Flying With a Baby
Everyone hates a crying baby on the plane. They are in movies and on tv: the screaming baby makes everyone angry and traveling is a nightmare. Or maybe you’ve experienced it yourself and never want to bring your own baby on a plane. Flying can be stressful and cause a lot on anxiety for anyone, especially if a baby is involved. But flying with a baby doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may seem at first. Traveling with a baby in general is tougher than traveling alone, but flying doesn’t have to be any more stressful than any other mode of transportation. With the right preparation and knowledge, flying with a baby doesn’t have to become a horror movie.
Babyland went Airborne!
Micah has been to Arizona twice now! That’s more than his daddy! The first time was when he went with me and my parents to visit my grandparents when he was 2 months old. And the second time was this past weekend! Our little family headed to Bullhead City, AZ to visit Valley Christian Church for them to interview Peter for an Associate Minister of Youth and Music position (and for us to interview them and see if this is the place God is leading us next).
We took off early Saturday morning from Minneapolis, flew to Denver for a short layover, then continued to Las Vegas where the pastor and his lovely wife picked us up to drive us to Bullhead City. So not only did Micah experience flying, he also experienced a two-hour time zone change.
Flying with a Baby is No Problem!
Micah actually handled flying very well. He slept for quite a bit of the plane rides, played on the floor during layovers, and was content playing on our laps during awake time. We nursed on the planes, ate food in the airports, and survived some pretty rough turbulence on the way home. After it was all said and done, I put together a list of tips for flying with babies.
Tips for Flying with a Baby
1) If baby is under two, he can sit on your lap!
This saves you a lot of money on tickets. Some airlines charge small fees for this, others are free so check it out when you are booking. And baby needs to be listed on your ticket as a Lap Baby, or Baby on Lap, or whatever wording the airline uses. Micah did great sitting on my laps at 2 months and at 7 months and probably would have been scared and fussy in his own seat. But plane seats are small and all squished together, so as the child gets older the need for their own seat gets larger. And if they fly in their own seat, they require their own ticket as well as a car/booster seat that is appropriate for their size.
2) You can bring a car seat and stroller FREE!
All the airlines I’ve ever flown or looked at with Micah have allowed a baby to bring along a car seat and stroller to be checked or gate-checked for free. The car seat is especially important because you will need it wherever you go. Most car rental places, and many airlines, also rent out car seats, but it’s cheaper it bring your own.
3) Wear baby
Any type of baby wear (sling or front carrier) is great for getting around the airport and into the plane. I wore a sling which was also great for positioning and covering during nursing, as well as cozy for Micah to sleep soundly. He actually fell asleep nursing during each flight which made the flights go much better! Speaking of…
4) Try to have baby sleep during the flights
Schedule the flights during naptime or bedtime, or just delay baby a bit so he’ll nap during the flight. Micah’s schedule got all mixed up with the time change, but by timing and the blessing of God, he was wide awake during lay overs and slept during much of the flight.
5) Ease ear pain by nursing
Some people and kids have ear pain with the changes in altitudes. For most people, chewing gums helps because of the jaw motion and swallowing. Micah didn’t seem to have any problem with landings or take offs when he was awake and happy, but nursing or sucking on a pacifier can help. Or chewing on baby puffs, or whatever he can eat.
6) Nursing on a plane
I used my baby sling as a cover, as well as a receiving blanket to be well covered. The people next to us never seemed to mind, it made Micah happy and often put him to sleep, and was just as easy as covering up anywhere else.
7) Be kind
Most people smiled at and loved Micah. He would crawl up to people and made lots of new friends. And we were careful to be kind and respectful of other people’s space and preferences. If you are nice to people, chances are they will be nice to you.
8) Be flexible and patient
Babies have lots of stuff. We packed everything into carry-ons for the weekend and it worked out well, but a longer trip would have probably needed checked baggage. All the stuff plus baby takes patience and flexibility in plans to accommodate.
9) Let baby move during lay overs
Micah enjoyed crawling on the floor and eating puffs and baby food during our layovers. This gave him the chance to use some energy and not feel so cooped up. Then, people with young kids get to load first. This is great for baby so we could get in and settled, but for little kids it’s better to wait until last so the children have the maximum amount of free move-around time possible.
10) Baby food, formula, and breast milk don’t follow the fluid restrictions
When we went to AZ in February, I was pumping extra to build a supply for returning to work. I brought back about 25oz of frozen breast milk. Then just opened the cooler to peek at it and let me through. This trip we brought baby food and they didn’t even open the bag to check it, just let us on through. No problemo. Baby needs it, so it gets through. Don’t let anyone bully you or try to tell you it can’t.
Any other questions about flying with a baby? Life is fun, enjoy it.