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So, now that Cam has done 4 flights, that makes me a pro, right?
In no means am I a pro about anything related to motherhood, however I’m figuring out what works for us! I’m happy to share some flying tips with you all today. Some of these are tips that were shared with me, and some are just tips I’ve figured out through our own experience. We’ve also done a couple road trips with her so we are trying to cover all the bases.
I was so nervous before my first flight with Cam. I tend to think up the worst possible scenarios and think that will happen. It never does, but I mentally prepare for how I would react. Like, if Cam screamed the entire flight and someone yelled at me or her, or freaked out, what would I do or say?
Anyway, it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought up in my head and here are some of my favorite tips for flying with a baby.
Logistics – Ticketing & Check In’s
So, you don’t need to pay for your child to fly if they are under the age of 2. I guess you could buy a seat if you wanted to put your carseat in it. I brought a birth certificate just in case (I tend to be overprepared) but I’m pretty sure no one would ever ask for babies. No one ever questioned me about anything. I think it probably depends on the airline though.
When you’re checking in for your flight, you will indicate that you have a child under the age of 2 traveling with you and they are sitting on your lap. Your ticket should read “infant on lap” or something like that (should have taken a picture).
When having to change Cam at the airport, I always used the family bathroom. My diaper bag has a portable changing pad in it but I always put extra paper towels down underneath it. Speaking of, don’t forget to pack extra diapers, burp cloths, outfit for baby and for YOU.
Your diaper bag does NOT count as your personal item, although that may vary by airline. On American Airlines, it did not count and I still brought my own carry on.
Questions about breastmilk and formula? Scroll down to the security section.
Gate check your stroller and car seat
This is a personal preference. You can also check them when you check your bags, but I’ve heard they get pretty damaged and thrown away that way. We decided to check ours at the gate so we could push Cam through the airport. It wasn’t a big deal, but it is a little bit of a pain to break them down at the gate. However, invest in these bags because they have been life savers! They protect your belongings from germs, but also being thrown around and it makes your stroller and car seat easily spotted!
Fly in the morning
Okay, I will preface this by saying, know your baby! I actually thought flying at night would be best and she would sleep. Well, we were 0-2 on night flights (meaning she didn’t sleep). She didn’t misbehave or anything but she ended up staying up way past her bedtime. The morning flight was a breeze for us. It actually makes more sense for us moving forward because Cam usually takes a morning nap a couple hours after waking up, so if we plan it correctly, it’s perfect.
Another con of night flights that we experienced is delays. You can keep getting pushed back and eventually cancelled. Hopefully, this will never happen to you, but it happened to us and totally screwed up our travel plans. At least if you’re in the morning, you have a better chance of making it to your destination that day. I guess it just depends on where you’re going. Sometimes, night flights may be the only option and they may work great for you!
Picture of Cam in her jammies while we waited for our very late delays.
Get there early
This one was so important for me mentally, especially the first time. I wasn’t sure how long security would take, the logistics of it all, crowds, Camryn’s demeanor, when she would have to be fed, etc. Plus, Charlotte’s airport has a women’s nursing room so I knew if I had a lot of extra time, nursing Cam or having to pump wouldn’t be an issue. I’d rather feel less stressed being at the airport, through security and everything.
What to Bring
I made checklist after checklist before we left, for the fear that I’d forget the smallest thing. Important things not to forget: baby moniter, baby sleepsacks/pj’s, snuza or other breathing device (if you use one), breast pump, bottles, frozen breastmilk (if applicable – see below), night light, infant tylenol (I always pack this just in case), vitamins (we use this vitamin D), and snacks for you.
I also recommend bringing a boppy nursing pillow if you plan to nurse! It was just more comfortable for both of us, and no one questioned me having it plus my own carry on plus a diaper bag.
Lastly, I also brought my ergo for when Cam wanted out of the stroller. She is hit or miss with the ergo. Sometimes she LOVES it, and sometimes, not so much. Luckily, the last few times, she’s loved it. So, I have actually just worn her on the plane so I can carry her diaper bag and my own bag.
Breast Milk & Security
Here’s how security works, having done it 5 times now (counting our cancelled flight). No one has really made a big deal about breast milk. Some have checked it, and others haven’t. Technically, if it has to be checked, they will either run it under a machine or dip a test strip in the milk. They don’t do anything for frozen milk (or never did for me, anyway). I just kept my bottles and frozen milk in this cooler. If you have ice packs, I believe they have to be frozen (this is the ice pack I use). I usually pack 1 bottle and some frozen milk (I freeze and store them in these bags). I figure that if I give Cam a bottle rather than breastfeed, I’ll have to pump anyway so that would restock some milk.
You’ll have to break down your stroller and carseat so it can fit on the conveyer belt. That means you’ll have to take baby out of the carseat and carry him/her through the x-ray machine. You can baby wear if you want through security, but I’ve always just carried her. You don’t have to do the xray one.
Get the Baby to Suck on Take Off
Whether it’s a bottle, pacifier or through nursing, the act of sucking can help with the popping ears. This is where the boppy came in handy, and then also for Cam to sleep on. Also, highly recommend getting a pacifier clip because Cam just randomly spits her paci out and it always falls on the ground. This helps alot.
I also recommend bringing some toys/books to keep them entertained. When we traveled when Cam was 2.5 months, this wasn’t as big a deal, but when she was 4 months, they helped a ton! I always bring Giraffe’s Can’t Dance (it’s my favorite baby book, lol), a baby shaker and Sophie the Giraffe, especially because she’s starting teething.
Well, that’s all I can think of. Let me know if you have any other questions! I will say I was very intimidated to fly while she was so young, but I think just being extra prepared helped so much. And I hope it makes flying easier as she gets older.
Do you love or hate flying?
Where’s the coolest place you’ve flown to? Mine would have to be either Australia or South Africa – though both flights were much too long for me.