Three months into #momlife and after taking my little guy on his first flight last week, I’m ready to give the blogosphere my personal tips on flying with an infant.
Just DO IT.
Okay, I know that isn’t practical or even really funny. But it’s a start. Just booking the flight and going for it is all it takes. Because lets face it, no one wants to pay the airlines’ ridiculous cancel fees. Book the ticket. Make it happen.
So many parents are terrified to fly with little ones (I was/am one of them)… and rightfully so. It’s a headache, incredibly stressful, and nightmare-ish to think of the dirty looks from your fellow travelers if your babe starts to scream. What makes that even more scary? Doing it SOLO. Yep. I was crazy enough to get on a plane with my 3 month old by myself. All I kept thinking was “maybe everyone will feel too bad to hate me since I don’t have any help”.
You can already tell what people are thinking as they pass you during boarding. “Oh GREAT. A freaking baby.” “How stupid to bring a baby that little on a plane.” (I’m sure you can think of a number of other thoughts, as you’ve probably had them yourself if you’ve ever had a flight with a baby on board. I know I did!)
To all my child-less folks, give the parents a break. Seriously. Because one day in the maybe not so distant future, YOU will be that new parent with a deer-in-headlights look on your face if your little angel baby becomes not so angelic and starts screaming bloody murder in flight.
To all my fellow mamas who I so wrongly judged before having my little guy- I. am. So. So. Sorry. Forgive me for my ignorance- I now fully understand that you were indeed way more stressed trying to calm your babe than I was listening to them cry.
Now to the actual tips that helped us survive our first flight, along with a few things I wish I would have done differently.
- Try to book a flight around the time your little one would typically nap. I know at this age a nap schedule is laughable, but even with my sleep fighting guy I had some idea of when he would fall asleep.
- Book a non-stop if and when possible. Pay the extra for the convenience of not switching planes and dealing with layovers. It is beyond worth it.
- Purchase gate-check bags for your stroller and car seat. For about $15 per bag its a no-brainer investment to protect these items from a few scratches and airport germs. If you’ve got a travel system like I do (Chico Bravo) buy the DOUBLE stroller gate-check bag. The single most likely won’t fit unless its a lightweight/umbrella type stroller. *Make sure you add luggage tags or IDs of some sort*
- If you have a carrier, wear your babe straight through security as opposed to carrying them in your arms or dealing with a stroller. You will most likely have to have your hands swiped after going through the detector, but other than that it was a breeze. Babe can just stay right in the carrier!
- Wait to feed until take off and landing. This tip I heard from numerous mamas that had flown before and it worked great. Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding or even giving a pacifier- anything they can suck on to keep them swallowing during pressure changes is a big plus. I chose to feed him knowing he would (hopefully) fall asleep once he was done- which he did. #score
- Even at 3 months, my boy loves to look and grab at toys. Bring them as a distraction!
- Diaper bag must-haves aside from the obvious diapers, wipes, etc:
- Extra clothes for baby AND you.
- A few Ziploc bags for wet/soiled clothes.
- If you’re traveling with medications like I was, or breast milk for example, you ARE allowed to exceed 3.4 oz. -they may need to check it but it can go with you in a diaper bag.
- Take photos! For me as a travel agent especially, I wanted to document the crap out of his first flight! Pictures in the airport, on the plane looking out the window… you get the idea. It’ll be so fun to look back on this memory once they’re older and flying on their own.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Chances are, someone will gladly help you with lifting your bag into the overhead bin, or grab the heavy bags off the belt at baggage claim.
What I wish I had done:
- More prep on where things were in my diaper bags. Since I was traveling solo this time, I found myself juggling quite a few things. Diaper bag, personal item, phone, ID, etc. Don’t be like me and put your cell phone in the seat pocket on the plane and go into a panic 30 minutes later thinking you left it in the bin at security. (ugh).
- Had a mimosa at breakfast. (kidding…. kind of).
- Had more faith in the general public. Seriously! Depending on where you’re from you may not experience this, but southern hospitality came out in huge waves during my trip. From moving seats so the one next to me could be open, to helping me carry bags off the plane… and even saluting me for taking on his first flight solo- I was truly (happily) surprised at how wonderful everyone was. Now, it may have been a different story if he had screamed the whole time. I’m choosing to think not. 😉 #ignoranceisbliss
- Asked for a pair of wings! I don’t know if it was just AA that was slacking, or totally my fault for asking if they even still give them out- but ASK for them anyway! I had this on my mental to-do list, but mom brain took over and I totally forgot. *No clue what I’m talking about? Click here *
- Brought a hair tie. This is another new mom fail, but somehow the hair tie that normally lives on my wrist was nowhere to be found. All my breastfeeding mamas especially get why this is so tragic. And painful.
I’m sure if I sat here and kept thinking, this list would continue to grow. However, nap time will soon end and no one has more than 10 minutes to read travel tips these days, so I’ll stop here.
Oh, and you’ve totally got this, mama. 😉
Until next time, keep spreading those #vacayvibes