11 Tips for flying with a baby
Flying with a baby is never going to be completely stress free, but a little organisation can make the process a whole lot easier. These tips for flying with a baby will help you prepare for whatever is thrown at you during the flight, which all come from my own personal experience. I have been flying with my two since they were 4 month old babies, and while we have had our moments, these tips have made for mostly smooth traveling.
1. Dress in layers
Planes are often cold thanks to the in flight air conditioning, but airports are often warm. That’s without even taking into consideration what the temperature will be once you arrive at your destination. All these varying temperatures can make it difficult to dress, so choose layers for your baby. That way, you can easily take off a layer or two if needed.
2. Check what foods/liquids can be taken on board
Before you pack any food or liquids for your baby, check with your airline what can and can’t be taken on board. This will largely depend on where you are flying. International flights will often be subjected to restrictions on liquids, although their will usually be exemptions or special conditions for families traveling with infants.
3. Take small toys
Space is at a premium when traveling on planes, so plan to take small toys that will (hopefully) keep your baby amused for more than a few minutes. Many babies are happy to play with items already on the plane, such as the inflight magazine or a plastic cup.
4. Feed on descent
Most advice will tell you to feed your baby both on takeoff and landing, but I have this to be more important on landing. You need to keep your babies jaw moving to help clear their ears, so breastfeeding, bottle feeding or even a dummy should help enormously. If they do cry try not to stress too much (I know that’s just about impossible, I have almost been in tears over this!), as the crying will help their ears if all else fails.
5. Travel during nap times
This tip can go both ways and really depends on your child, but I have been surprised by how much easier it is to fly during nap times. We took a 5 hour evening flight last year, and our two children slept basically the entire flight, it was bliss! However, babies who prefer to sleep in a familiar environment might struggle with flying during nap times, in which case it would be better to search for flights during the times they will be well rested and therefore in a better mood.
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6. Find out if you can gate check stroller
Not all airlines or airports will allow to to gate check a stroller, however we have always been offered this service at Sydney airport and it makes the airport waiting time that much easier. You then get to keep your stroller until you reach your gate to board the plan, at which time the airline staff will check your stroller onto the plane. If this service is not offered by your airline, consider using a baby carrier.
7. Request a bassinet seat
Many planes, especially larger ones, will offer bassinets in the bulkhead row. These are usually allocated to families with the youngest children on the flight, and need to be booked directly wit your airline. Bassinets can make flying a billion times easier with an infant, and the bulkhead rows also give you that little bit more room to move.
8. Decide if you want to purchase your infant a seat
While infants under two years of age can be held in your lap usually for free, or around 10% of an adults fare, it is also often possible to book them their own seat. This is another thing that will need to be checked with your airline, but many will allow you to take approved car seats on the plane for your baby to sit in. This will give you a bit more freedom and space, and hopefully encourage your baby to sleep mid flight.
9. Bring the correct identification for your infant
Obviously your baby will need it’s own passport for international travel, but when traveling domestically the identification needed will vary between countries and airlines. This is something you don’t want to forget.
10. Bring spare clothes for yourself and your baby
Not only should you pack a change of clothes for your baby, but also yourself. It’s always best to be as prepared as possible.
11. Consider buying nappies and other supplies at your destination
This one depends on where you are traveling to, but if suitable nappies are readily available at you destination you might be able to save on luggage and purchase nappies on arrival. Just take enough of a nappy supply to last you a day or so.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY TO ADD TO THE ABOVE LIST? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.