9 tips for bringing baby on a plane
Babies are generally a welcome addition to any environment, though there are certainly exceptions to this rule, like board meetings, electronic music festivals, and airplanes. You can probably skate by without bringing your baby to that upcoming shareholders meeting or the Skrillex concert, but when your baby has to fly, she has to fly. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to minimize the struggle.
- Safety first
This one is actually three points - free points for you!
- When you book your flight, make sure you don’t sit in an emergency exit row. There’s usually a little more room, but it’s generally looked down upon by flight staff, and in case of an emergency, your baby probably isn't quite ready to help anyone exit the plane. Try to sit as far forward on the plane as possible, since there is less noise on the front side of the wings.
- Bring a car seat that your baby fits snugly in. Depending on what kind of airplane you board, the seat might face forward, or backward. On most commercial airliners, your baby should be facing the back of the chair. Don’t feel strange about asking a flight attendant if you’ve got any questions. Airlines don't always require that children under the age of 2 have their own seats, but car seats provide better protection in case of turbulence than holding a baby in your arms, and depending on the length of the flight, having your own seat can be more comfortable, too.
- Some airlines offer parents the option to board first, to give them the chance to settle in before the flight gets crowded, but some parents actually find it easier to board later in the process, to limit their babies' time aboard the plane. During boarding, there are lots of swinging bags and the possibility of falling luggage, all of which could accidentally injure your baby. If you aren’t traveling alone, consider sending someone first to set up the chair and get bags in place, then you can bring your baby on board and be comfortable quickly.
- Poppin’ ears
Babies can become uncomfortable when their ears don’t adjust to changes in pressure. This is worst during takeoff and landing. Be ready to offer a bottle or a pacifier during takeoff and landing to help with the change in pressure, and possibly breastfeeding to soothe during the flight. This can help with creating a more peaceful ride.
- Try to schedule for sleep
If you can book your flight to take off around the time of your baby’s usual nap, you might just find that she sleeps through the whole flight. The hum and vibration of the plane can often lull a baby to sleep. You might want to consider trying to keep your baby awake before getting on the plane so she will be tired and ready to sleep during the ride.
- Bring entertainment:
Toys, blankets, and books, especially, small, light, and easy-to-carry items can be lifesavers if your baby decides she won't be napping on this flight, and is in need of entertainment.
- Take a walk
Exploring the plane with your baby will make her more comfortable in the new space. Other passengers may be friendlier once they’ve had an opportunity to meet your baby, too, and a walk will also help you stretch a bit and relax.
- Try to relax
Traveling can be stressful even without your baby, but if you can, do what you can to keep your stress under control during the trip. If you’re calm, affectionate, and comfortable, you can help your baby feel that way too. If you’re stressed, your baby could pick up on your negative vibes and get anxious.
- Bring a change of clothes
We mean an extra set for both you and your baby, along with some plastic bags to store dirty clothes in. If there’s an accident during changing, or a full-on spit up, you’ll want to be prepared. Other passengers will appreciate you and your baby smelling fresh and clean.
- Bring earplugs
If you can pick up some earplugs in bulk, think about bringing a bunch for your fellow travelers. Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done about a crying baby, and the other people on board the plane will appreciate you putting some effort into their comfort. At the very least, you can drown out the sounds of the plane and maybe catch some sleep alongside your baby.
- Pack light
your baby may not weigh more than a heavy suitcase, but she's a lot harder to keep track of. Packing light can take a lot of stress off your mind.
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