As avid travelers ourselves, we knew flying with a baby was going to happen – a lot. At three months, she tagged along to a wedding in Vegas (Luckily, the FIL and MIL joined us to babysit!), then a trip to Pittsburgh to see family, a few trips to Flordia to see my folks, a trip to Denver for Christmas. At 15 months, she is a pretty seasoned traveler!
But, that first trip was terrifying. The first trip by myself with her was even scarier. I see lots of parents ask for tips about flying with your baby or a toddler, so I wanted to share what worked for us!
Getting Through Airport Security w/Baby
Yes, you can take on breastmilk, baby food, formula, and juice. Also, there is no 4 oz limits for liquids for children or babies.
You have likely read a lot of horror stories about moms being forced to dump breast milk or overly targeted for having a breast pump.
I want to be clear here: Those stories are important to share (because it is bullshit when it happens), but it is NOT the norm. I have traveled dozens of times since my kid was born (with and without her) and have never been hassled for having a pump or milk. PLEASE don’t be afraid to travel because of horror stories.
Resources: Here is the TSA page about traveling with children. If you are worried about being harassed, have it pulled up on your phone to show to agents.
Getting Around the Airport
I highly recommend babywearing; it makes getting around the airport so.much.easier. You will have hands free to pull luggage and hand over tickets. For me, it is the key to successfully flying with your baby or toddler.
We do not generally take a stroller when we travel (This totally depends on where you are going, but since we usually go to see family, there is usually a stroller at the other end of our flight).
If you DO travel with a stroller, you can check it at the gate (generally for free). So, you can use it to lug all your stuff around the airport and check it at the plane. Do check to see if the airline you are flying has a weight limit on strollers (It is usually around 20 pounds).
What To Do With The Carseat When Flying?
The safest place for your baby to be in a plane is in a car seat. That is the truth of the matter.
But, if you (like me, so I am so not judging) take advantage of the infant in arms option, you might be wondering what to do with your car seat. You have a few options:
- Check your car seat at the gate (which means you have to lug it through the airport)
- Check your car seat at the luggage counter (could get knocked around and damaged)
- Rent a car seat at your destination (can be expensive, and you don’t know the history of the seat)
- Have a cheaper, travel-only car seat (this way it is not the end of the world if it gets damaged)
We go the route of checking the car seat at the luggage counter to avoid having to lug it through the airport. Once she is big enough to have her own seat, we will take it on the plane. You do what works best for your family.
If your kid is over two, they will need their own seat and you will want to bring your car seat with. There are a TON of hacks on Pinterest to make lugging that carseat around a bit easier.
Airplane Entertainment for Your Toddler
Gel Window Clings: They can put them on the window or the seat back.
Puffs Container Bank: Get a puffs container, cut a slot in the top, buy a pack of fake coins at the dollar store. Let your kid put them in the “bank” one at a time. Once they finish, take them out and start over again.
Stickers & Paper: Peel the stickers off and hand them to them to put on the paper. Another great time waster.
Stackable Cups: Arilyn is in the stage where she likes to stack and unstack stuff, so this was a great time killer.
Colored Pens: Easier to deal with than crayons – they can’t bite or break them! Best for toddlers closer to two years or so.
Tablet w/ Headphones: LilGadgets brand works great. The key is to practice with the headphones before the plane ride. They will take them off a lot at the beginning, but the will eventually get used to wearing them. (We use the tablet as a last resort!)
Snacks, Snacks, & More Snacks: I brought all of her favorites: goldfish, pretzels, puffs, tangerines, and string cheese. She also loves the cookies from Delta, so that is always a plus.
Final Tips for Flying With Your Baby or Toddler
- Before boarding the plane, let them run around the airport to burn off as much energy as possible!
- Walk up and down the aisles of the plane with her when the seatbelt sign is off. If she doesn’t stop fussing, just let her get up for a few minutes.
- The diaper changing table on the airplane is super tight! Change them right before boarding and then only if they poop on the plane. Consider using an overnight diaper if you can!
- Bring an extra set of clothing (at least a shirt) for you as well as the kid. Diaper blowouts happen, and there is a good chance you will be holding the kid when it does.
Overall, try to enjoy the flight. Babies are flexible, and most adjust fine to flying. But, you are not a bad parent if your kid screams the whole flight. It happens.
Featured Image: Pexels
In Post Image: Taken by Writer, Used With Permission