All the shit you need to know to successfully brave your first time traveling with your baby.
Now that I’m an expert jet setter, let me share a couple of tips and tricks before you go on your trip! All jokes aside, I’m still figuring it out but I’ve learned a lot on the many flights I have taken, so I thought why not share some tips and tricks that can save you some grief and time!
Booking your trip
I can’t stress this enough, book an early flight time! You won’t regret it.
I’ve flown several times alone with my baby and I’ve also flown with a team. Regardless, an AM flight is still my preference. Why? For starters, the airports are always dead, but most importantly morning flights are more likely to only be half booked which means you could end up having an empty seat beside you or even a whole row to yourself! Which is huge bonus flying with a baby on your lap – hell, that’s huge bonus regardless of a baby!
Why not PM? It’s so busy! The airport is packed, everything takes forever, from checking in at the ticket counter to going through security, getting on the plane, getting food at any restaurant in the airport and worst of all, flight delays! UGH!
I saw one YouTuber suggest booking a red eye so its easier for the baby to sleep. In my experience, that fucking sucked. Baby was tired and slept which was awesome but I was super tired as well but couldn’t sleep, which sucks when you have to hold a 15-18 lbs baby.
Technically you shouldn’t be sleeping while holding a baby on a plane anyways, so I’m not sure I agree with this method. I also am that person who can not for the life of me sleep on a plane even if I wanted to, so red eyes are just a terrible idea for me.
The sleep issues aside, when we flew red eye the baby behind us was not as good as Ryo (bless her) so she kept disrupting Ryo’s sleep which sucked because then both Ryo and I were tired. I would much rather be awake and energized for holding a baby and having to entertain baby who probably will wake up for many reasons that are unforeseen.
Packing for trip
You would think after the first time I traveled I would learn to not overpack. Think again! I have traveled a total of 4 times with baby and I’ve over pack every single time.
Now for your diaper bag/carry on, (click HERE for my Diaper bag essentials). I think everyone’s situation will be similar but some of the tips I have for what to pack can help. Check it out!
Delays are more likely to happen on the afternoon/evening flights too, which could mean your plan to have your baby drink themselves into a milk-drunk sleepy stupor on the plane is out the window. I hated flying in the evening, SO yes, AM flights are for us.
But as for your luggage, say good bye to only bringing a carry on, if you were that person. ( I sure was not ever that person LOL)
I have one of those HUGE duffle bags that also roll with the handle and I love that I can pack a lot in there for my baby, my husband and myself.
Click Here for a list of the things I took with me that I thought were essential to our traveling with our little baby.
Bringing Breastmilk/Formula through security
You can bring any amount of breastmilk/formula in your carry on as long as it’s not frozen (so that they can test it) and honestly it is a pretty simple process. Keep in mind gel packs can not be frozen either, they will make you throw them out.
Handling a baby on a long flight
Depending on how old your baby is, bring teething toys (usually best for 3 months – 1 year.) My baby is 8 months now, so teething toys and anything that can go in his mouth was appropriate and a godsend. Now that he’s been eating solids, I bring Mum Mums or those dissolve-able puffs to feed as a snack, they work wonders as a distraction!
My baby loves the banana rubber tooth brush that I got off amazon (Click here), he goes HAM on that. Be ready to pick up toys off the floor. Maybe bring toys that are easy to rinse off with water.
I don’t like using hand sanitizer on my baby or his toys – I believe that’s a huge reason why kids immune systems aren’t that strong. SO a dirty toy isn’t going to be the end of the world. Just makes sure its not covered in shit and you’re good! 😉
Dealing with people on the trip who don’t have kids.
You know what I have to say about that?
I’ve heard bullshit about people saying we as parents should not fly with kids until they’re old enough to act appropriate. HELLO, there are adults who don’t act appropriately on flights (that may or may have been me in my 20’s).
I’ve also heard buying a round of drinks for the people closest to you or handing our ear plugs. I say if you really want to go right ahead, that’s super kind of you. However, I really don’t feel you should feel obligated to do things like that. Everyone flying/traveling knows the risks of flying. SO tough luck.
If you really want to, buy a gift for the awesome flight attendants who help you with your bottle warmings, holding your baby while you go pee and anything else that you ask for help for. If you do, get something that al of the flight attendants can share, something as simple as chocolates or a small snack would go a long way.
In case you didn’t already know, most if not all airlines let you check a stroller and a car seat, or a baby item like a pack and play to replace the car seat if you’re not bringing one. Which is AWESOME!
Gate check your stroller
Gate check your stroller rather than baby wear. This means you check the stroller at the gate of your airplane rather than at the ticket counter. You’re able to stroll around the airport with your baby comfortably. This makes your life easier when you have to haul your baby, diaper bag, and anything else you’re hauling for your flight. Then when you arrive to your destination, the stroller is waiting at the gate for you to haul your baby, diaper bag and everything else through the destination airport!
One time I arrived at my destination and the awesome people who grab the items for gate check had my stroller open for me and ready to go. I was like WOO HOO. This doesn’t always happen but when it does its so helpful! I was able to load Ryo right into the stroller, load it up and goooooo.
Specific seats on flight
If you did not pick your seat before checking in, ask the ticket counter to see if you can be sat where its an empty row or an empty seat beside you, hoping that its an aisle seat.
