Flying with a baby is challenging to say the least. From the hassle of getting through security lines to the poorly disguised stares of horror from your fellow passengers when they see you coming… luckily, there are plenty of ways to make flying with babies and toddlers much easier.
In the airport, travel carts are a great way to make traveling with a car seat more bearable. It turns your car seat into a stroller instead of a bulky load to carry around. Remember that you will have to take your baby out of any carrier or holder (even a baby bjorn) when you pass through security so if you notice your little one falling asleep, it’s best to let him or her sleep in your arms so she can stay asleep in the process. Trust me, waking a sleeping baby and taking him out of his carrier to pass through metal detectors is an unpleasant experience. You’ll even have to take your little one’s shoes off so it’s best to not even put them in shoes until you’re at the gate.
Most airlines require that parents purchase a seat for their children once they turn two years of age. Before then, you’ll just need to be sure to alert the airline when you purchase your ticket that you will be travelling with a “lap child”. But, a great way to score that extra seat for your baby without paying for it is to speak with the employees at the gate check in desk. As soon as you get to your gate, take your baby (this part’s important since the baby will do most of the work by making googly eyes at the employees) and ask them if there are any rows with an empty seat that you can move to. It sounds too good to be true but it worked for us every single time we flew with our son before he turned two years old and the airlines were actually happy to do it for us each time.
Now that you’re on the plane, break out the milk. Babies are really sensitive to the changes in cabin pressure during takeoff and landing. They can’t exactly chew gum to deal with it, so the best remedy is to either breastfeed or bottle feed them during these times. The sucking will help their little ears and a bonus is that they may fall asleep doing so and be quiet for the remainder of the flight. Have a pacifier on hand as well in case you aren’t allowed to bring milk or formula on board, though most airlines make an exception to the liquids rule in this instance.
Another great trick is to make a stop at the ninety nine cents store before you leave and spend five or ten dollars (or more depending on how long your flight is…) on toys. Unpack them, throw out all the packaging and stuff them into your carry-on. On the flight, reveal them slowly one by one. Your child will be so excited to play with new toys and you’ll feel like the savviest parent ever.
Hopefully these tricks will work for you, and if not…well, order up your favorite cocktail from your flight attendant and when your baby cries, look around like you’re trying to see who’s kid is making all that racket…
Christine Concetta Gibson