6 Tips For Surviving a Plane Ride With a Baby
Have you been thinking about taking a trip but dreading getting there with a baby or small child? I was, too! I recently just took my very first flight to the beach with my 6 month old in tow. I won’t say it what the easiest thing I have ever done. I do wish that I had read some tips on traveling with little ones before I left! Here are some tips that I didn’t know:
1. Bring lots of baby food/formula
In my mind, since I had never been on a plane (and since my husband was meeting us with our luggage in the car) I thought I needed to pack as lightly as possible. It was a short flight, so I fed her before we left and figured she would be fine until we got there. All I had in my bag was ONE pouch of sweet potatoes. This was not enough. Waiting for takeoff, being in the air, and waiting to be released took a lot longer than I expected and she was STARVING when we landed. I didn’t want to bring a bunch of stuff and have the airport make me throw it away, but it turns out that baby food is considered the same as medicines in an airport. All you have to do is put them in a separate bin and no questions will be asked! (They may test your formula can separately, and they may test your hands.) I made sure to bring lots for her to eat on the way home!
2. Make sure you are nursing, have a bottle, or a have pacifier for takeoff and landing
When the plane takes off and lands, the pressure inside the aircraft changes. This causes “ear-popping” for us and our babies. Unfortunately, our babies can’t chew gum or pop their ears. Sucking a pacifier, nursing, or drinking a bottle during takeoff and landing will help relieve the pressure in your little one’s ears.
3. Know the difference between a “lap child” and buying a seat for your child
Usually, any child under two years old is considered a “lap child” and can be taken on the flight for free with an adult. If you plan to take a “lap child” you DO NOT buy a separate ticket for them. There should be an option under your ticket to add a lap child. When I was flying, I had a lap child, my sister had a lap child, and one other person had a lap child. The other person had accidentally purchased another ticket for her child and caused the count to be off when they realized the child was too little to sit in the seat alone (and she had no car seat with her). This caused them to count the passengers about 300 times and really delayed us. (Which caused my baby to be even MORE cranky!) Moral of the story, do your research BEFORE the flight so the people around you don’t get upset!
4. Be aware of your seating
Since this was my first flight, I had no idea anything about seating. I was flying with 2 sisters, my child, and my nephew. We purchased tickets for seats A,B, and C. There were only 3 seats per row, so this was perfect! We would all get to sit together. We were wrong. It turns out, there are only 4 oxygen masks per 3 person row. So, someone had to move. Unfortunately, they switched one of us with a stranger who had to sit next to me and my screaming child for an hour. I felt so bad for her, and if I would have known that rule I would have chosen our seats differently! I suggest sitting in an aisle seat. I was SO cramped in the middle seat that I couldn’t properly rock Mia, which made her even more mad, and made her scream even louder! I think if I were in the aisle, I would have had more elbow room.
5. Take a carrier
The best thing I did on my flight was baby wear until I was seated on the plane. Mia LOVES being in her carrier. She was calm all the way through check-in, security, and waiting to board. I had a woman stop me and ask if I was allowed to wear her in like that. I told her yes, and she got SO excited because she wanted to wear her baby, too! She thought she wasn’t allowed. It really made the waiting process so much easier.
I know this is easier said than done. Trust me! Airplanes have been my worst fear for ages. But, I learned that when Mia could sense my tension, she cried even louder. I had to be calm for her, or else my trip was going to be even worse! I got flustered when she was upset. I was afraid that everyone around me hated me. But, I should have just calmed down and did what I needed to do. I think she would have calmed down a whole lot quicker if I would have let myself relax! Even the lady in the seat next to me told me she could sense my tension. Don’t be like me!