When we decided to go to Italy, we were left wide-eyed and speechless when thinking about 3 flights there with a 5 hr layover in Atlanta and a brief plane change in Paris. But we had to do it, especially thinking about the future. Extensive traveling is both mine and my husband’s huge dream, so we knew we had to adjust and learn to do it with our little companion.
We were terrified but hopeful 🙂 we watched every YouTube video out there on tips for airline traveling with an infant, which was not much, hence we decided to make our own contribution to the cyber world on this topic.
Our itinerary consisted of 2 hr flight from Fayetteville to Atlanta, 5 hour layover there, then an 7.5 hr flight to Paris, 2 hr layover and 2 hour flight to Venice from there. Pretty packed and layover- challenging. But daaaaang we did it, and learned a whole lot in the process.
So here they are, our best tips on airline traveling with a baby :
1. Use those boobies
or breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed- feed your baby during landing and takeoff to prevent ear pain and pressure discomfort for your little one. The bottle will work too, as swallowing eases pressure discomfort, and provides an awesome distraction.
2. Clip it
You know how babies get into that mood of throwing everything they can get their hands on? The last thing you want is to run out of clean toys while at the gate for your first flight. To prevent toys from falling on the floor, get those links (plastic rings), and clip them to clothes, buckles, backpack, baby itself, and anything else you can find.
3. Keep spare bags for quarantined toys.
When toys do happen to fall on the floor and are impossible to clean easily in the bathroom ( like plush toys) keep a spare bag or a spare space in your diaper bag to separate them from clean toys.
4. Go hands free.
Get a backpack for a diaper bag. It distributes weight fairly easy and will counter balance the weight of the baby – in the carrier or in your arms. Super convenient. Get a backpack with a lot of easily accessible compartments. I LOVE this Samsonite we bought for the trip and would recommend it to anybody traveling with baby. In fact, we are thinking of making this our permanent diaper bag.
4. Get an umbrella stroller
If your little one can sit up, invest in a lightweight easily foldable stroller. It makes all the difference in the world. We traveled with a 7 month old and she ended up loving this stroller way more than her every day baby trend car seat or stroller because it is much softer on her booty. It is almost like a baby hammock 🙂 and she loves it. Plus it’s super cheap and lightweight.
5. Know this handy trick for baby ears
Press simultaneously on her ears with palms of your hands and release to relieve your little one from pressure during takeoff and landing if she is not into boobie or bottle at that time.
6. Arrive at the gate early
and request a front seat or a bassinet (on longer flights) or at least a window seat. Extra leg room can be huge when traveling with a lap infant as they can get squirmy and restless. As far as bassinet- we didn’t get to use it much, as you can only use it when the seat belt sign is not on, but it can still be a valuable storage space.
7. Get a TON of sanitizing wipes.
To wipe toys, hands, more toys, and more toys. You are gonna need them. More than you know 🙂
8. Get creative with bathrooms
If you are traveling with a partner they can be a huuuuge help. From changing a diaper to feeding to lugging bags around to helping entertain your little one during a long long layover. But not always can you find a space for that. Until you find a family bathroom. Or a separate handicapped bathroom. They provide much more room and sometimes comfortable seating for breastfeeding and play. They have been a life-saver for us. When our girl got over-stimulated, when we wanted some privacy or when I needed to put her down in a quiet space- family and handicapped bathrooms did the trick.
9. Baby carrier can be a life saver.
Mia does not like hers anymore, so we were not as lucky to use it, but I saw so so many women out there rock it hands-free and fabulous! So if you have that opportunity, don’t forget about it 🙂
10. Take turns sleeping
If you are lucky to travel with a companion, and have a long trip ahead of you, the same rule applies to the mother as when the baby was just born. Try to sleep when baby sleeps. That way you do get some much needed rest to make sure you can adequately function and take care of your little one. And your diaper-wearing miracle can have you when he or she is awake and feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
11. Airplane bathroom is your friend
This one I discovered on the long flight from Amsterdam back to the US. It was an almost 9 hour flight, and my baby girl was awake for the majority of it. And she demanded entertainment. Even with all that exta room of the front seat and bassinet full of toys, nothing was doing it for her. Until we went to the bathroom. There she could have a hay day on that little changing table, as it gave her a chance to lay on her back and even on her tummy. And she was delighted 🙂 not only that, bathrooms have mirrors – and that’s just the easiest entertainment there is! We would make faces to each other in that mirror, she tried touching her reflection, all that jazz. So I was stuck in that bathroom for a quarter of the flight, but that made my baby happy and this traveling mama comfortable.
12. Do I have to mention bring exta clothes?
I’m sure you know about it and religiously pack EVERYTHING. So did I on the flight there. And it was super easy and awesome. Not so much the flight back. Yet I forgot to pack one of the most essential pieces of clothing for her – extra pantyhose. It was already pretty cold, and socks don’t stay on Mia’s little feet for more than 20 minutes, so pantyhose are a must, and how my luck would have it, we totally had a poop fest on the way back and leaked on the only poor pantyhose we had. Not cool, people! Pack them pantyhose ! 🙂
13. In flight magazines can buy you time
Is that just my little daughter or do all babies like flipping through magazines, turn pages and well, let’s be honest go haywire ripping paper ? If your baby does, use it to your advantage! Every flight will come equipped with some sort of magazine that your baby will find just delightful! Or if you wish to be resourceful and spare the poor in-flight info, come equipped with your prepared magazines and let that baby go bananas. It will easily distract them from unfamiliar surroundings and will pass the time of the flight with lots of smiles and giggles- yours and hers. And may be a couple more people on the flight.
14. Stop giving a f$&@ !
It really has to do with everything, but I wanted to particularly focus on the issue of breastfeeding in public. This debate has been on for what seems like forever, and I will gladly add to it. Breastfeed your baby when and where you need to, cover or no cover, the main thing is to have the baby fed and soothed. Throughout this trip we have been on six flights on every one of which I breastfed my little girl, including breastfeeding in the middle of the airport, in the middle of the gate waiting area, and on the plane while people were boarding or unboarding. And never did I see a weird look or heard a negative remark. Which was I guess pretty lucky of me. But even if I did, guess what, I did not give a slightest f$&@ 🙂 my baby needs to eat just like all of the adults on the plane do, and she needs to be comforted and soothed way more than any of those adults. So do just that, and have a happy happy travel.
10. Look at it with humor
Traveling can definitely be stressful on all parties involved. From an over-tired baby to cranky hungry husband, to you desperately wanting to comb your hair and brush your teeth, to strangers giving you “those” looks. But if you just try and look at it all with humor, it can be that much easier. A stressful flight will not last forever, you are not gonna have to spend the rest of your life with your angry seat neighbor, and your baby will still love you after the flight. All will be and IS well, even if it’s hard for you to see in the middle of the storm. Just laugh at it, laugh at yourself, and the silly happy travels you are doing. In the end, these are the best memories you are making ❤️
Do you have any more awesome tips for traveling with our little bugs ? Share them in the comments below! We still have 3 flights back and I could totally use your advice 🙂
Love, Katya ❤️
Wanna know why I write all this? Here is my story.