Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Traveling with a Baby

Since Liam has been on 14 flights in his 1st year of life, I feel like I have quite a bit of experience to share about traveling (more specifically flying) with a baby.  Our family has another trip planned in less than two weeks, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share some of my tips for traveling!  If you have yet to fly with your little one, don't stress out!  It's much easier than you think, and in my opinion is actually easier the younger they are!  People were surprised when we flew cross country when Liam was only 3 months old, but that was a breeze compared to the busy boy I have now.  Here are my 9 tips for traveling with a baby:

Leave the stroller at home!  I know this might sound crazy to a lot of you, but I can't stress enough how much easier it to minimize what you bring and not have to worry about gate checking your stroller.  Instead wear your baby!  I personally love my Baby Hawk Mei Tai, but there are so many other options out there.  It is so nice to have your hands free and your baby close to you.  Security allows you to keep your baby strapped onto you while going through the metal detectors, which makes this process incredibly easy and you get to skip the full body scan!  However, they do perform a quick hand swab before you can pass through.

Check the car seat with the rest of your luggage.  Airlines will check the car seat for free, so utilize this perk!  I highly recommend purchasing a car seat travel bag (this is the one we use for our Britax Marathon) which will protect your car seat as well as provide some extra storage.  I usually put all of our cloth diapers into the bag with the car seat, which frees up space in my luggage.  The backpack style straps make it so easy to carry the seat from the car to the airport, especially if you have to park quite far away!

Consider using cloth diapers for your flights; you DO NOT want to deal with a blowout on an airplane!  If you already use cloth, then definitely travel with them!  It's just as easy to use cloth on the go as it is at home.  And even if you are not a cloth diaper family, purchase a few for your flights...or at least a cover to use over your disposables.  Cloth contains messes so much better and typically hold up for longer.  I also recommend changing your baby's diaper right before you board.  This way, if your flight is only 2-3 hours you hopefully won't have to do any mid-flight changes.  Not all airplane bathrooms have changing tables, and those that do are absolutely tiny!

Breast or bottle feed your baby during take off & landing and have a pacifier handy.  This helps release the pressure in their little ears by helping them pop!  Liam has never had a problem with his ears on any of his many flights.  I am usually breastfeeding him, but sometimes there is too much activity going on for him to nurse.  That's why it is nice to have a pacifier on hand.  Liam only gets a pacifier in the car & in airplanes (and the occasional restaurant), so the novelty of it is exciting for him and usually calms him down quickly if we need to.

Be efficient when packing your diaper bag.  You don't want to haul a purse around too, so your diaper bag should hold everything for you & baby!  I suggest only bringing the essentials, since your diaper bag can quickly get heavy, especially while wearing your baby.  Here's my short list:
  • diapers, wipes, wetbag, & hand sanitizer
  • extra change of clothes (I usually only bring a onesie to cut down on bulk)
  • Aden & Anais blanket (great for cold planes or a nursing cover and it is compact & lightweight)
  • snack bag (filled with favorites like Puffs or Goldfish if you baby is on solids)
  • two toys (I always bring one small board book and one crinkly toy but nothing too noisy or obnoxious)
  • wallet & cellphone
Utilize what is already provided!  Liam is so fascinated with being in a new environment that we don't usually need to bring many toys with us.  We don't allow Liam to play with our cell phones or Ipad, so we have never used electronics to keep him entertained on flights.  Instead, let your child play with all those fun pamphlets in the seat back pocket.  Liam will spend majority of the flight pulling those things out and putting them back in.  Another favorite airplane item: the bags of peanuts & pretzels are an instant crinkle toy! And he has so much fun putting things in and taking things out of your empty plastic cup.

Book the aisle seat.  Your little one is going to want to watch see all the goings on of the airplane, so they will have a much better view from the aisle.  Plus you get that extra elbow room which is especially nice when you're breastfeeding your baby.  If you are traveling with another person, book the aisle and the window and hope that no one books that middle seat!  You would be surprised how often that seat is then left empty, and you have the whole row to yourselves.  If your baby is sitting up, they will love having their own seat!  In the event that someone does book that seat, our experience is that they are always willing to move to the window so that you and your other passenger can be next to each other.

Wear teething jewelry.  This is just another way to bring a toy without having to lug it around in your diaper bag.  Liam is always fascinated with my teething jewelry (Chewbeads are my favorite), which easily slides back around my wrist or neck once he gets bored of it.  Even if you think you baby isn't currently teething, still bring some teethers.  The pressure changes in the plane could worsen any symptoms they have; you just never know when you'll have a teething baby on your hands!

Order water.  Always order water!  While you might be tempted to order that ginger ale that you only every drink when you fly, just don't!  Babies are squirmy and the chances of that ginger ale ending up in your lap is ginormous!  Plus, once your baby is a little bit older they will desperately be trying to drink out of your cup.  Avoid the fight, and get water so that you two can share a drink and not have to worry about potential spills.

I hope some of you find this helpful and that it eases any stress associated with travel!  
Try to enjoy your flights and take in this new experience for your little ones!


  1. This is really helpful, and I love that it is so tuned in to baby's needs. I think a bunch of this stuff would help older kids too!

  2. Great tips!! I definitely agree with wear your baby. We travelled to Northern Ireland when my daughter was 4 months old, and that's what I did. I did bring a small umbrella stroller that I brought at a thrift store to have for the times my mum had her, since her back wasn't great at the time.

  3. This is great, but I would totally bring a stroller... or end up buying one. I usually go somewhere very, very hot like Florida in the summer, and the last thing that anyone wants in that heat is to have extra body heat.

  4. Great tips!
    Although with two toddlers, my stroller would be a must. I don't have it in me to wear 60+ pounds of kids my whole trip. Lol. I wish I had the opportunity to travel when we only had one. Would have been fun!


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