Babies love to be toted around on your hip from one room to another. They love to cry just as you’re putting the shampoo in your hair, and they love pulling everything off the shelves in any store. These things we can be sure of when it comes to babies. Unfortunately, babies and flying are much less certain and can be more than a little stressful for a mom or dad. These tips could make your next trip a little easier.
Do It Early
I have to say that traveling with a seven-month-old baby that sleeps through basically anything is much simpler than traveling with a toddler that discovers how much fun it is to kick the seat in front of them. That being said you shouldn’t be afraid to travel or fly with your infant. In fact, if you fly with them while they’re young they will become more accustomed to airports and airplanes. By the time they’re two they could be experienced travelers. Imagine you when you’re going to visit grandma and your child is five, you’ll have a well-adjusted traveler, who already knows the ins and outs of flying. Don’t be afraid to travel early, it will pay off in the long run.
Rule Number One
Whether it’s an infant or a toddler, the number one rule is to distract them through the whole process. Whatever your baby likes, for flight day and flight day only, make an exception. Traveling can be uncomfortable for everyone, even adults partake in a little luxury when they travel. They snack a little more and maybe watch a few more movies. I promise handing over that organic, gooey-yummy cookie, that you’ve been keeping a secret will come in handy at some point. It’s okay to make a few exceptions. My niece loves to watch Finding Nemo, over and over. Most of the time her mother doesn’t allow her to watch much TV, but when it comes to flying you better believe it’s Nemo time. Be sure to bring along small toys that they love. You can stuff a small bear into your purse and if things get really bad, distract your baby. Distract, distract, distract. Netflix allows you to download movies to your device, so you can watch something without wifi, perfect for flying. Most small snacks, as long as they’re in the original packaging, can be brought through security. Anything that will distract your baby while they’re confined to the small seat of a plane should be packed on top and easily accessible.
When To Travel
I had one friend that always used to fly in the late afternoon with her baby. She would put her baby in her pajamas and pray that she would sleep through everything. This could be a good strategy to you plan your baby’s nap or sleep time around your flight. However, that doesn’t always work out. In addition, if your baby has a hard time getting to sleep for whatever reason, like the man next to you won’t stop talking or snoring, you are then traveling with a cranky and tired baby. My advice is that you can’t plan everything. If your baby is able to sleep through anything, that’s great, but don’t rely solely on that.
Make Them Comfy
The nice thing about flying with babies that are under the age of two is they can ride on your lap for free. If you want to hold your infant the whole time or strap her in a carrier, you can do that. This free option is great for small infants and for short flights. However, you may want to consider purchasing an extra seat if the flight is long. There are options if your baby gets restless, you can hold them part of the way and switch it up by strapping them into their own seat. An extra seat will also give you and your baby a little more room to just be on a long flight.
Bring The Stroller
Even if you’re traveling to the jungle and you know you won’t be needing your stroller once you land, you will need it for the airport. The best thing about strollers is that most airlines let you check your stroller at the boarding gate free of charge. That goes for car seats as well. When you’re racing through the airport and carrying a million bags, you don’t want to be holding your squirming child as well. Bring the stroller. When your baby doesn’t want to ride in the stroller you can use it as a personal luggage cart. You can hang your purse on the handle and maybe stuff your other bags underneath. Bring the stroller. While you’re waiting in security the stroller will also come in handy because it will prevent your child from running off in a crowd. In addition, people seem more inclined to get out of the way or make a little extra room when they see a stroller.
One thing you should remember when you’re flying with your baby is that you can’t account for everything. Everyone could be very polite and make room for you and your stroller or they could be unfriendly and complain about your crying baby. A movie may distract your baby for the whole flight or they could focus primarily on kicking the seat in front of them. The important thing is to stay calm. Stay calm even when you don’t feel calm. Getting upset or stressed out will only make a long day feel longer.
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