Traveling with a baby can be one of the most intimidating experiences of parenthood, especially if you are taking the air route. Imagine your baby crying at the top of its lungs in a pressurized cabin as numerous bulging eyes gawk at you, the horror. However, as we all know a little planning goes a long way, therefore before traveling make sure to do some research and pack all the essentials that will keep your baby calm all the while relieving some tension off your shoulders and letting fellow passengers get a much-needed shut-eye.
Traveling with your little bundle of joy is an experience in its own right. Deciding on which gear, clothes, food, and toys to take is going to take a chunk out of your travel planning. However, the biggest and main concern of every parent when they are traveling with a baby is how they will keep the baby occupied throughout the journey.
All of these concerns are very valid as traveling with a baby comes with a lot of extra baggage both figurative and literal. Therefore, in this article, we will lend a helping hand to all the mommies and daddies who are thinking of traveling with their munchkins. We will offer you the best tips for traveling with a baby that will be a lifesaver especially if you are traveling via air. Also, take note that flying with a baby is much easier than flying with a toddler, so make sure to all those miles in while your little bundle of joy is still cooing.
Traveling with a Baby
Best Tips for Traveling with a Baby
Tips for Traveling with a Baby Via Plane
What to Know Before Traveling with a Baby
Do I Need to Book a Plane Ticket for the Baby?
If your baby is under 2 years old, you do not have to book a seat for them. Babies under the age of 2 can sit in your lap, mostly for free. However, if you are bound on an international flight you might have to pay some fees. Depending on the airline, babies under 2 are called a lap child, an infant in arms, or a lap infant.
Even though you do not need to book a seat for an infant you will still have to notify the airline that you will be traveling with a lap infant. Some airlines have this option on their website, allowing you to notify them as you book your ticket, whereas some require that you call to let them know. Also, the airline will ask for proof that your baby is under 2 therefore remember to bring with you a copy of their birth certificate. This also applies when you have in your arms a wrinkly 1-month-old, a telltale sign that the child saw the light of the day 30 days ago but rules are rules wrinkly not.
Is a Car Seat Required When Traveling with a Baby on a Plane?
Even though you do not have to book your baby a seat, there are some reasons why you should get a separate seat for your little one. The first reason is that you may have to bring along their car seat on the plane with you as a car seat is the safest way for a baby to travel on an airplane as in the event of severe turbulence the car seat will keep your baby tethered. Also, you should consider bringing a car seat to relieve yourself and get some rest.
As your baby grows bigger, they become more alert and curious, wanting to jump out of the protection of your lap and venture into the world of a pressurized cabin, which makes it difficult to keep them seated on your lap for the entirety of the flight. Moreover, the plane floor is extremely disgusting, to say the least, therefore a car seat is a must. Putting them in a car seat will make them feel like they are in a car, and getting out of the seat is out of the question. Trust us your plane ride will go a lot smoother if you don’t have a wiggling baby in your lap.
Before bringing the car seat on the plane be sure to check if it is an FAA-approved one or not. One of the tags or stickers towards the bottom of the car seat will tell you if it is. If the sticker isn’t there you can always check the manufacturer’s website to be sure.
When Traveling with a baby, Check Your Airline’s Policies
Before traveling with a baby via plane, make sure to check the airline’s policies regarding traveling with an infant. You can do that by visiting the website of the airline you booked. Also, make sure to read what you can and can’t bring aboard.
Important Things You Need When Flying with a Baby
When Traveling with a Baby, Bring Their Identification
As mentioned before, if your baby is a lap child, you will have to bring their birth certificate along to prove that they are in fact 2 years old, the wrinkles and swelling don’t count. Other than the birth certificate you don’t need to bring any other documents, that is if you are flying domestically. If you are traveling to a foreign country, then you will have to bring with you the baby’s passport.
When Traveling with a Baby, Bring Car Seats
A car seat is more or less a necessity. Doesn’t matter if you don’t use it on the plane, you will need it once you arrive at your destination. If you don’t plan on carrying your car seat to the cabin you can get it gate checked all you have to do is go up to the ticketing agent at your gate and inform them that you would like to gate check your car seat. They will print a gate check ticket and then give you a stub to pick it up.
Also, if you are going to gate check your car seat, wrap it in a protective bag as luggage handlers aren’t especially gentle. Moreover, if your car seat is an expensive one it’s better to leave it at home and find a cheap one to accompany you on your air travels. If, however, you do not want to bring your car seat with you, the final option is to rent one when you arrive at your destination. You can use BabyQuip to rent a car seat. Apart from the car seat, you can also rent from them pack & play, baby toys, stroller, and so much more.
