As a first-time mom, traveling with an infant gave me so much anxiety. I’m talking like a countdown to when I had to board the plane and all the things that I needed to prepare for our trip. Flying with a baby is nerve-wracking, ask anyone that has been there and done that.
For me, my fear stemmed from things that I had seen on the internet. I didn’t want to be that mom with the crying baby that bothered everyone. Now, I could careless but a year ago, I didn’t want to deal with any of that.
With that fear in place, I began my preparation and research on traveling with my baby. I was in multiple mom groups which meant I was constantly searching for threads on the topic. Basically, I was doing a lot of worrying yet when it came to travel day, everything went better than expected.
If you’re reading this due to the fears of flying with your little one, you’ve come to the right place. Honestly, you’ll be fine! Trust me when I say this. It will all be fine and you’re going to make it through it.
Here are some tips and tricks that I figured out when I travel with Cannon. Hopefully, you’ll find something helpful and can use it for your next trip.m
Preparation for the flight
Preparing for your flight is the first step. From packing to getting everything aligned to get to the airport, you have a lot to do. As a parent, there is a lot on your plate when you have to pack from yourself and your child.
Schedule an early or late flight
As someone that has flown frequently for the past few years, I know that the best times to fly with my child are early in the morning or late in the evening. Why? In the morning, there aren’t as many people at the airport which allows us to get through security and to our terminal quickly for time to relax. Cannon is a napper so I can adjust his schedule when necessary. That’s why late flights work for us, as well. It might be a bit busier but it aligns which bedtime which means I can get Cannon to sleep on the flight. I’m big on scheduling things around when I can put Cannon to sleep.
Utilize packing cubes
Listen, you want to avoid overpacking and bringing more bags than you need to. You’re already going to have baby and kid items so downsizing to one suitcase is perfect. Packing cubes were a lifesaver for me. I was able to pack everything that I needed into one medium-sized suitcase. No lie — I packed all my outfits, two pairs of shoes, undergarments, Cannon’s outfits, toiletries for myself and Cannon, and a pack of diapers in the bag. That doesn’t seem like much but when you have a 3/4-month-old that will need multiple outfit changes throughout the day, it’s a lot. Look into packing cubes, I’m telling you that they are the best move.
Don’t forget your stroller/Baby Carrier
Not going to lie, I remembered my stroller but forgot the baby carrier for Cannon’s first flight. It’s the one that I wish I had not forgotten because it would have been so convenient to have. The stroller was great to toss everything into when Cannon didn’t want to ride in the stroller. I have the UppaBaby Cruz which is amazing. And, they have a travel bag which ensures they’ll replace your stroller if anything happens to it on your flight!
Don’t forget your Nursing Supplies
As someone that breastfed, you don’t want to forget your supplies. Invest in a manual pump and pack it along with tons of storage backs and a cooler bag. Don’t forget your nipple cream and cooling pads, either. I find that those are helpful when I get to my destination especially if I’m nursing more than usual through a flight. Pack some pre-pumped milk, as well — you never know when you’ll need to feed your little babe and it could be a moment when you can’t whip your boob out.
Bring the Cirth Certificate
This is very important. When you’re traveling with your child, the airport wants to make sure that is your child. At least, that’s my understanding. Cannon and I don’t share the same last name so I needed to bring his birth certificate as it cemented the fact that I am his mother. Also, it’s helpful with age verifying as children under two get to fly free. Don’t forget the birth certificate, if you’re traveling with a tiny tot or your last names aren’t the same yet.
During the Flight
Many parents get anxious for the behavior of their child during their flight. From experience, I was that mom. Like, I was nervous when it came to how Cannon would react to lift-off and landing, plus how he would react to being up in the air for a few hours. My mind was racing and I’m sure that I’m not the only parent who has experienced this. Honestly, it’s a lot. Especially when you’re worrying about what other people are going to think of you and your possibly screaming child.
Get the Window Seat
My preference is the whole row, but the window seat is my number one pick. When we took our first flight, we made sure that we had the window seat and middle seats. More so, because I was breastfeeding at the time and wanted the privacy. Wear a nursing top for your flight — I had a cool hoodie nursing top that I just had to tuck Cannon’s head into, plus my mom held up a blanket when necessary. The window seat is perfect for privacy on an already small area where you don’t really get privacy. Being inside the row, kept me from exposing my chest to the aisles of people. Plus, it was useful when Cannon was alert and wanted something to do.
Bring the iPad/Tablet
Honestly, I get the need for it. While we don’t have an iPad for Cannon, we had the Amazon Fire Tablet for him and it’s amazing. Especially with the Disney Plus app — you can download your child’s favorite movies and tv shows. At the time, Cannon wasn’t into too much TV or movies. But when we go on road trips, the tablet is a lifesaver as he watches his Puppy Dog Pals or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the entire ride. And, you can put educational things on your child’s tablet, so don’t think their brains are going to melt or something from screentime.
Nurse/Bottle Feed/Snack during takeoff & landing
This is advice that I had heard from so many people and I truly agree with it — nurse, bottle feed, or give a pacifier to your child during takeoff and landing. Their little ears are going to pop and you want to comfort them any way that you can. I found that nursing Cannon distracted him and put him to sleep. My main concern was changing altitudes and the affect they would have on him. Thankfully, he went to sleep. To be honest, he was amazing on the plane and I’m hoping it’s not a fluke for the next time we try to take a flight.
Bring flight activities
When it comes to your kids, you know them the best. For my child, I know that he needs to be busy. He is very active and loves to be doing something. That’s why figuring out different flight activities is important. If he doesn’t want to watch a movie or TV show, then we’re going to find an activity on his tablet like the Elmo facetiming app or I’m going to bring a few small puzzles that I know he will love to do. It’s all about keeping your child busy, if they don’t like sitting still or being still. If they’re curious (and a toddler), let them take the window seat to point things out to you. Cannon loves to point out things that he knows the words to. It’s all about finding things that will keep them distracted and happy.
Sleeping child is the best move
Let’s be real — this is the goal. I don’t know about you, but getting my child to nap on the flight is liek refueling him for what is ahead. A nap would lead to him being awake and alert for the activities that are to come. Without a nap, we have a grouchy toddler that is itching for sleep which is why I find that flight naps are the best. If your child fights the nap, it’s okay. Cannon does that from time to time. In that case, we just go with the flow.
Traveling with a little tot can be fun. Yes, I said it.
My experience with Cannon has been positive. And, I love seeing my child experience new things. As we approach the “terrible twos” and “threenager” age, I’ll see what my opinion will be once we can travel again. But, I truly enjoy taking Cannon places and letting him explore.
We’re hoping to do the beach next year (originally this year). Cannon doesn’t like his hands to be dirty, so I’ll let you know how that goes. He’s a wild one, so who knows? He might like the sand, he might hate it. It’s going to be something to experience.
After 2020 goes, I can’t wait to travel with my little one again. And, I mean that.