Not much strikes more terror in the hearts of airline passengers than seeing a baby board their plane. While visions of relentless wailing and dirty diapers may fill the minds of some, it doesn’t mean that their fears need become reality. Here are some ideas to help you and your baby make your next flight an easy (and fun) one.
Say hello to the world’s cutest carry on! Regardless of your ultimate travel plans, the fact that you have to transport your baby through terminals and aisles is indisputable. Why not make it a little easier on yourself? First, most airlines allow you to gate check your stroller so if you’re bringing it along, that’s something to consider. Be mindful of the fact that it may get banged around so you might want to leave the expensive one at home and buy a cheap ride for the trip. Seasoned parents tend to find that the best option is to wear your baby, leaving your hands free for all the other things you’ll have to deal with. Something like an Ergo or Baby Bjorn will allow you to comfortably carry your little one close to your body, making both of you feel safe.
Baby’s First Packing List
You know your baby best so the first thing you should do is include his or her absolute necessities in your carry on. It helps to write out a list and check it off as you pack just to make extra sure that you don’t leave anything behind. Some ideas: favourite toys (preferably ones that don’t make too much noise), pacifiers, swaddling blankets (these can be used for so many purposes), diapers, wipes, and feeding supplies. Always pack more than you anticipate needing since delays can happen and you don’t want to be caught off guard.
Reduce the Pressure
Take-offs and landings can be brutal for even the most travel-savvy adults so it’s no surprise that babies tend to howl the most at these times. In order to reduce the pain from the pressure changes, try to feed your little one or provide them with a pacifier or toy to suck on. This should help reduce any ear issues and will result in a much happier little passenger.
If you can, try to schedule flights that coincide with your baby’s nap time. Once you’re airborne, if you can get your babe to fall asleep, things are going to be a lot easier for everyone involved. This is when your carrier comes in handy—being snuggled up close to a parent and surrounded by something familiar tends to help lull babies into dreamland. Another thing to consider is whether or not it’s possible to avoid layovers. Direct flights may be more costly but some parents will argue that not having to race across an unfamiliar airport to catch a connecting flight is well worth the extra expense.
Ask any frequent flier parent and they’ll tell you the same thing: the bulkhead is where it’s at. Spacious enough to spread out with the added bonus of not having to worry about jostling the seat in front of you—talk about a dream come true. Should you find yourself unable to secure this coveted spot, try to get an aisle seat. This will make it a lot easier to get up for diaper changes, rocking, and general leg-stretching.
When taking on the adventure of flying with a baby, the last thing you want to think about is what either of you is wearing. Even though it’s tempting to try to emulate the effortlessly chic style of deplaning celebrities, it’s probably best to focus on what feels good. Try to avoid anything constricting or that requires too much effort to adjust. Trust us, when you’re in that itty bitty bathroom, you’ll be grateful for elasticized waistbands and zippers. Another thing to consider is fluctuating temperatures. Dress yourself and your baby in layers that are easy to swap out and can be packed in your carry on bag.
Seriously. Relax. You’ve done everything that you and chances are, you’re going to be okay. Worst case scenario and your baby doesn’t cooperate? Offer to spring for some earbuds for the surrounding seats. Even better, buy them a drink. Babies don’t mean to be disruptive and people tend to be understanding. Still, a genuine apology goes a long way, especially on a cross-continental flight.
Who is Kate Walker? She’s a freelance writer, yoga addict, and citizen of the concrete jungle. When not on the mat, Kate can be found at the dog park or on the dock in Muskoka. She is also pretty fond of running, skiing, and Settlers of Catan.