Packing Tips for Traveling with a Baby
- Make sure to fill your carry-on to the brim with diapers and wipes as belays and canceled flights are the norm these days, and going around a baby with a full diaper can be a hazard.
- Bring the baby’s sleeping gear such as a muslin blanket, sleep sack, pacifier, and portable sound machine in your carry-on as you never know when you might need them.
- Also, when traveling with a baby keep a health and safety kit with you. Pack the kit with pain relievers, an oral syringe, sanitizer wipes, baby nail clippers, thermometers, nasal aspirator, and bandages.
- Pack plenty of snacks if your baby is eating solids. Also, these will come in handy when hunger strikes your stomach as well. Pack for your baby puffs, cut-up fruits, yogurt melts, etc. Also, if you are nursing, pack water, fresh fruits, and other snacks to help fuel up.
- As long as you let TSA know what it is for, and keep it in a separate bag, you can bring with you anything you need to feed the baby including a breast pump, breastmilk both fresh or frozen, formula ice pack, purified water, milk, fruit pouches, snacks etc. You can also bring with you a small cooler to keep the food and drink items in.
- Make sure to pack an extra set of clothes for yourself, baby, or anyone else you are traveling with. Sitting trapped on an airplane in wet or soiled clothes from blowouts, spit-up, leaking diapers, etc. can be torturous. Also back a plastic bag to keep the soiled clothes in, in case disaster strikes.
Getting Through the Airport When Traveling with a Baby
When Traveling with a Baby, Should I Use a Stroller at the Airport?
Many people prefer to wear the baby in the baby carrier, but it’s best to bring a stroller. Because even if you opt for wearing the baby you can use the troller as a trolly to carry your diaper bag, backpack, and other luggage, which makes it more Andy than just carrying the baby. It is also a nice and safe place to set the baby down when you are eating or want to catch a breather. Also having the stroller with you once you reach your destination is a treat as you don’t have to wear them or carry them in your lap everywhere you go.
Traveling with a Baby and Going Through Airport Security
Going through security alone is stressful, let alone when you have a baby, However, as you go through security with your baby keep your calm. Before going through security, put your baby in the baby carrier, and set your carry-on in the set of the stroller. Start separating all the things that will need to be taken out of the carry-on like electronics, baby food or drinks, and other liquids.
Once at security put the stroller, car seat, carrier, and luggage on the conveyor belt, and go through security just holding the baby in your arms. Also, accept help when it is offered. If someone offers to lift your suitcases or fold up the stroller, take it as you already have your hands full.
Bringing Milk on a Plane
According to the TSA website:
“Formula, breast milk, and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted in reasonable quantities through the security checkpoint. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.”
For further information, you can visit the site to see what rules and regulations they have in place for bringing formula milk.
When Traveling with a Baby Find a Family Restroom
When in the airport make sure to look for a family restroom. These restrooms have tons of space for you to bring your stroller in. You can put the baby in the stroller as you use the toilet and there are also changing tables where you can put the baby in a diaper before your flight departs.
Boarding the Plane when Traveling with a Baby
Many airlines have family boarding that allows family priority boarding after the first and business-class passengers have boarded. Therefore, make sure to keep your ears open for that announcement. Early boarding allows you to settle easily with the baby.
During the Flight
Tips for Traveling with a Baby of 0 to 3 Months
- This is one of the best times to fly with a baby because they aren’t very fussy during this age and will probably sleep through most of the flight. However, before departing make sure to get the ok from your pediatrician.
- To avoid earaches, try to feed your baby either during takeoff or while landing.
- Make sure to bring as many toys as you can.
- As the baby’s immune system at this age is new and weak make sure to bring sanitizing wipes with you and clean the surfaces to avoid any germs getting in the system of your little munchkin.
- If you have a pacifier, make sure to bring lots and they are a for sure way to calm down the raging baby. We suggest bringing lost because don’t even think about picking the one that dropped to the airplane floor. If you don’t have lots, bring a pacifier clip to prevent it from falling.
Tips for Traveling with a Baby of 3 to 6 Months
- 3 to 6 months is still a good age for babies to travel as during this time you don’t have to worry about bringing solid foods with you. Moreover, this is the phase where babies start to notice their surroundings, but most of them don’t crawl during this age, so you don’t have to worry about your baby jumping and crawling on the dirty floor.
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, make sure to bring with you an inflatable nursing pillow or travel nursing pillow, as your back will thank you immensely. If your baby is on formula, make sure to get them used to room-temperature bottles before you embark on your trip.
