Last week I shared 5 tips for flying with an infant. Here are five more. What did I miss? Share your tips for holiday traveling with a baby in the comments!
6. Pack carefully.
Careful, organized packing is probably the most essential step to flying with a young baby. Here is what I pack for Baby to ensure a stress-free flight:
- One full extra outfit (onesie and pants or pjs) for Baby, along with an extra onesie/bodysuit.
- 1 extra diaper for every hour you’ll be traveling, plus 2. (So if you leave your house at 8:00 am and plan to arrive at 2:00, bring 8 diapers. Layovers or cancelled flights become a lot less fun quickly if you run out of diapers and airports aren’t known for their abundance of baby supplies (why is this?).
- Pacifiers. If you’re baby takes one, bring them. Again, pack several.
- Changing pad. Those rubber, washable, foldable changing pads are lifesavers.
- 2 blankets. (Airplanes are grimy places. The likelihood of one blanket making it through the airport disaster free is slim.
- Bottles. Even if your baby nurses, it can be a lifesaver to have a bottle on hand during travel. Security guidelines normally ask you to show the bottles at security. If they are over 3 ounces, they test the liquid (without touching the milk). I just normally try to bring a couple of small bottles instead of one big one to avoid the hassle of the testing.
- Any diaper ointment.
- A few small wet baby washcloths in a Ziplock.
- An empty large Ziplock to hold dirty washcloths, dirty clothes, diapers, etc.
(You can also download a printable version of this list.)
Airline guidelines allow traveling infants an extra bag of their own. However, unless you’re traveling with another adult, this can be it’s own disaster. I normally bring only my small cross-body bag with my wallet and other essentials, my Ergo, and one bag – packed as lightly as possible- for both of us. That way, I can put Baby into the Ergo and then I only have one bag to carry.
When I pack for myself, I bring as little as possible. A sweater, some makeup, my wallet. I’ve quit bringing a book (!!) because the likelihood of me actually reading while traveling alone with Miles is just none. Zero. Nada. I am normally working so I do normally pack my computer, but a tablet is less bulky. I also always bring my phone charger.
7. Put important documents like IDs and credit cards in an accessible place.
Nothing makes me more frantic than losing my ID right before I go through security. Before you get to the airport, pull out your ID, boarding pass or check-in information, credit card, and a little bit of cash and tuck it in some secure, external pocket. Once you are through security, re-pack your ID but leave your card and cash and boarding pass in an external (secure) pocket that you can access with one hand.
8. Dress comfortably.
I hate dressing for travel like I just woke up at summer camp. On the other hand, traveling with a baby makes comfortable clothing even more important. My go-to travel outfit is a pair of skinny jeans, flat shoes, and comfortable, cool top. If the weather makes traveling without a coat questionable, bring a light coat that can easily fold into your bag.
8. Dress Baby comfortably.
I always put Miles in something that covers his legs and feet and normally something short-sleeved. Depending on your baby, this will vary. Miles tends to be warm-blooded and gets very irritable if he has too many layers on, but I don’t like his legs and feet to be exposed to all of the griminess of the airport and security. Also, having something comfy covering his legs makes the Ergo a little more comfortable for long periods.
9. Avoid hot liquids.
This is one of my pet peeves. Sane, level-headed, regularly decent parents forget that they have an infant strapped to them and don’t have a second thought about purchasing a tall cup of scalding liquid from the airport Starbucks. Liquid burns can be deadly for small babies. Infant skin burns much more quickly than adult skin. Burns are also much more likely to happen if you have a wiggly baby and are moving them around between the carseat and the carrier or baby wrap. Please do your baby and yourself a favor and purchase your coffee and tea iced during travel.
10. Be a Tiger Mama.
This one can be hard for me because I hate to be mean or grouchy. But you DO NOT have to let random strangers touch your baby. And they will try. I normally don’t mind people reaching for his sock-covered toes as much as I mind them reaching for his face. Figure out what you mind and don’t mind and draw the line. If someone is trying to touch your baby and it makes you uncomfortable, say so. Stand by with something along the lines of “Sorry! I’m a pretty cautious mother and he has a sensitive immune system (which is true of all babies!). I appreciate your kindness but please avoid touching him.” Will it be awkward? Possibly. But that’s ok. There are lots of germs in airports and you never know what someone is carrying. It’s ok to be protective of your young baby. (On the other hand, if you’re not a super protective mommy and don’t mind if the occasional well-intentioned person reaches out to pat your baby, that’s ok too.)