We’ve now successfully completed three long flights with baby FLO. So, I thought I’d share my best tips for traveling with a baby on an airplane and what items I packed to make our trip easier.
Mentally, I prepared myself for having a screaming newborn in my arms for 6 hours. I thought about walking up and down the aisle covered in poop and throw up, while avoiding all eye-contact with other passengers. But, all of our flights this year were quite uneventful. I’d like to think it’s because of these travel tips.
Best Tips for Airplane Travel with a Baby
- Board the Airplane Last
I have no idea why airlines board families first, but when traveling with baby you want to be the last one on that plane. We were nearly last to board, and this way baby FLO didn’t have to spend extra time on a stuffy airplane.
- Pack Extra Clothes for Baby and Yourself
I packed three outfit changes, at least 5 diapers for baby FLO and I also packed an extra top for myself.
- Buy a Car Seat Carrier
If you have a small stroller that folds easily, use it to transport your baby from car to plane and then back to car. We have a giant running stroller, which I love for outdoors, but it’s way too bulky for indoor use. I bought this universal car seat carrier. It was so easy to whip baby FLO around the airport.
We checked our car seat and stroller at the gate, and they had both items out for us as soon as we exited the plane. To save your carseat from being ruined this car seat cover is a great idea.
- Feed Baby During Takeoff and Landing
Every blog and list I read about traveling with baby said to make sure the little one is eating or sucking on something at takeoff and landing. This helps their ears pop naturally and the baby is not uncomfortable. I followed this advice, and nursed baby FLO as we were taking off and then again as we were landing. It worked, baby FLO didn’t make a peep!
- Bring Comforts of Home
I received this nursing cover, which actually also works as a car seat cover. It wraps all the way around baby and I for complete privacy. It’s perfect for nursing a baby on the plane or while being out in public.
I also brought along my boppy nursing pillow. I was a boppy skeptic. (Why does one need to have a special pillow? I have tons of pillows!) But, once I started nursing with the boppy, I realized what the fuss was all about. It’s so much easier and comfortable for both baby and mama. Baby FLO falls asleep in the boppy all the time. So I knew having him on my lap with the pillow would be easier for both of us. Baby Flo ate and napped majority of the flight.
Because I was preparing for the worst, I brought along my favorite gadget. The baby shusher. It’s how baby FLO falls asleep every night. Listening to a stranger methodically “shussh” him to sleep. Since I imagined baby FLO screaming through the entire flight, I thought the shusher might have the power to calm him down. I didn’t use it this time, but I’ll still be packing it along, just in case next time.
- Ship Bulky Items Ahead
For the first trip we were traveling to see my family in Philly, so I shipped diapers to my parent’s house, which saved a lot of room in the suitcase. I highly recommend shipping diapers via Amazon, so you don’t have to pack them.
Essential Items for Travel with a Baby
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On our flight home from Philly we sat next to a man who turned to us as we got settled and said that he was a grandfather with one more on the way, and that he wouldn’t be bothered with anything a baby did, and not to worry. That was probably the most beautiful thing anyone could have said to me.
After hearing that, I took a deep breath and a calmness washed over me and flowed on to baby FLO and we survived, and you will too. You will even survive walking up and down that airplane aisle covered in vomit and poop, and not sleeping the first night of your vacation.