We scoured mommy blogs, daddy blogs, baby blogs and travel blogs to round up the 18 most helpful tips for bringing your tiny one on a plane trip. Read on, and be on your way to a happier travel-ready baby, and a less-stressed you!
Before You Take Off
1. Book your seats strategically.
- The vast majority of airlines allow your baby to fly free if they're going to be sitting on your lap, so since you'll have yourself, your stuff, your tiny human and their stuff to jam into one seat, make sure you try to book the extra legroom seats.
- Before taking off, ask the gate agent if there are any open seats. With luck, there will be, and a kind stranger will most often switch seats with you to allow you and your little one more room. After all, they know the more comfortable the baby is, the less likely they'll have to endure a screeching-baby during the flight.
- If you can afford the splurge, especially for a longer flight, just spring for that extra seat. You can strap their car seat in, and you'll be thanking yourself later when you have a free lap and free hands.
- If you're headed on a long-haul flight, book a bassinet (some airlines call them 'skycots'). Most airlines offer these lovely baby beds that hook into the wall in front of the bulkhead seat The comfier and more familiar your baby's surroundings and sleeping arrangements are, the easier they'll rest. These need to be booked over the phone, and it's best to do so as soon as you've purchased your tickets. Also, doesn't hurt to get to the airport extra early to reiterate your request!
2. Try to tailor your travel plans to baby’s normal routine.
If you can, try to book flights in between mealtime and naptime. The less disrupted your little's schedule, the happier they'll be, the easier they'll sleep, the less dirty looks you'll have to endure, and the more likely that you'll walk off the plane like...
as opposed to...
3. ...but don't stress out too much if you can't.
It's just one slice of one day. They'll be fine :)
4. Take advantage of early boarding.
Trust us, you've earned this small privilege. Regardless of whether you have a stroller with your or not, don't feel bad about bypassing your fellow fliers to board early.
5. Don’t assume that booking an overnight flight means your baby is falling asleep.
Usually, it doesn’t. You’ll be better off, more well-rested, and therefore better able to deal with potential travel nightmares by getting a good night’s sleep in a bed.
6. Pack full outfits in individual ziploc baggies in your carry-on...
This means socks, onesie, hat, jacket everything. Whatever is going on their body at the same time should be grabbable in one quick dip into your suitcase. This will save you the time and hassle of digging through your bag in search of that ONE sock that somehow managed to lodge itself deep in some secret crevice of your bag. This is also great for transitions from warm to cold climates, or vice versa. Separating baby’s warm and cold weather outfits will keep you the sanest, most organized parent around
7. ...and a change of shirt for yourself.
In the event that you have to deal with any spit-up/butt-splosion/inevitable spill nightmares, you don’t want to have to wait until you get your big bags back to feel some version of fresh.
8. Bring a lot of hand sanitizer, and a LOT of wipes.
Even if you’re generally chill about germs and such, we all know the plane is one of the grosser germ portals. Wipe down the belt buckle, seatback table, and armrests as soon as you sit down. Whatever they’re bound to put in or near their mouth should get a little scrub to avoid a sick post-flight baby.
9. Buy some Yu Yee Oil
Gammon & Chips. For you natural mommas. this oil might be the key to eliminating some of the stressors that could rile up your little one. Dabbing just a bit on the soles of their feet, their tummy, and their palms just before takeoff can make for a calm, stress-free babe. Made from a blend of Peppermint, Clove, and Nutmeg oils, along with Menthol and Cinnamon, not only will your baby be the picture of calm, but they will smell like heaven. You can most likely find it at your local Chinese market, and you can also find it here on Amazon.
At The Airport
10. Bring a stroller or carrier.
You’ll want to be hands-free moving through that maze of confusion. You can usually check it at the gate! Make sure to check your airline’s policies before counting on that, though.
In The Air
11. Breast or bottle-feed at take-off and at landing.
Sucking on something will be soothing for baby, and prevent their ears from popping. For older, post-bottle babes, sugar-free lollipops should do the trick!
12. Don’t allow them to be a demon child.
Yes, your child is a perfect angel who is the most gorgeous, smart, charming, hilarious human on earth, but that doesn’t make them entitled to terrorize their neighbors. We know, you know this already, but sometimes the exhaustion and stress that comes with travel embeds itself so deep in the brain that common sense goes out the window. If you want to avoid being the most hated family on the flight, don’t let them kick the seat in front of them, don’t let them play their games or watch movies without headphones, and don’t let them invade others’ space.
13. Only offer up travel- friendly toys...
Leave the toys that come in a million tiny pieces at home. Anything that can come apart and get lodged in the seat or roll down the aisle, never to be seen again, is not plane-friendly. Stick with the simple toys!
14. ...and the old faves.
Try not to forget that one stuffed animal or blankie that proves to be the comforting key to stopping tantrums in their early stages.
15. Actually, just don’t be afraid to offer up anything for entertainment.
Allow your rules about TV, computer, and video game time limits to go out the window. Whatever will keep them occupied and quiet is your best plane friend.
16. Don’t let assholes get to you.
No matter how prepared and considerate you are, at the end of the day, you still can't control whether or not your baby just feels like screaming their head off in that tiny sky-box filled with potentially un-empathetic strangers. Clearly, they've never taken a little one on a flight, or they've just forgotten what it's like. You can't control their reactions to you, so hard as it may be in such close quarters, try to ignore those dirty looks.
Once you land
17. Get the complimentary stroller.
If you didn't bring your own, many airports have these at the ready. The free-er your hands are for this part, the better!
18. Accept help.
Kind strangers don't want to watch you push a cart full of teetering bags while carrying your screaming baby and dipping and weaving through people and suitcases. If someone offers to help you out to your car, set your pride aside and let them.