Traveling with Baby, Part 3
Today is the last part in my three-part series about traveling with baby. If you missed out, the first part was about traveling with baby in a short car trip and the second part was traveling with a baby during a long car trip. This part is going to be about traveling with baby via plane.
There are a few situations that make my trip unique or different. First, I was traveling alone with my baby. This means that my trip was probably a bit more complicated that it would have been if I had another adult to travel with. Second, my daughter is fourth months old and exclusively breast fed, but I am a bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to breastfeeding in public (which probably added to my anxiety).
Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get down to it! This week I flew to Indiana for Mother’s Day and I am flying home this afternoon. Each way is 2 flights (with a layover). That is 4 flights in less than a week folks!
To prepare for this trip, I read like a million other blog posts about traveling with baby, but they all seemed to explain travel as a family or with 2 adults. I had no idea how to do it on my own, so here is how I planned and how my trip went.
Two days before my trip: I went onto my airlines’ website to see what I needed to fly as well as rules for airport security. I found out I needed to bring a copy of my baby’s birth certificate or a copy of her immunization records with her birthdate, to verify that she was under two years old, because she was a lap infant. I also called the airline, by chance, to see if I could still check in early (even though I needed Amelia’s age verified). They told me the lap infant wasn’t on the reservation, so we had her added. Good thing I called to ask my question!
It is also important to check your airlines’ policy for breast feeding mothers and whether the airline will check car seats and strollers at the gate free of charge (I didn’t bring a stroller because my mom had one we could use). Also, check TSA’s rules for liquids if you plan to bring an extra bottle onto the plane. If you are formula feeding, I understand the flight attendants are fairly accommodating if you need hot water.
One day before the trip: Packing day! If you are typically a last minute packer, that should probably change. I packed early, and I still forgot the simplest of things (Umm…. Toothpaste? Breast Pump? Yep forgot them). I also turned a back pack into my diaper bag for the day. Here is a list of things I packed and how I went about packing them.
Packing for baby
- Carry On:
- Toys for distraction
- A spare outfit
- Diapers (3+ more than you think you will need)
- Wipes (go ahead and grab a brand new pack!)
- Sweater or blanket
- Birth certificate for verification
- Baby carrier of your choice (like this one)
- Car Seat (most airlines with check for free)
- Stroller (if applicable)
- Outfits (We bought diapers when we arrived to last the trip)
Pack For Mom (or Dad)
- Carry On
- Spare shirt (in case of accident)
- Nursing cover (for breastfeeding moms who choose)
- Everything else you need for your trip
Day of Trip: Here is a list of tips that helped me get through the our first flight
- Arrive Early: I got to the airport 2 hours early, which was enough for me, but it was early in the morning and I flew out of an airport that isn’t normally busy.
- Check luggage: I decided to check my duffel bag and the car seat right away. I have a heavy car seat and didn’t want to lug it around the airport. I also completed Amelia’s age verification at this time.
- Go through security: I was able to go through the scanner with Amelia in her carrier and the only difference, from traveling without baby, was that I had to have a hand swab. The hardest part of going through security for me what that I had to manage sneakers. I definitely recommend wearing some sort of slip on, so you do not have to worry about how to get your shoes off and on.
- Find your gate: Depending on your airport, you may have a lot or not a lot of time to wonder, I would head over and find your gate then explore and walk around. I went to find a family restroom so I could breast feed Amelia. Unfortunately, it was so hot in that bathroom, she only feed on one side, but that was enough to get her through the hour and a half flight so I could feed her between flights.
- Boarding: Let’s talk about this for a minute. I sat by the window on both flights in case I needed to feed on the plane. The first flight, I sat in row 10 and the second flight I sat in the back row. I read somewhere not to sit in the back with a child because it is more turbulent, but this was the BEST decision I made on my trip. We had like a breastfeeding mom club or our own little support group. I loved it! If you see other moms with infants, join up with them… chances are they know what you are going through. I also got super lucky on both flights because I had open seats next to me.
- Don’t Apologize: I told the one other person on both of my flights that this was my baby’s first flight and I would do everything possible to make sure she didn’t scream. I won’t apologize for traveling with a baby and I won’t hand out ear plugs to people around me. I don’t like that that trend became a thing “owed” to the people around you if traveling with a baby. Luckily, she did awesome one both flights and really only cried once for like 2 minutes.
Flight Transitions: I’m not going to lie, my flight transitions were a nightmare! My flight layover was about 25 minutes until boarding at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. First, I had to find a family bathroom, but Sky Harbor had like 3 in the whole airport. What?! Once I found one that didn’t require me to come back through security, I had to wait in line, but luckily it went fast. Again, this bathroom was hot and Amelia could sense my discomfort. She refused to feed, so I decided I was going to have to suck it up and feed her on the plane.
Feeding on the Plane: As I said before, for the second flight I sat in the back of the plane with the other moms and had an open seat next to me (quite possibly the ONLY open seat on the plane). When we got to the point where it was okay to turn on electronics, I decided to start feeding Amelia. I just turned toward the window to get the latch then used my nursing cover. Unfortunately, Amelia hates the cover touching her face, so I ended up just using it to cover myself. It was surprisingly comfortable and stress free.
Overall, my flights weren’t completely miserable and I think I can handle the next one like a pro!
How do you travel with baby? Tell me in the comments below!