UPDATE: I recently flew alone with my 4 month old baby girl, Mila. I learned a few new tricks that worked really well! (Tip #16!)
Max has been on 3 plane trips so far (Dominican Republic, to Salt Lake City, Atlanta) for a grand total of 10 plane rides! He’s got a few more planed this summer too. I’m kind of a baby plane riding pro these days! If you are traveling with a baby by yourself, my number one tip is to wear that baby (see #7)!
In case you missed it, here are my tips for long road trips with babies, tips for traveling with a mobile lap baby via airplane, tips for flying with a toddler, and 16 tips for road trips with a toddler and a preschooler.
1. Dog bags
A weird first tip on the list, no? Dog bags are the perfect size for dirty clothes and diapers and whatever else the babe gets dirty! If you don’t have a dog at home, zip lock bags work just as well. You can get 270 dog bags on Amazon for 12 bucks (that’s 2 cents a bag)!
Bottom line: Make sure you have some kind of container on hand to hold dirty stuff!
2. Nurse on take off and landing
…unless the babe is asleep, I don’t wake up sleeping babies for anything less than a fire, ha! Pacifier or bottle works too. I’ve heard that the sucking helps their ears with the altitude. True? Who knows? But, nursing always seems to make Max happy!
3. Bring at least 2 extra outfits for the baby
On our first plane trip, Max had an incident before we even boarded the first flight! I was so thankful I threw in 2 extra outfits! Plus the outfits are so tiny, they don’t take up much space.
4. If you bring breast milk through security, only put 3 oz per bottle
If your bottles are over 3 oz, they have to test each bottle which wastes time at security.
5. Bring one diaper per 2 hours of travel time
Oh heck just bring like 20! I had a diaper shortage on our way home. It’s stressful, y’all. Don’t do it. And don’t forget the wipes!
6. Check the car seat at the check in counter
For babies still in an infant car seat, I highly recommend wearing the baby and leaving that stuff at home. If you know you’ll need the car seat and the stroller on the trip, I recommend checking them at the check in counter. It’s free! Also, consider asking a friend to borrow these items in the city you are traveling to. For older babies who are not in an infant car seat, the gb Pockit Air All Terrain is amazing. It is light weight and folds up so that it can fit in overheard storage on any flight. Having a baby in a stroller allows you to do things like go to the bathroom and eat!
7. Wear the baby
I recommend wearing your baby through the airport if:
- You are traveling alone AND
- Your baby is not big enough to go in a stroller that that folds up and fits in overhead storage
When wearing the baby back pack through security, they only test your hands for explosives. So, you do not have to take baby or backpack off. Going to the bathroom with a stroller alone is super tricky too. I use this baby backpack, and it allows you to have your hands free to hold your phone of coffee or whatever. Max loves his backpack, but only looking out, not facing inwards.
UPDATE: Maxwell always preferred to face outwards, but Mila loves to be perched right up on my chest like a little koala bear (thus our mother/ daughter Halloween costume). So, with her I use a K’tan carrier. I love it. It’s a soft, comfortable, cotton material, and (after take off) you can put baby back in the wrap and (possibly) have a hands free sleeping baby situation on the airplane. It is much more difficult to sit comfortably in the Baby Bjorn. Also, I do not suggest using a Moby wrap or any other wrap that is a single piece of fabric for traveling. It will inevitably end up dangling on the ground of the airplane bathroom and totally gross you out. The K’tan is much easier for travel because of how it is made. (I don’t use the “seat belt” that comes with the K’tan for travel.)
8. At check in, ask if there is a seat available with no one sitting next to you
It is greatness if you can get this! And they will happily give it to you if it is available. Whatever you do, avoid the middle seat! It’s super not fun with a baby in your lap.
9. A portable changing pad is a must
We use this one. You can use it in the airport to take baby out of the back pack and lay him on the floor. It’s also perfect for public bathrooms. Here we are stretching out on the airport floor.
10. Freezer packs for breast milk
If at all possible, make sure that your freezer pack is frozen, if it is not frozen it makes it more difficult to get through security. They claim it’s liquid and then have to test it. If breast milk is not frozen, consider checking the freezer pack and milk.
11. Wear a nursing tank, skinny pants, a scarf, and slip on shoes
Nursing tanks just make breast feeding that much easier. I did one plane trip with a nursing bra and a button down shirt and it was way more work. Cuter outfit, but way more work. And the skinny jeans or leggings (with stretch) are to ensure a cleaner bathroom trip for you, ha! That way your pant legs don’t drag on the bathroom floor. The scarf is to cover the boob when breast feeding or use to wrap baby if he is cold. I did a post pre baby about what to wear on an airplane, and this outfit still works great if you switch out the cozy t-shirt for a nursing tank!
12. Fly early or late
The goal is to try and fly when your baby is sleepy. We did an 8pm flight once, and Max slept the whole 4 hours!
13. Bring a pacifier
Even if your baby is not a pacifier baby, they might be on the plane! Maxwell doesn’t take a pacifier often, but he (sometimes) loves it on the airplane and in the car!
14. Call the airline ahead of time
I recently flew with Maxwell on Air Tran (a Southwest partner) and was told I needed a copy of his birth certificate or vaccine record! I had Andy text me a picture of his passport and that worked. But, just call to be safe.
15. Get an aisle seat
Easy access to the aisle is great for a quick walk down the aisle to lull baby back to sleep or do a little bouncing.
16. Airplane toys for babies
My favorite airplane toys for a 3-9 month old baby are these books (you can put them in the washing machine!) and an Oball rattle. Both toys less than $6! Now, the ball can be super annoying if you don’t tie a string to it. Yes, you read that right… tie a string to it! If you don’t tie a string to the ball and then tie the ball to something on the plane you will hate the ball. Here’s the deal, if you are flying alone, picking things up off of the ground or getting into your diaper bag is tricky. I love having one toy out with easy access at all times.
Anyone else have any other tips for traveling with baby via plane? I’d love to hear…