Taking a baby on an airplane seems to be the thing parents fear most when traveling. What happens if they cry? Or they don’t sleep? What about their ears? I faced all of these fears on my son’s first flight to Florida when he was just over 2 months old, but I went for it & with a little bit of prep, everything went smoothly.
My first piece of advice is this… When flying with infants or young toddlers, book your seats as far in the back of the plane as possible (the last row is truly ideal). This gives you the most privacy if you’re nursing, you won’t have the entire plane watching you if your child starts crying or acting up and if you need to walk around a bit to calm your baby down, you’ll have more space & less of an audience. It also keeps you closest to the bathroom for clean-ups & closest to the kitchen for heating bottles, rinsing cups, getting extra snacks, etc.
I also remember being really concerned about my little one’s ears. Since they can’t “yawn” or chew gum to keep to keep their ears clear, plan to nurse or give a bottle during take-off and landing when the cabin pressure changes the most severely. The sucking keeps the babies ears regulated and avoids the painful “popping” that can occur at these times. Even a pacifier will do the trick. For older kids, a lollipop works wonders.
There are a few items you should definitely pack to ensure a smooth experience…
– An extra change of baby clothes (in case of an unexpected “explosion”)
– Ziplock baggies (perfect for dirty diapers, soiled clothes or anything “wet”)
– A large, tumbler-style cup (have the flight attendant fill it with hot water before you take off and drop your bottle or food in it for heating)
– Wipes… and more wipes! Good for everything from wiping down the armrests to cleaning up the baby.
– Favorite blanket or stuffed animal (or whatever item comforts them to sleep)
– Baby Benadryl or Tylenol (as a last resort… and I say this jokingly, however it’s sometimes a necessity if they have any kind of congestion, allergy or teething pain that can be accentuated by the cabin pressure.)
Being prepared for every scenario is obviously a good strategy, but don’t go into it fearing the worst. Flying is amazing and the staff & crew are usually more than happy to help you out. The key is to start early and get them used to the process – in fact, fly as much as you can before they turn 2 & you have to buy them their own seat!
P.S. I know sitting in the back of the plane sounds awful… and it also means you’ll be the last ones off. Don’t worry.. chances are your baby will have JUST fallen asleep about 10 minutes before you landed & your gate-checked stroller is going to take its sweet time making its way out of the cargo hold… so there’s really no rush 😉
Here’s my little guy… he’s an easy, seasoned traveler now & has racked up some serious miles over the past 10 years, but he still starts out every flight like this… Safety first! Lol!