- Try to pick the flight that aligns with your baby’s nap schedule if you want them to be asleep throughout the fight. However, sometimes while traveling, babies do the to change their nap times. Or you can schedule a morning flight if you wish to travel with a happy baby.
- If your baby is teething, bring teething toys.
Tips for Traveling with a Baby of 6 to 12 Months
- This is the age range where you have to pack lots of solid foods for your baby. Make sure to pack for them stuff like cereal, puffs, yogurt bites, cut-up fruits, and fruit and veggie pouches. This will calm them down when the hunger monster strikes.
- 6 to 12 months is the age when babies start crawling, walking, or somewhere in between. They will refuse to sit in your lap during this phase and would want to explore the plane world on their own. But considering how dirty the airplane floor is it’s better to keep them seated. Therefore, bring their car seat that will keep them tethered throughout the flight.
When Traveling with a Baby, How to Get it to Sleep on a Flight?
There is naturally “white noise” on the plane, so getting your baby to fall asleep during the flight is easy that is if your baby is in the early months and isn’t hyperactive. Also, it is much easier to get them to fall asleep on a night or an early morning flight as the main cabin lights are turned off, which helps the tiny balls of energy fall asleep.
Following your baby’s sleep routine on a plane is also possible with a little bit of help. Bounce them, rock them sing them a lullaby, stroke their forehead, or feed them until they are lulled to dreamland. Make sure to be patient as it might take them longer than usual to fall asleep due to the unfamiliar setting.
Bathroom Visit and Changing the Baby on a Plane
When traveling alone you may need to bring the baby with you when need to use the washroom. In these cases, you can wear your baby in the carrier and relieve yourself. The second option is that you can ask the flight attendant to look after the baby as you answer nature’s call. When it’s time for the baby to relieve itself, ask the flight attendants if there are any restrooms with a changing table.
If they don’t have any, ask them where the best sport is to change a baby’s diaper and to it there. Also, make sure to bring plastic bags with you to place the dirty diapers in or be ready to face the scrutinizing gaze of the passengers as they smell your child’s excreta.
Tips for Traveling with a Baby Via Car
When traveling with a Baby, Check the Car Seat
As your baby will spend the entire ride tied to their car set, it is of vital importance that you make sure the car seat you are option for is safe, secure, and comfortable. Make sure that the car seat is properly attached, and also take your baby out of out for small intervals as babies should not stay in the car seats for long stretches of time.
When Traveling with a Baby, Plan Your Route
Before embarking on your journey plan your route and mark gas stations and rest stops. Moreover, take note of hotels and motels along the way, in case you might need to stay in one. Call the accommodation in advance to ask them if they provide a safe sleeping space for babies, if not, bring your own bassinet or a travel crib.
When Traveling with a Baby, time Your Departure
Time your departure so that it aligns with your baby’s nap schedule. This will make the journey a lot smoother for both you and the baby. Consider departing early in the morning while they are still in dreamland or driving at night around the baby’s normal bedtime.
When Traveling with a Baby, Make Sure you Have Everything on Hand
Before pulling out of the driveway, make sure that you have everything you and your baby might need during the journey within arm’s reach. Take extra care to place diapers, extra clothes, wipes, meals as well as toys for your baby within easy reach. Also make sure to pack water, sunglasses, and hand sanitizer with you.
When Traveling with a Baby, Sit in the Backseat
If possible, it is better that someone, you or a caregiver, sits in the back with the baby and caters to its every need. Also, it’s better to keep on interacting with them and entertaining them throughout the journey as travel is a more tedious task for them than it is for you.
When Traveling with a Baby, Take a Few Breaks
Taking breaks will not only keep your baby from getting restless but will also give you the opportunity to starch your legs. Therefore, when traveling make sure to take some short breaks along the way. You can also use this time to change and feed the baby.
Baby Travel Checklist
Given below is a baby travel checklist that you must take into consideration when traveling with a baby whether via plane, car, or train.
|Baby Travel Checklist
|Travel crib (optional)
|Socks and shoes
|Blanket/pillow from home (optional)
|Night-light/noise machine (optional)
|Lumi Smart Sleep Coach App (optional)
|Snow gear (weather dependent)
|Favorite plus toy
|Feeding and Diapering
|Rattles, teethers, etc.
|Diapers and wipes
|Arts and crafts supplies
|Formula (if using formula)
|Bottle warmer (optional)
|Health and safety
|Breast pump (optional)
|Changing pad (optional)
|Portable high chair (optional)
|Mosquito net (destination dependent)
|Infant bathtub (optional)
|Important Documents for Travel Abroad
|Passport or identification
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