Airplane Travel Tips for Flying with a Baby
While most “firsts,” such as the first smile or laugh, bring nothing but joy to a parent, the anticipation of baby’s first flight can cause a lot of stress. However, there are some tips that can make flying with infants fun, or at least tolerable.
Check-in and Security
The first challenge in flying with an infant is to check-in and get through security. Whether in a stroller or infant carrier, your child will likely need to be removed and the stroller or carrier put through the x-ray machine. Before you travel, make sure to check your airlines rules for allowed carry-on materials. Although bottled water is not typically allowed, pre-made formula bottles or breastmilk usually are. However, it is always best to check your airlines rules before flying.
Once you have made it through security, the next step is to board the plane. If you have brought an umbrella stroller or baby carrier, you should be able to bring those on the plane. Larger strollers can be gate-checked. To do this, you tag your stroller and it will be waiting for you at the gate of your destination. Consult your airline for details on how to do this.
Take-off and landing
Now that you are on the plane, the most common challenge that parents fear during an infant’s first flight is the take-off and landing. The change in air pressure during this time can cause discomfort. To alleviate this problem, be prepared to nurse or provide a pacifier or bottle, which can help relieve the pressure.
Many parents are concerned that infants will be very fussy during the flight. However, younger babies frequently sleep during the flight. The engine noise can be soothing and lulls them to sleep. If your child is fussy, feel free to walk the aisles or take out a special toy or book. Although you may be concerned that other passengers will be disturbed, remember that they have likely had to deal with children at some point in their lives.
Feeding and Changing
When it is time to feed your child, feel free to make use of rolled up airline blankets or pillows to make you and your child comfortable. If breastfeeding, these blankets can also be a convenient nursing cover. Another fear may be the difficulty in changing a child in a tiny airplane bathroom. Although the bathrooms are tiny, most feature a fold-down changing table that should provide you with enough space to take care of your infant’s needs.
While flying with an infant is a big “first,” it does not need to be an intimidating process. Try to think creatively to entertain your child and make yourself comfortable, and have fun on your adventure!
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