I can’t tell you how nervous I was to fly with my little guy for the first time. Easton was only 7 weeks old for his first flight and I had so much anxiety about it, I almost didn’t take the trip. I kept telling myself that he was too little and I should wait a little longer, but the truth is, I would of been equally as nervous regardless of how old was. Of course, I did a ton of research, read the blogs and the airline rules and regulations and I felt pretty prepared, but I did make some mistakes.
Booking the ticket. Here is where you have to decide if you are going to carry your baby on your lap or purchase a seat. Easton was only 7 weeks (and hated the carseat at this time) so we decided to hold him. But, even you are going to hold your baby, you must check the box that asks if you are traveling with small children when booking your ticket. I purposely skipped this step because I thought it meant I would want to buy a ticket… Don’t do that! This flags your ticket as traveling with child and the airline needs to know that. Once you choose this option, you will also get all the of the airlines rules for traveling with child, such as if they require ay child identification, doctor notes, etc.
- If your child is younger than a certain age, the airline might require you to have a doctors note stating it is okay for you child to fly.
- You MUST have proof of age documentation for your child (especially if they are close to the age of two so that you can prove he/she can still fly for free). Vaccinations record or birth certificate are okay. I did not have this! Luckily we were flying on a Friday and my pediatrians office was able to email me his shot records.
- Our flight there was a full flight and we were a little cramped and it was a l little uncomfortable holding a baby the whole way, but our flight was only two hours so it was fine. On the way back we had an entire row to ourselves and the flight was way more pleasurable as we were able to spread out with all of our stuff. We have decided moving forward if we can book far enough in advance, we would purchase him a seat, or upgrade to first class/business select if the price was comparable.
Backpacks are your best friend. There are so many things to carry when traveling with a baby, that having backpacks as carryons is a savior. Easton got a little fussy in his carseat and having a backpack made carrying him around so much easier. I couldn’t imagine trying to balance a tote bag and a baby. Plus, your not knocking people with your bag when walking down the isle to your seat. This is the Diaper backpack we have
carseat/stroller- decide if you will check them at time of check in, or gate check them at the gate when boarding. We decided to gate check them at boarding. This is a personal preference. I didn’t feel comfortable checking my carseat and stroller in fear of damage because I didn’t have the proper bags for my equipment, but once I get them and if I am traveling alone, I might consider wearing Easton in a baby carrier and checking all the gear.
- If you are going to gate check, you must check in with the gate attendant and get a claim ticket for your gear.
Feeding- If you are nursing, ask if they have a nursing station/room. Sadly the southwest terminal at McCarran does not. I had to pump in a “special companion” bathroom and even that was hard to find as there were only a few. On our way back, the Tulsa airport (surprisingly) did have a nursing room that was equipped with comfortable chairs and a ton of outlets!.
- If you are traveling with breast milk, you can take an unlimited amount of it through security, frozen of fresh. If it is fresh, they will run that test on it, but if it is frozen, it goes through without any trouble. I brought a few ounces of frozen BM with me both ways and packed it in the same carryon bag as my pump with icepacks. Once I got through security I asked for ice at the starbucks to keep it frozen.
- Your breast pump does not count as a carry on. It is considered a medical device so it can be in your “third” bag.
Dirty diapers will happen. Easton took a massive poop right at take off and so I had to change a poopie diaper during the flight. Just make sure you have a plastic bag or something that you can seal and throw away. I always carry two, gallon size ziplock bags with me incase I have something wet or like in this case have to change a dirty diaper in a place where I want to conceal the smell.
A fussy baby is a probability and you should prepare for it and consider yourself lucky if it doesn’t happen. Just be prepared and have a game plan. I had his pacifier, bottle & my drink tickets available. The drink tickets were just in case he started losing his mind, I could at least buy drinks for the passengers close to us. You can also prepare little goodie bags filled with candy or cookies to pass out along with a cute little note. I’m not that patient, but I do think it’s cute.
This last one you probably know, but try to time your feedings with take off and landing to help relieve the ear pressure. Easton slept through the entire flight, but once we the pilot announced we were starting to descend we woke him up gently and offered him a bottle. He took it three out of the 4 times and decided to sleep one time instead. We followed is lead and let him sleep because he seemed comfortable.
Overall, people tend to be very helpful when you are traveling with a baby. I never had so many people offer me help (and Pete was with me). Don’t worry about the people who are not baby friendly as hey will go out of their way to avoid you. And I figured I’ve been on my share of flights with fussy babies so if my baby was going to be fussy, I would just all it even.
Happy travels! XxOx, Marisela