We just got back from our 4th trip from Seattle Washington to Boise Idaho with our baby. We have flown with him at 6 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, and 5 months. Every trip has gone good and each time we’ve learned something new about traveling with an infant. This week a girlfriend of mine told me her and her husband are considering flying with their sweet baby girl for Christmas and asked me for any tips/tricks/suggestions for her trip. Here’s what I came up with 🙂
1. Leave baby in their car seat and put the car seat in the stroller to get from your car to ticketing/baggage drop off. (This would only be helpful to people who use an infant car seat with a matching stroller, I have not traveled with a convertible car seat yet).
2. If you’re using a stroller throughout the airport and have more than one roller bag, you might consider using the elevator instead of the escalator. We’ve found that escalators can be kind of inconvenient with strollers and multiple bags (especially in busy airports).
3. Transfer baby from car seat to carrier (baby wear) BEFORE getting in line for security.
4. Take out car seat inserts before going through security b/c they make you tip your car seat upside down to put it through the X-ray machine and your inserts will probably fall out on the conveyer belt.
5. You can bring as much water/liquids as you want through TSA (as long as it is “medically necessary” for your little). Pro tip: TSA doesn’t know if you are breastfeeding or not- so you can bring water either way, they don’t have to know if you need it to mix with formula for the baby, or if you need to drink it to produce enough breast milk, or if you just want to avoid paying $5+ for a bottle of water in the airport🤷🏻♀️. -You also don’t have to have “travel size” items. I have brought full size wet wipes, gripe water, Tylenol, & gas drops in my diaper bag every time I have traveled with my baby.
6. Leave stroller,car seat, and roller bag at the gate- all we bring on the plane is the baby Bjorne (our carrier), the diaper bag, and the baby.
7. FAMILY restrooms are life savers! Some airports (Boise) don’t have them but bigger airports (Seattle) have a family restroom almost everywhere that they have other restrooms. They come in handy when you could use your spouses help getting baby out of the carrier, getting out your changing pad, etc. or if you have to pee and you’re wearing your babe, you can hand them off to your spouse while you go, then quickly put them back in the carrier or wrap.
1. I recommend whoever is going to hold the baby most of the time, sit by the window. (If the baby holder is on the aisle, you constantly have to readjust them to make sure their head or feet aren’t get hit by people walking by).
2. If you are formula feeding, immediately after you sit down- the person not holding the baby should put the water in the bottle, add formula, mix the bottle, get a burp rag out, then put the diaper bag under the seat in front of you. If you’re breast feeding and wish to cover up- get your cover ready and baby in position once your in your seat.
3. Feed baby during take off- the baby swallowing during takeoff should help their ears to adjust to the change in cabin pressure levels. (This has worked well for us so far). If baby can’t or won’t eat during take off (or in our case he finishes the bottle before the plane gets off the ground) a pacifier has worked for us too. This is also recommended during landing, but we’ve never fed our baby during landing because he eats every 3ish hours and our flight is usually only 1.5 hours.
4. Once plane lands (if you dropped your car seat and stroller at the gate), I recommend waiting until everyone (or most people) are off the plane to get off because it takes them a couple minutes to get your stroller and car seat to the door and staying in the plane until last prevents you from having to awkwardly stand in the jet bridge or outside of the plane to wait for your stuff while everyone walks by you.
◦ Most rental car companies offer car seats for free with your car if you would rather not bring your own.
◦ When traveling using our infant car seat we chose NOT to bring a base. Some (maybe all, I’m not sure) infant seats are approved and safe without a base. Ours was so we chose to avoid the hassle of bringing our base. We’ve done this all 4 times and it has worked great for us so far.
◦ If you DO chose to bring your base I recommend checking it when you check your big bags because it’s usually free and that way you don’t have to pack it around the airport since you won’t need it in the airport.
I’m a bit of an over packer but the nice thing about babies is that their stuff is so small you can way overpack without taking up too much space! I pack multiple extras of everything that we use on the daily. Our babe is a little furnace so I never put a coat on him when traveling (even if it’s super cold out because you’re usually not outside long at all) just between the airport and the car or the plane and the airport. What we do is (when wearing him) take a warm blanket, tuck it into the carriers arm holes, and let it dangle. This helps keep him warm but is easy to take off once you get inside the warm airport, car, wherever you’re going.
We also use a binkie clip not only for his pacifier but also use one for his teething toys so that he can use them on the plane without the toys falling on the ground. The last tip I have is to do your best to ignore people around you on planes. Almost everyone cringes when they see a baby get on a plane- they’re not your problem. Your baby and your trip is your #1 concern so try to focus on that and enjoy the ride. If you’re flying Alaska they usually have complimentary beer & wine, so I like to enjoy my plastic cup of wine while bouncing my baby and ignoring everyone around us!
Lastly, use a TON of hand sanitizer because airports are disgusting. I 1000% recommended TSA precheck and personally prefer Delta over any other airline for a number of reasons. One of the reasons being that you don’t have to go outside in freezing cold weather with a baby to board your plane, another being that their windows have sun shades (unlike Alaska where the sun will shine in your little ones eyes the whole flight because they chose not to put shades on the windows of their prop planes). 🙃
That’s all I can think of for now, hope this helps someone who’s having anxiety about their first trip with an infant! ✈️ Happy Traveling!