Traveling with an infant takes a lot more prep time than pre-baby. When Isaac was born, we knew we would be traveling quite a bit to see my family. We booked our first flight for January 31. As a result, I started researching best practices for flying with an infant.
I also had a packing list ready two weeks before our flight.
Today I am sharing how our flight went + our tips for jetting off with a little one.
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Back in February Ben, Isaac and I hopped on a plane and jetted off to New York. In the past, Ben and I (and his little sister last summer) brave the twelve-hour drive from Cincinnati to LI, but with an infant? No thank you.
Luckily, the flight from CVG to LGA is less than two hours wheels up to
We arrived at CVG about an hour and a half early, got through security quickly, grabbed Big Mac’s and then jumped onto the plane.
I will never forget the faces of the other passengers as I walked down the incredibly narrow aisle, baby attached.
Thankfully, Isaac was a dream on the flight and we were on the ground again in no time. A few passengers even congratulated us, saying they were worried there would be a crying baby the entire flight. But my child is amazing & didn’t make a sound.
What to Pack
I’m not going to tell you what to pack, clothes wise. And I’m not going to tell you to pack diapers because…duh. This list is specifically for the flight (& rental car)
- Infant Car Seat—Most rental car companies offer a car seat rental. I for one am not all about that plan. Simply because car seats get gross and I can’t be guaranteed that it has been cleaned well. Plus, I like my car seat and I know how to use it.
(If you are on the market for a new stroller/car seat, or creating your baby registry, I highly recommend Britax)
- Stroller—you need the car seat for when you reach your destination so you might as well bring the stroller for getting through the airport. Plus, you will want it for any walking around activities while you are away.
- Moby Wrap/Other Carrier—This is a MUST for getting through the airport. I have both the wrap and a carrier but I opted for the wrap. This way I didn’t look too ridiculous if I took him out simply and it is less bulky.
- Blanket—I used a blanket as a cover-up on the plane for the sake of packing light and not bringing anything unnecessary.
- Toy—We love the Eric Carle’s World of Wonder toys (you can get them on Amazon) We have the ladybug and the caterpillar, which both have a hook so we could hook them onto the car seat and didn’t have to worry.
- Teether—For obvious reasons. Isaac has been chewing on stuff since December and STILL hasn’t popped a darn tooth. Just…keep one of those handy.
- Pacifier-Isaac doesn’t really take a pacifier, he plays with it and chews it. This was a distraction piece.
- Bottle—I also had a bottle made and in the diaper bag so that I could use it in the airport and plane.
- Milk Storage—I have the Medela cooler, so I packed four 5 oz bottles in there and brought them along to have while we were flying/in NY. I highly recommend bringing some along if you are breastfeeding just as a backup. And, if you are visiting family, they’ll offer to feed him anyway.
- 3 Extra Outfits—okay, here I am going to tell you about clothes. Pack a few travel outfits on top of what you are packing for the trip. On the way to
NYwe didn’t have a problem, on the way home I had to change his clothes before we boarded and after we landed. I was so so so thankful that I had specific diaper bag/travel outfits.
At the Airport
The good news is, with an infant most airlines allow you to bring the following (on top of your typical carry-on items):
- Car Seat
- Diaper Bag
We all know security is a pain in the ass without a baby. It is not any easier (and really not much harder) with a baby. BUT, the Moby Wrap (or carrier, or other wrap) helps and-in my opinion-is a MUST for getting through the airport. You have the stroller, but the stroller and car seat needs to go through the scanner (or get hand checked) and your baby must go through security as well. With the taking off of shoes/belts/keys/etc and putting back on of shoes/belts/keys/etc, it is just easier to have both hands.
For this purpose, strap that baby on and use the stroller to hold your bags.
Now, with babies comes milk for babies. Whether you are breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding all of the accessories are going to be checked. I breastfeed & pump, so I brought four bottles of expressed milk with us.
TSA checked and tested the breast milk, so prepare to sit at security a few extra minutes in order for them to check all the baby stuff. They will also ask that you put the liquids (this includes baby wipes) and put them in their own container to go through the scanner. With this in mind, pack things logically so that you can easily grab items.
On the Plane
When you get to the airport take turns going to the bathroom, and check that babies diaper. We planned it so that we were not sitting at the gate for long and we just walked around for the 15 minutes (and 45 minutes coming home). We kept Isaac happy and comfortable by playing with him and talking to him. This was more to assure the other passengers waiting at the gate that our baby was good.
Many airlines will allow families with children to board the plane first. I personally think that is a terrible idea, the less amount of time we are constricted the better. Especially with an infant. We made sure we were the last ones on the plane (which is why I was able to see every other
Our plane took off a few minutes after we settled into our seat.
You know when you lift off and your ears pop and sometimes it hurts like hell? So, you chew gum? Well, a 3-month-old can’t chew gum. SO, in order to keep your babies ears from popping and inducing a terrible scream of discomfort from your LO, feed them during take off and landing. As soon as we started moving across the runway for take-off, I got set up and got Isaac on my breast. He ate during take-off and was asleep a few minutes after we reached altitude.
Isaac slept for almost the whole ride. He woke up to the little ding before the pilot announced that we would be landing in 20 minutes or so.
Ben played with him at this point, and we had him laughing adorably by the time we pulled into the gate. Everyone around us was smiling and laughing along with him. Of course, a few moms old us how cute out kid is. Because…he’s the cutest.
Getting off the Plane
Now for getting off the plane we did wait until everyone was off. Mainly because we had more stuff than everyone else but also because Isaac was still doing great. If he had been crying I would have made a beeline for the front of the plane.
On the way there we only gate checked the stroller, so we had the car seat with us on the plane (we had a seat for Isaac so we thought we were supposed to bring it on) On the way home, we gate checked that baby. I was a little worried about gate checking my car seat just because planes are gross and I did not have anything to cover the seat with, but it was fine. There wasn’t even dust in the seat.
So gate check that puppy too. The car seat is big and bulky, and planes are small and narrow.
If Baby Cries
However, sometimes babies act like they weren’t let in on the plan and they end up inconsolably crying. It sucks and it is embarrassing when your kid cries in public places and you can’t quiet them (like the supermarket, ugh) but guess what? More than likely there are other parents on the plane who know exactly what you are going through with your little. They have been there, done that. They will feel pity for you and a mom will say “my four year old did that the whole flight to Disney World” or something along the lines.
You do what you can and if anyone says anything, you offer to let them try and soothe the baby. See how quick they shut their mouths to that (lol).
To sum up, the flight is going to go how it is going to go. Do your darnedest to keep that baby happy (for your sake more than anyone else’s) but realize that they might get upset and they might cry. And that is OKAY.
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