Flying with a Baby
Last month we took Ian on his first flight at 3.5 months. I've gotten questions from a couple of my friends who are also new Momma's considering flying with their babies. So I decided to write a blog post :)
We learned quite a few thing when it comes to taking a flight with a baby, here are a few things we were glad we knew, or wish we would have known!
Almost all airlines allow children under 2 to fly free [ IF ] they sit on a lap and don't take up a seat. Some airlines also offer discounted seats for babies if you want to pay for one.
We decided to do a lap seat because there were 3 of us and we wanted to sit together, especially so I could have help with different laps for the baby to sit on haha.
TSA checks to see if your ticket says "Lap-Infant" so even if you aren't checking bags you probably should stop by the desk if your ticket does not say this. Additionally it's probably a good idea to mention it when you're booking the flight. It's usually an option, but with airlines- you still want to double check the day of. Would hate to wait in the line for TSA only to be turned around.
Also, some airlines require you to bring the child's birth certificate. We flew American Airlines, & they didn't ask for it but I had it just in case.
Research online what document you need for baby in order to get the baby on the flight it's usually airline specific.
Speaking of getting through TSA if you can do pre-check - Do IT. Less time in the line & more than likely you'll be holding the baby so time matters. If the baby is in a carrier (the one we used is linked at the bottom) the baby can stay in the carrier through security. It is a good thing to consider, because grabbing everything off the conveyor belt is tricky when you're holding a child.
& if you have formula. Take it out your bag ahead of time because TSA has to check it.
Just as you prepare for temperature variations on planes, we did the same for Ian. Sometimes it's freezing sometimes it's warm. We dressed him in layers & made sure to carry a blanket.
Oh, by the way. Your diaper bag doesn't count as a carry-on or additional item, so it's a great way to stash some extra stuff if you need to.
A product I highly recommend are noise canceling headphones. (You can find the ones we used linked at the bottom.) You never really how loud or how many times flight attendants come on the speakers. Ian slept through most of the flight with those things on.
We also sat close to the bathroom because, yea they'll probably have stinky diapers on a long flight. We were going from the east to west coast so he had at least 2 stinky diapers one flight. Which leads me to my next recommended product. DIRTY Diaper bags. Disposable changing pads come in handy too.
If you can - boarding the plane earlier is better. Thankfully for us Noah is Military so we get to board with the first group. Yes you sit on the plane longer, but it gives you time to get to your seat without everyone rushing you to get to their seat and get overhead space for their carry-on. I also used that time to do a diaper change before everyone got on board.
Another major tip: Sucking at takeoff and landing helps ears pop, and baby needs their ears to pop just like you. We got him to nurse on takeoff for the first flight, but on the second one he was sleep so I just gave him the pacifier & he did just fine.
All airlines we searched will gate-check a stroller and car seat for free!! If you're flying American Airlines however, they have a little nuisanced rule that strollers over 20lbs have to be checked with other bags at the counter. Ours was over 20lbs so we used the bags linked bellow, they get worn after a the trip but they did a great job of protecting our stroller and car seat. Only a few little scratches on the Stroller ;( (Its also easier to identify your stroller and carseat when collecting your luggage.
Lastly, if you can find a straight flight, get it. The baby was fine but our crew was delayed 1.5 hours so trying to make it to our connecting flight with a baby in tow was a struggle. We missed it by 3 mins but thankfully were able to get the next flight to LAX within the next hour.
We learned A LOT about traveling with a baby on our latest trip, and although we are not experts in this field, sometimes it's nice to hear from someone who did this for the first time, because our mind is fresh to compare what things are like with and without kids. So I hope this helped.
If you can help it...keep baby on the same sleep schedule as home and don't try to acclimate for time changes. Ian was super fussy the first day in California & the first day back home because of the time change.