Raylee recently had her very first flight. We went on vacation to Florida with Travis’ family, and there was no way I was driving all the way there with her. She is terrible on car rides! But I was nervous about flying with a baby. What if she cries the whole time and everyone hates us? What if her poor little ears won’t pop and she’s in pain?
I’m happy to report, though, that Raylee’s first two airplane rides were successes. For the first flight, she was wide awake even though it was past her bedtime. There was just too much to see and touch and even taste! On the second flight back home, she slept for half of it and played her heart out for the last half. Not a single passenger gave us the evil eye! Everyone loved her!
With only two flights with a baby under my belt, I can’t say I’m an expert. But I do have some tips — some from friends and family and others come straight from my own experience.
Tips for Flying with a Baby
Forms of ID
First of all, if you have a baby under 2 and you plan to keep them on your lap, you need to have proof of their age. Bring a copy of their birth certificate with you! Check your airline’s guidelines on this before you leave. We didn’t think about this until we were about 10 minutes from the airport. We did not bring any form of ID for Raylee. Thankfully, the nice airline attendant let it slide for us so we didn’t have to purchase another seat. We made sure we had proof of age for the next flight!
Some airports have nursing rooms for mamas. Just google your airport to see if they have one and where it’s located. As far as making our way through the airport, we kept Raylee in her stroller most of the time. We have a stroller that her carseat clicks into. It was really pretty easy to take apart and fold up. To get through security, we had to take the stroller and carseat apart. The carseat went through the conveyor belt and they had to check the stroller part by hand. I just carried Raylee through the metal detector with me. It was actually a lot more simple than I had expected. And everyone was very nice so that helped a lot! We took only one carry on bag and it was a back pack, so that helped too!
Thankfully, our flights weren’t full. The flight attendants let us put our carseat in one seat even though we weren’t using it. That guaranteed us to have a row to ourselves. My husband sat on the aisle seat so he could easily get up and walk around with the baby if needed. Or to let Raylee stand up in the aisle, but I don’t think we ever needed to do that. I sat in the middle so I could turn away from other passengers when nursing. We kept the carseat next to the window.
Everyone told me to nurse during take off and landing, so that is exactly what I did. Our flight was really short — only one hour (thank goodness). So I nursed on one side during take off, and I nursed on the other side during landing. It worked out great! If you aren’t breastfeeding, have bottles ready. This helps the baby’s ears with the pressure. You could also use a pacifier or snacks during these times too.
I tried to bring all kinds of toys for Raylee. She seemed to get tired of one quickly, so I’d whip out the next one. I tried to bring toys she didn’t play with often at home so they would seem new and different. I also brought random items that aren’t necessarily toys. She is really curious right now and loves examining items. So I brought a ribbon, a ball of scotch tape, a teething necklace, and one of her new favorite items was a Nerds rope in the wrapper (the candy). She loved pulling the safety cards out of the seat backs and looking behind us at the passengers back there.
I brought a muslin blanket in case the flight was cold, but we didn’t use it. I had dressed Raylee in short sleeves and pants, and she seemed comfortable the whole time. Layers are a good idea — for mommy and daddy too. Then just bring a light blanket in case! We also made sure to use overnight diapers, so she doesn’t need changed as often. In fact, we are starting to use these all the time!
We also had a carrier with us. Toward the end of the flight, Travis would put her in the carrier and wear her off the plane. It just made it easier. If you have a younger baby, wearing her might help her sleep for most of the flight. Some carriers allow you to nurse while wearing the baby too, although I’ve never been able to master that.
Someone recommended taking a nursing pillow to extend your lap and keep things from falling. It’s definitely hard to reach down and pick up toys with a baby on your lap! Another friend recommended taking Clorox wipes to wipe down the seats and everything around you to help keep baby from getting sick after the flight.
Those are our tips. I was so thankful Raylee did well. It was a huge relief for me!
What are your tips for flying with a baby? What’s the longest flight you’ve taken with a little one?
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