow baby in the bassinet during take-off, landing, or during turbulence, so keep this in mind as well!
Feed baby during take-off and landing: Or at least have something for baby to suck on. Feeding baby helped with the air pressure, and making sure his ears didn’t get plugged during take-off and landing. Hudson didn’t cry once or express any discomfort. Whether you use a bottle, pacifier, or breastfeed, this is definitely something I would consider necessary when flying with a baby.
Order a Special Meal if flying with Someone: This tip was very helpful when flying with my husband. One of us pre-ordered online a special meal (Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat: You Decide!?) which meant that we were eating during the flight at separate times. They almost always bring out the special requested meals a lot earlier which is helpful especially if you don’t end up with a bassinet for baby to be in while you are eating.
Don’t Worry: Something is bound to go wrong or not according to plan… You may experience an unexpected delay or if your baby cries, the other passengers will probably glare at you. Just accept it and smile! You are a brave mama and flying with a baby is no simple task. Remember you can always ask for help or just look desperate! Flight Attendants and other passengers are often close by. On a flight home from Toronto, I forgot my baby carrier in the car on the way to the airport and had to fly without it. One of the flight attendants was so sweet and helpful, she even held Hudson for me while I used the airplane restroom!
Any tips that have worked for you when flying with a little one?