Flying with an infant can be nervewracking for parents.
Worrying about your baby crying, wondering if he or she will have a dirty diaper and where you will change it, and simply remembering all of the stuff babies need can be overwhelming.
Use our survival guide to have a smooth trip.
Flying with an infant is one of the most challenging things you'll ever do as a parent.
While most doctors will tell you that you can take a baby as young as just two weeks old on a flight, keeping an infant quiet and comfortable on a plane can be tricky. It can be even trickier when you see all of your fellow passengers giving you the side eye for bringing a baby on board the plane.
That being said, there are some steps you can take to prepare both your baby and yourself prior to flying. It will make the experience more bearable and prevent you from running into any major problems while flying with an infant.
Here is a guide that will help your first flight with your new baby go off without a hitch.
Start by Putting Together a Checklist of Everything You'll Need
When preparing for flying with an infant you should put together a checklist at home of all the various things you'll need on the plane. It's a good idea to begin this process a few days before your flight so that you don't accidentally leave anything behind. It can be difficult hunting down baby supplies inside an airport.
You should spend time thinking about the things you'll want to have on the plane with your baby and place them in a bag that will be easy to carry around.
Here are some of the items you'll want to consider packing:
- Baby wipes
- Several baby blankets
- At least one or two changes of clothes for your baby
- Nursing pads, if you plan on breastfeeding (more on that later!)
- Several pacifiers
- Books and toys, if your baby is old enough to play with them
- Large Ziploc bags that can fit soiled clothes
The goal is ultimately to keep your baby comfortable while on the plane. If there are other items you want to bring along to accomplish this goal, feel free to put them into your baby's bag.
Consider Whether or Not You'll Breastfeed on the Plane
If you're breastfeeding your baby, you might be anxious about doing it on a plane. After all, there won't be much room for you to maneuver while breastfeeding your baby, and there will also be lots of other people sitting right around you.
But breastfeeding a baby on a plane isn't as difficult as it might seem. Many mothers choose to use a blanket to create a safe space in their seat where they can breastfeed in private.
You might want to consider doing this if you're worried about breastfeeding while flying with an infant. You might also want to consider skipping breastfeeding altogether and bottle-feeding your baby instead.
Make Sure Your Baby's Bottles Are Ready to Go
If you end up choosing to bottle-feed your baby as opposed to breastfeeding, you'll need to prepare your baby's bottles prior to heading off to the airport.
You are allowed to mix up baby formula for an infant ahead of time and have it scanned by the TSA when going through security. However, if you want to avoid doing that, you can also just bring bottles with formula powder in them and mix up your formula on the plane.
Airline attendants will usually be able to bring you warm water without any problem once you're on your flight. From there, all you'll need to do is mix the formula up with the water and give it to your child.
Decide If You're Going to Bring a Car Seat Along With You
One of the great things about flying with an infant is that you don't have to pay for the baby to fly. As long as the baby sits on your lap throughout the duration of the flight, he or she will fly for free.
But if you don't want to go this route, you do have the option of paying for a seat for your baby and putting a car seat in it. This will keep your baby safe and allow him to get some sleep on your flight while you kick back and relax.
You should think about bringing a car seat on your flight and paying for a seat if your flight is especially long. It will keep your baby comfortable while also giving you breaks every now and then.
Bring a Stroller That's Easy to Handle
Whether you decide to bring a car seat with you to the airport or not, you should definitely bring a stroller that you can put your baby in while you're walking around.
Just make sure it's a stroller that isn't too bulky. It also shouldn't be too difficult to break it down and store it.
Airline attendants will be able to help you stow your stroller away once you get on board a flight. They'll also be able to give your stroller back to you once you land at your destination.
But you're going to hold others up and set the wrong tone for your flight if your stroller is unmanageable. So only bring a stroller that you can set up and break down in a matter of a few seconds.
Prepare Your Baby for Takeoffs and Landings
Takeoffs and landings are usually the most difficult parts of a flight when flying with an infant.
The sudden change in pressure is a new experience for a baby, and it can lead to a lot of tears.
Prior to a takeoff or landing, you should prepare your baby by giving him or her a pacifier to suck on or a bottle. This can reduce the pressure your baby feels and soothe him or her.
Be Extra Nice to Your Neighbors on a Flight
While most people love the sight of a baby under normal circumstances, they often cringe when they see one walk on to a plane. All they can imagine is the baby crying incessantly throughout the entire flight.
You should look to put their minds at ease by being extra friendly when you board a plane. You should also be courteous to them throughout your flight.
Doing something as simple as stepping into a bathroom to change your child's dirty diaper rather than trying to do it at your seat will go a long way towards keeping the peace.
Flying With an Infant Doesn't Have to Be a Hassle
Although flying with an infant can be a challenge the first time you do it, you can do it successfully by planning ahead and staying calm throughout the process.
Both you and your baby will have a more enjoyable experience when you take the time to prepare and consider all of the potential pitfalls that could pop up along the way.
Read our blog for more tips on traveling with small children and keeping them safe.