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Flying with Baby (part 2)

people walking through airportOkay, so you packed your bags and you’re ready to head to the airport with baby!**
Before you leave, make sure you have these important documents (easily accessible): a copy of baby’s birth certificate (as baby’s ID), baby’s passport (if flying internationally), and a letter of consent to travel (if traveling without baby’s other parent).
Now, to navigate the next part of your trip! To help it go a little more smoothly, here are a few good things to know.

At the Airport

airport check-in sign
If possible, check your infant car seat.  It’s one less thing to have to pull through the airport and fumble with (especially if you’re flying with “infant in arms” on the plane). Just make sure to buy a padded car seat bag in which to check it.  This will help minimize possible damage from traveling through the baggage maze at the airport.
If you opt to bring a car seat and/or stroller with you through the airport, buy or borrow a lightweight, water-resistant gate check bag.  This should help protect it somewhat once it’s gate checked.  Whether or not there’s inclement weather, it’s more likely to stay clean and dry as it’s being loaded onto and unloaded from the plane.
strollers with baby gearA stroller is often the easiest item to aid in the transportation of infant car seats through the airport (and pretty much everywhere, amiright?).
Just be sure to verify the vehicle you will be using at your destination is large enough to accommodate it.  Some rental cars are barely big enough to fit your suitcase(s), much less a stroller.

Going Through Security

Traveling with baby, you can bring more liquids than the average passenger as long as they’re for feeding and/or cleaning baby (think bottles, sippy cups, and wipes).  If you are carrying more liquids, tell the TSA officer and ask how they would like them handled.  Also be aware your liquids may be subject to testing.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to give yourself more time before your flight to go through the screening process.
Make sure liquids are easily accessible.   I suggest packing them in their own bag (a gallon Ziploc or something similar).  This way you can show your friendly TSA officer exactly what liquids you have and they can be put through the x-ray machine separately.  Include any baby snack pouches you bring in this bag, as well.
water bottles
I often bring an empty water bottle for myself through security and refill it once I’m on the other side.  As a breastfeeding mother, I drink a lot of water.  And I hate paying for water, especially at the airport!

What to Wear

slip on shoesWear shoes you can easily slip on and off!  Sometimes it feels as though you are completely undressing and redressing going through security.
It’s much easier to accomplish this if you don’t have to fumble with removing and re-tying a pair of sneakers while juggling baby, bag(s), belts, coats, etc.
mom wearing baby
Wear a wrap or soft structured baby carrier to hold baby.  That way, they can sleep and you can be (mostly) hands free, both going through the airport and getting on the plane.
Baby must be taken out of carrier (unless in a sling) and carried in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
Once on the plane, FAA regulations state you must take them out of the carrier during taxi, takeoff, and landing.
Some carriers are easier than wraps for accomplishing this, especially if baby’s asleep, so just keep that in mind when choosing which of your carriers to bring.

On the plane

Yay!  You made it through the airport!  After getting yourself settled into your seat on board your aircraft, open your air vents.
Although I used to always freeze on airplanes, I find that babies make great heaters!  Also, this is the “cleanest” air possible.  It keeps the air moving in front of you, so you’re less likely to encounter airborne germs.
baby sucking on pacifier

Possibly one of the most important tips– make sure to have baby nursing or sucking on a bottle/pacifier or some type of food during take-off and landing.
And/or when you feel pressure in your own ears.  This includes when there is any potential turbulence since they may change altitude to avoid it.
Hopefully, this should help avoid major discomfort incurred during significant changes in altitude.
One other tip for the plane: remember those extra liquids you packed?  Be sure to carefully open lids and reseal once airborne to avoid any potential spraying incidents caused by pressure build up.  Especially cups with flip-up straws.
It’s usually a good rule to check with your airline to find out if there are any additional airline specific policies you need to know when bringing baby on board.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

flying with baby
In general, most people are very helpful when they see me traveling with littles.
While a few people may not have “been there” before, most of us know that you are doing the best you can to help make this a comfortable trip for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight!  It’s going to be great!

**If you missed last week’s blog about things to pack, you can check it out here.  One thing I forgot to mention: a sound machine may also be useful.

Flying with Baby (part 1)

Congratulations!  You booked your timeshare and now you are mentally packing your things, ready to take off your next grand adventure…with baby!  How fun!
Mom with flying baby on beach at sunset

But, at some point, it dawns on you how much (stuff) you have to think of when traveling with your new little.  Babies, despite being adorable milk chugging machines, can require quite a bit of gear!
Was this really such a great idea?  Should I book a nanny, instead?  Possibly.  In all seriousness, though, babies are great and, more than likely, there will come a time when you will find life demands bringing baby with you.
So, from one traveling parent to another, let me help make your trip with baby a little easier.
Let’s focus first on the ever-dreaded topic of FLYING with baby.
Early on in the flight, someone usually comes over the intercom to remind you to please remain seated throughout the flight and keep your seat belts fastened, in case you encounter unexpected rough air.  That is a good thing to remember when traveling with your little.
Though we may be as prepared as possible, sometimes things happen that there is just no way to anticipate.
For all those other times, here are a few helpful suggestions:

What to Pack (in your diaper bag)

Baby clothes on changing table

In addition to the usual things you may or may not carry with you on the daily, this is one time you want to make sure to pack a change of clothes for baby…and you!  Even if the flight isn’t very long.
In the event of a blowout and/or baby getting sick, it’s nice to be able to change.
On that topic, bring a few gallon Ziplocs for soiled clothes and some type of seal-able plastic bags for soiled diapers.
Bring more diapers (and wipes!) than you think you’d normally use.
Stack of diapers
Being on a trip with baby in a soiled diaper because this is the one day she went through 10 times more diapers and wipes than normal can be miserable for everyone.  So, if she normally uses 5 diapers a day, bring at least 10 with you.
You can usually buy more diapers and wipes at your destination.  However, if you’re arriving late at night or at a time when it won’t be convenient to shop for diapers right away, you’ll want to plan for that as well.
If you use pacifiers, be sure to bring AT LEAST two and a pacifier holder. Preferably, one that clips to you or baby so it’s less likely to go missing and/or get dropped when you most need it.

Bring toys and/or books to help entertain baby.

Baby in stroller
Sometimes a couple of new toys or books are nice, since they can be more interesting for longer periods of time than toys they are used to seeing.
Also, if you have any way to attach toys to you, baby, and/or bag, that can be helpful when they decide to randomly throw the toy when you least expect it.
For this reason, balls are not usually the best toy to have on a plane. Just sayin’.
Also, backpacks make some of the best travel diaper bags – way easier to carry, especially if you have a baby in a carrier and often also rolling a bag behind you.

Person holding backpack
What about all that baby gear?

As for larger items, a lot of hotels and resorts will have extra cribs or pack ‘n plays you can use once you get there; you just have to know to ask for them. Best to call ahead and reserve it with your room.
If you’re like me and you like to bring one with you, I love our Lotus Travel Crib by Guava Family. It’s a little pricey, but knowing how much we would be traveling, it has been a good investment for our family.
Also, on a recent trip to Maui, we loved having our Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump Portable Activity Center with us.
Really, though, anything you can fit in your suitcase is fair game.
Alright, go grab your diaper bag and let’s pack to make this next flight a success!People walking through airport
Next week, I’ll give you a few tips to help you as you maneuver through the airport and on the plane.  Stay tuned!