Creative Child

15 Tips to a Smoother Flight with a Baby

by Deborah Song on Aug 11th, 2014

Few things in life are more stressful than flying with a baby. Nothing ever goes as planned (an important expectation to have), but there are things you can do to make the flying experience better. Much better.

1. Choose the right flight.

The best way to fly with a baby is when they're sleeping. Try to schedule a flight that leaves an hour before nap-time or consider a red-eye for longer flights. You'll, of course, avoid a layover if possible, but that's not always the case. If you have the option between a 30-minute layover and a 90-minute layover, choose the latter. Scrambling to get on another flight with a baby in tow is stressful. And even a baby can benefit from a seventh-inning stretch between long flights.

2. Choose seats wisely.

Purchasing a seat for your baby means more safety and room. (If you're bringing a car seat, make sure you've figured out how to transport it. And check to see that your car seat is FAA-approved). If you opt to lap-sit, however, choose the window seat for privacy (a good option for nursing mothers), or the aisle seat for easy access to the bathroom.

3. Register lap-children.

Your infant may need his own boarding pass before you go through security.

4. Request the bulkhead.

Sitting in the front row provides more room to change diapers. It also means you won't have to worry about your baby pulling off someone's headphones or kicking the seat in front of them.

5. Wear your baby.

You'll have access to two hands this way.

6. Be early.

You want to leave room to deal a missing shoe that's slipped off or an explosive diaper. Check your flight status before you leave.

7. Board in teams.

Many airlines don't board families first anymore. Even if it's not their policy, ask anyway. They may make an exception. If you have to board with everyone else, split up. Have your partner board first with all the gear. Then board at the end with your baby. It will be a smoother boarding process and shave a few minutes off being on an airplane (hey, we'll take it).

What is one baby item that you shouldn't live without?

8. Bring medicine and a first aid kit.

You never know when the sudden onset of a fever is lurking. Be prepared for a cold, cut or allergic reaction.

9. Relieve air pressure.

Many babies scream and cry during takeoff and landing because of the change in air pressure. Encourage your baby to suck on a bottle or pacifier.

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10. Bring extras.

Some flights are delayed hours, sometimes days. So pack extra food, diapers, clothes, wipes, and formula if you're bottle-feeding. And don't forget to bring trash bags.

11. Entertainment.

This isn't the time to bring hooked on phonics (unless your child loves it). Send for your most powerful reinforcements. There's no shame in entertaining with a movie or a new app to get you through a long flight. Or for younger babies, pack novel toys. Consider swapping toys with a friend so you won't have to buy new ones. Coloring is a great distraction but they'll be sure to roll off at some point. It's worth investing in square or flat crayons that stay put through turbulence.

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12. A stroller can be your friend.

Even if you have a baby that would prefer to be carried, you may need a stroller at some point in your travel. You can also use it to transport carry ons.

13. Ask for help.

A flight attendant can help you clean up mess, bring you a blanket or grab things out of your bag. An extra hand can mean the difference between waking up a sleeping baby and enjoying a smooth, quiet flight.

14. Dress appropriately.

Dress your baby in layers and something that's easy to change diapers in. If you're nursing, wear something conducive for breast-feeding.

15. Remain calm.

Remember, these are the moments that make for great stories. When you travel with a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you'll be less stressed, which means your baby will be calmer.

Source: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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