They’re really really good with helping people with families I find, especially if it’s just you and your baby. You don’t want a window seat, to get in and out with people between you is a bitch. I don’t recommend this unless those people between you are your friends or family.
Don’t fool yourself and think your baby is not going to need a diaper change or need to get up, because you will. So again, aisle seat.
I read somewhere that you should pick the back of the plane and choose a window seat because so you’re not disruptive to the people at the front of the plane and the washrooms are at the back.
UM WTF HELLO, I completely disagree with that bullshit.
First of all, its not THAT long of a walk from the “front” of the plane to the back. Second its actually more disruptive to sit near the washrooms because of all the people who line up for the washroom and slam the doors. Regardless of where you sit, if your baby starts crying, everyone on the plane will hear it, unless of course you’re in first class…
Second, sit where you want to and where you feel would be the comfiest for you and baby, fuck the rest (as the rap songs would tell you.) They don’t have to care for a baby who may be fussy. You do!
My suggestion with my experience is pick an aisle seat and pick somewhere near the front (you can get off quicker if you need), it’s quieter. Not sure why but people that are in the front are nicer haha(that’s a joke but seems like it’s true).
Take off and landing – feed/ soother to help with ears
A key step to help with your babies’ ear comfort is getting them to swallow when ascending and descending. So, when taking off pop that tit in baby’s mouth, pop in a pacifier or bottle feed them. This is really the only way you’ll know your baby is swallowing. I’ve always done this and thank god I haven’t had a fussy baby on any of the flights I’ve taken.
What to wear on the plane
This really only applies to moms who are breast feeding. Do yourself a solid and wear a nursing shirt. Plain and simple its easy to access. I wore a regular shirt once because I did bring bottles. However he wanted more milk, so boob it was, and I literally had to pull my shirt down and expose my boob and feed baby.
You’re maybe thinking WEAR THE COVER LIZA?! Sure, I thought that too. Try wearing a cover on a plane sitting beside a complete stranger. It’s so fun. It’s hot, baby starts to get fussy, you’re frustrated.
Next thing you know you’re throwing that cover over your head hitting the stranger beside you accidentally, your squirming baby is looking for your boob and you’re trying not to elbow the guy/girl beside you. It could have been prevented if you simply wore a nursing shirt. I also just used a burping towel or blanket to cover myself rather than a nursing cover, it’s just too much.
For baby, put her/him in a zipper onesie, I repeat, ZIPPER ONESIE. Don’t bother with a damn cute outfit. No one looks cute when they travel, and your baby is already adorable.
Things to buy at destination vs bringing it from home
Diapers and wipes! Save the space in your luggage for other important things. I suggest bringing only the amount of diapers you need for the flight and some, also 1 pack of wipes is plenty as well for that duration.
Another tip for the diapers during your travels is have your baby wear a size up. Bigger diaper = more bum/back/body coverage, which means less chance of blow outs. This tip truly worked for us. Ryo had a big shit and it went up his back, but because the diaper was larger it stayed contained in the diaper and I only had to change is diaper and not the whole dame outfit!
How many outfits to bring for baby
This is dependent on whether or not your destination has a washer/dryer and how long you’ll be staying. I have always over packed for baby. SO what I plan on doing moving on forward is to take the clothes I would normally pack for baby (1 outfit a day) and cut that in half. You can wash the clothes there.
If you can’t wash the clothes then you’ll have to use your judgement based on how your situation is like usually at home. Ryo changes once maybe twice a day. Wearing a bib helps with the drool and spit ups. I’m always shopping for baby (*scoffs* and myself) so there were many outfits he never wore on the trip.
Where baby sleeps if you don’t have a pack and play
There are few solutions to this and it also depends on how old your baby is. Is your baby rolling or crawling? If not you can use a Snuggle Me Organic or a Dock a Tot. There are a lot of options out there just as good that aren’t as expensive, too. These can help you co-sleep without you worrying about rolling over onto your baby or suffocating them.
There’s also mini pack and plays or pods your baby can sleep in, but I personally didn’t like those. We just co-slept and I had rolled up towels beside our baby. We’ve also been lucky to have had king size beds so there was plenty of room. I have a couple of friends say they loved the Baby Bjorn pack and play, I’ve seen it and it’s definitely one I would use when he’s older. It’s light and easy to fold up and carry.
Baby Sleep Schedule while on Vacay
I’ve been asked what can be done to help baby with jet lag. DRINK SOME WINE AND BREAST FEED. DONE. Just kidding. Honestly if you guys are on a set schedule, you can’t realistically expect that it’s going to be the same while on vacation. Think of it like being on a diet – it probably won’t work so well when you’re on vacation. The environment alone can change baby’s internal clock. If your baby is already on a good sleep schedule just pray it will be the same wherever you’re going, or that it will be easy to get back on schedule after vacation. Otherwise that’s going out the window. For a little while, that is.
I hope you got something out of the experiences i’ve went through and if you have any questions please, shoot me a message in comments or on instagram!
Just remember even though the travel portion can be stressful, its only temporary, and once your done you’ll feel so accomplished and think to yourself “Pfft, I can do that again”.
Good luck and Happy Travels.