Flying with your baby can be challenging, but you can make things go more smoothly with good advance planning. You'll want to do the following:
Flying with a baby can be a bit of a chore, especially if you're going it alone. How can you juggle baby, luggage, and all the baby care essentials that you'll need in order to make the flight go smoothly? Fear not – with some good pre-planning, you can stay sane while taking a plane trip with baby.
The first thing you'll want to consider is how you will carry the baby. Tiny babies can be easily carried in a sling or front-pack style carrier. This will leave your hands free for security checks and your carry-on bag. An added advantage of carrying baby on is that you'll avoid having to lug around a car seat or bulky stroller. This works best for infants under one year old.
It might be worth it to take along a stroller for your toddler. Carrying a squirming toddler is no piece of cake; plus a two-year old is a lot heavier than a two-month old. Remember too that children age two and older are required to have their own seat on the plane. While a car seat is not required while in flight, babies and toddlers may feel safer when strapped into a car seat. The car seat also helps create a familiar environment, and baby is likely to fuss less if he feels safe in a familiar seat.
You'll need to bring a carry-on with all of the essentials for baby. This includes diapers, wipes, extra clothes, toys, and food. Remember that new safety regulations limit the amount of outside liquids that can be brought through a security checkpoint, though allowances are made for reasonable amounts of formula or breast milk.
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You never know when unforeseen delays could arise. A good strategy is to bring dry foods like baby cereal and formula that you can add liquid to later. You can carry on liquids that you buy in the airport after you pass the security checkpoint, or just ask flight attendants for liquids to prepare baby's food.
Flying with a baby will go far more smoothly if you travel light. Instead of packing two weeks worth of diapers, wipes, formula, and other baby care essentials, plan to purchase them when you arrive at your destination. Or, ship them to your destination ahead of time.
For substantial baby gear like high chairs, strollers, and car seats, there are rental services that you can use while you are away on your trip. Because many airlines now charge extra for more than one checked item, it may actually be cheaper to rent these items on your trip.
It's much easier to manage flying with a baby if you don't have to navigate large crowds. Travel during off-peak times like early mornings, late at night, or mid-week. If you choose a nighttime or early morning flight, baby might just sleep through.
Some babies are more sensitive than others when it comes to air pressure changes during takeoff and landing. There's nothing worse than flying with a baby who's inconsolable because of pain from changes in eardrum pressure. Depending in the age of the child, breastfeeding, a bottle, a pacifier, or chewing on candy or gummy snacks can help. You can also buy special silicone earplugs at many drugstores that help equalize ear pressure. These are suitable for babies over one year old.
If you take the time to plan ahead, flying with a baby doesn't have to be a nightmare. You'll find that things will be much easier if you travel light, plan ahead, and try to go with the flow. There's always a bit of unpredictability involved when traveling with a baby, but good planning can make things go much more smoothly. Just remember to relax and enjoy your vacation.