Just the thought of traveling with baby can make some parents crazy. Having a baby is a lot of work, traveling as an adult is a lot of work, and the idea of combining the two can just make a headache worse. However, some families love traveling so much that adding a baby to the mix just makes sense. Others travel out of necessity, perhaps to see family on the other side of the country. Whatever your reason to travel with baby, we want to make sure you've planned ahead to make things a little easier.
Tips to make traveling easier
1. Buy baby her own ticket. It seems tempting to save the $250 and have baby sit on your lap but we all know those plane seats are tight. Pick out your seats ahead of time, alert the airline you'll be traveling with an infant, and give yourself some space. Having that infant car seat with you might save you some headache in the end. Baby is already comfortable riding in it, it may be nice to have it handy in that spare seat. The spare seat also gives you room to lay her down if you need to.
2. Pack extra supplies to keep at hand. All of us have counted out diapers only to find out that baby has had a few too many blowouts and you are stuck with no spares! Be sure to pack more than you'll need in clothes, milk/formula, diapers, wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, and that wet bag. You'll be happy you did!
3. Pack a stroller. If you've never traveled with a baby it's easy to think that a stroller will get in the way but it won't! Not only is it the easiest way to push baby around the airport fast, but it also becomes your personal luggage cart. Most airlines will let you check the stroller plane-side, so get a pink tag and check it right before you get on. That way when you get off, the stroller is waiting for you at the door, just like a little chauffeur.
4. Sit near the front of the plane. The back of the plane is nosier and vibrates more. Yes, baby is almost guaranteed to cry so where you sit won't matter to the passengers. You'll be more comfortable sitting near the front of the plane. Be patient and polite. It's ok to apologize for your baby, you may even gain a few sympathetic nods. Many people have flown with children before and know how hard it is. Just acknowledging that you realize this is difficult for everybody can be rewarding.
5. Keep them sucking! Try to keep baby sucking during takeoff and landing, whether that’s by nursing, a bottle, or a pacifier – and don’t be afraid to administer a bit of acetaminophen if you think their ears are in pain.
6. Pack slip on diapers. Sometimes these are referred to as toddler diapers or training pants, but not all airlines have the space to properly change your baby (especially if you didn't get the extra seat). The pull-ups are easy to change for urine diapers without the need of a changing table.
7. Read up on the flying rules. Yes, airlines have their own set of rules for flying with an infant and it's a good idea to know what they are before you start your journey. For example, you can read Southwest's rules here.
"If you're traveling with an infant or small child, you should know that proper use of a Child Restraint System (CRS) enhances child safety on aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend that infants and small children who weigh 40 pounds or less be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air."
However you decide to get your trip done, do your best to stay relaxed. Baby will definitely pick up on your vibe and most of the time, there is nothing you can do about a problem. Just go with it and turn those lemons into lemonade.