On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 10 diapers and wipes, 9 poop explosions, 8 oz of breast milk, 7 hrs of travel, 6 impending germy relatives, 5 pieces of baby gear, 4 overexcited grandparents, 3 modes of transportation, 2 nervous parents and a crying baby in an airplane.
Worried about taking planes, trains or automobiles for the first time with your new ornament in tow for the holidays? With these tips, you’ll be flying high with your infant and only worrying about the unidentifiable ingredients in your Aunt’s holiday cake. At 15 months old our little one has been on 85+ flights so I think it’s safe to say we’ve had some experience!
Extra Extra Extra – read all about it, diaper days are here to stay! Regardless of the length of flight, I bring 1.5 days worth of diapers and wipes in my carry-on baby bag. Is it overkill? If everything goes to plan then yes. But if you get stranded somewhere, heavily delayed, or snowed in by a poopocalypse then you’ll happily take cover under your pile of diapers. I usually say minimize everything, but when it comes to diapers, the more the merrier in my book to avoid the shit hitting the airplane fan (literally).
Bring more pads than the NFL starting lineup – pads in your carry-on for here, there and everywhere are necessary for a new moms lady bits…because postpartum is gross.
Outfits galore for your baby Zsa Zsa Gabor – bring multiple extra outfits for the baby (aka more than just 1) and throw in an additional shirt for you and your partner as well.
BYOB = Bring Your Own Bibs – dress the baby in a bib so you only have to change that, instead of their entire outfit every time they spit up. And, needless to say, bring lots of extras to keep switching out wet ones for dry ones.
Baby toiletries bag – plan for any scenario by packing a solid baby toiletries bag in your carry-on with all your essentials to treat that nasally baby on the go. Check our Baby Travel Toiletries post to point you in the right direction.
Pick your seat wisely to avoid the baby getting Julia Gulia’d by a drink cart – a window or middle seat is best for whoever is holding the baby, then choose an aisle seat for the diaper changing pit crew for easy bathroom access. Tip: Choose a window and aisle seat in the hopes of the middle seat remaining empty; worst case scenario one of you moves over or you can make someone awkwardly sit in between you and pass the baby over their lap.
You’re going to an airport, not the Arctic Circle – don’t go all Joey Tribiani and dress the baby in everything they own. Put them in a max of 2 layers and bring a blanket in your baby bag in case it’s cold on the airplane.
Leisure suits are back – fly babies in zippered jammies such as Carter’s 1-Piece Snug Fit Cotton PJs and avoid buttons or snaps like you dodge your Grandmother’s lipstick layered kisses.
Easy access – we’re not talking about your lingerie here (I think that’s how we got ourselves into this situation!). Breastfeeding moms are best in easy access attire such as Rosie Pope’s Seamless Nursing Cami with padded shelf bra beneath a comfy sweater, and like your lingerie, no bra is required.
Time is on your side, until it screws you – pack a few days ahead of time, leave for the airport earlier than you would have pre-baby, and assume things will take you more time than usual as you fumble through your first airport attempts with a baby.
Check yo self before you wreck yo self – being a former carry-on only traveler, it took some time to adjust to the checked baggage stage of life, but it’s by far the way to go when traveling with a baby. Free hands, full checked bags can’t lose, so ditch those bags as early as possible (curbside even) and leave that valuable hand space ready for your baby.
Give your baby gear abandonment issues – check the car seat, and even the stroller, at the check-in counter and just wear the baby on you, or use a travel friendly stroller like the Babyzen Yoyo to minimize your life. Car seats and strollers are free checked baggage on almost all airlines, so don’t worry about the cost.
The welcomed kind of preemie – TSA Precheck is the golden ticket to make you fly through security without removing your computer or shoes so you can focus on the baby.
Like with losing your virginity, it’s best to set expectations – tell the flight attendant it’s your first flight. They are magical keepers of all things baby travel wisdom.
Neck and arms need love too – bring a travel pillow that you’d normally use for your neck and wedge it under your arm to comfortably hold the baby on an airplane armrest.
Use boob, bottle or beer to pop it like it’s hot on takeoff and landing – keep those jaws moving and decrease ear discomfort for all ages during times of pressure changes in the cabin. Beer is obviously for the oversized children we call our partners.
Don’t poke the bear – if your baby falls asleep before takeoff or landing, do not wake them up to feed them for ear pressure issues. Letting them sleep through those moments is just as effective.
Replace toys with the original FaceTime – since we’re talking 0-6 months of age here, your baby requires little to no toys for a flight. For 0-3 months toys are just extra things to fumble and drop, and your newborn doesn’t need them at all. For 3-6 months bring one or two teethers with clippable straps. In general, use your face to entertain them, and they’ll find it hysterical. Can you blame them?!
Strap ons for the win – don’t ever let that pacifier hit the germ infested airplane floor. Strap it to your babe or to yourself and bring extras along with sanitizing wipes. Pretend like you’re playing the “hot lava” game we played as kids using the airplane floor as the no-fly zone.
Be mindful about germs – bring a nursing cover even if you’re not breast feeding so the baby can eat, sleep and be protected by strange coughs from seat 3E.
Like bees, babies can smell fear, so CHILL OUT! Traveling with an infant is really no different than going out on the town with them, so stop worrying yourself sick about a few hours on public transportation – it’ll be totally fine if you are prepared and stay calm. Just avoid getting snowed in with no supplies or leaking like Edward Snowden by taking the advice above. So fly yourself towards some family babysitting and have Happy Holidays, from our family to yours!