Traveling by plane with an infant or toddler can be stressful for parents, children and other passengers. While there’s no way to guarantee a completely fuss-free flight, with a little preparation, you can help smooth the way for everyone.
Here are a few tips:
- Save a spot. Purchase a seat on the plane for your baby if you can afford it. It’s safer (bring a car seat and strap it in) and often easier on you since you’ll have a secure, familiar place to stow baby instead of having your baby in your lap for the entire flight. When purchasing tickets, remember that baby car seats can only be installed in a window seat on most airlines.
- Beat boarding boredom. Even if you’re flying with an infant, think twice before pre-boarding. Boarding early may seem like a good idea, but you’ll have to entertain your baby from your seat while everyone else boards (on top of the rest of the time you travel with an infant). If your partner’s with you, send him ahead with your bags while you walk around the gate area with your baby.
- Pack for playtime. Bring a few favorite toys and books and a few new ones to keep things interesting while you’re flying with your baby.
- Stock up on snacks. Be sure to pack some snacks (or a full meal, depending on when and how long you’ll be in the air) and plenty of drinks – plane rides are dehydrating. You’re allowed to bring small jars of baby food and formula (if you’re bottle-feeding) on board. Just plan for a little extra time going through security. Pack things in see-through plastic bags, so that security personnel don’t have to rummage through everything and contaminate pacifiers or other items when searching your bag.
- Ease ear pressure. Plan flying-with-a-baby feedings for takeoff and landing. That’s when your baby will experience the most ear pressure, and swallowing can relieve some of that pressure.