Having a new baby means everyone wants to meet him and you can’t wait to share your little bundle of joy with the world. My husband and I live in Baltimore and his immediate family is in Atlanta which required us to do bit of travel right from the get go. Initially I was nervous about flying with a baby less than six months old, I didn’t want to be that mom with the screaming child on the airplane, I was afraid of the stares I’d receive when passengers saw we were traveling with such a young child. Having survived three round trip flights in four months my fears were eased as it proved my initial apprehension was the worst part of the whole ordeal. Traveling with a young baby was much less stressful than initially anticipated. Below is a list of tips to make air travel with a young child enjoyable:
1) Bring child’s birth certificate. We were only asked for it once but it’s best to be prepared. Also, attendant told us a copy is just as good as the original
2) Allow yourself extra time to avoid being frazzled. Baby might need a diaper change or feeding along the way, be sure to factor in additional time so you aren’t left scrambling
3) Check as much as you can so you aren’t lugging unnecessary bags and suitcases through the airport. You will have enough to worry about with the baby and items you need on the plane, anything extra is best to be checked when you immediately enter the airport.
4) Put child in a front carrier through security and while navigating the airport. Airport security always allowed me to keep my son in the front carrier (I was only asked to remove the bottle of breast milk for additional screening.) Having my hands free made it easy to load the rest of my carry-ons onto the scanner belt.
5) Bring a baby blanket. Temperatures on the plane can be unpredictable. Also, a snuggly blanket might help baby to be more comfortable and doze off for a few minutes while flying.
6) Pack in your carry-on snacks, toys, and any other entertainment/distractions that will help keep your child occupied
7) A change of clothes for both baby and mama. Of course, diaper explosions happen at the most inopportune moments; be prepared! (I learned this the hard way)
8) Hold onto the car seat and stroller until you reach the gate. These items can be checked at the gate right before boarding the plane which makes them immediately available again upon reaching your destination. Car seat and/or stroller can be helpful in transporting baby throughout the airport if you chose to do so.
9) Prepare a bottle or breast feed your child doing take-off and landing. This should help with pressure in their ears.
On the first flight I was impressed with how accommodating airport personnel were when they saw I was traveling with a small child. Other passengers were also welcoming and one even offered to hold the baby while I went to the bathroom. Relax, most people are understanding of parents with babies and are more than willing to help out if they can. And the best part, if your baby isn’t happy on the flight you aren’t the first mom with an upset child and you likely won’t see most of those passengers ever again.
By Jessica S.