Revivalist is a reader-supported endeavor and our posts may contain affiliate links. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Nobody wants to be “that parent” on the plane with the crying baby who won’t stop fussing. Have you built up a horrifying picture in your head where you can’t soothe your baby no matter what you try? They won’t nap, play or eat. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be your reality. You just need the right mindset and preparation. With these tips for flying with a baby, your trip could go from nightmare to enjoyable.
1. Pick the Right Flight Time
When booking your flight, consider the times your baby is typically most content. This is different for every baby, so it’s a highly individual decision. However, if possible, you may want to avoid flying during typical sleep times. Light or poor sleepers may have their rest disturbed by take-off or turbulence and be unable to fall asleep again, leaving you with a tired and cranky little one.
2. Avoid Short or Multiple Layovers
Landing is particularly difficult for babies, so it’s a good idea to avoid as many as possible. It may be worth the extra investment to purchase tickets on a flight with no layovers. However, if you can’t find one that works for you, select one with a more extended layover. This way, you’ll give yourself time to make your connection and rest a bit in between.
3. Buy an Extra Seat
This might be one of the best tips for flying with a baby. Snuggling your little one is incredible, but maybe not for hours on end. Purchasing a seat for your infant will give your whole party more storage room and a place to hook in an approved car seat. You’ll have your arms back with a bonus of added security for your baby.
4. Pack Extra Sets of Clothing
Babies are messy — as a mom, you know — so be prepared with an extra set of clothing for you, your baby and anyone else in your party who might hold them while traveling. Then, if your baby spits up, spills food or has a blowout, you’ll have it covered.
5. Wear Your Baby
Do your back and wear your baby through the airport. You won’t be hunched over from holding them in your arms, and you’ll get to use your hands for more important things. Babywearing is also a good deterrent from well-meaning germ-laden strangers trying to touch your little one.
6. Use a Backpack Diaper Bag
Traditional diaper bags aren’t great for your posture in the first place, and they become especially cumbersome in an airport. They slide off your shoulder while you try to juggle the million and one things you just had to bring with you. A backpack diaper bag will fit just as much, if not more, and give you more maneuverability.
7. Gate Check Large Gear
Families with little ones are generally allowed to gate-check large baby gear at no extra cost, though you should also consult with your airline rather than assume. They’ll stow your stroller and car seat and deliver them to you when you disembark. Your items will be in much better care than if they had to go through baggage claim.
8. Rethink Your Boarding Strategy
Most airlines will allow parents with babies to board the plane first. However, it may not always be the best solution for you. If you’re traveling alone with your child, the extra time will be helpful to let you get situated, but then you have to sit in the small space with your potentially fussy baby for even longer. If you aren’t traveling alone, send another adult on first to get everything set up and ready, and then you board with the baby at the last possible moment.
9. Sanitize Everything
Especially in this post-pandemic world, taking every precaution when using public transportation is essential. Bring cleaning wipes to sanitize the seats and tray tables. You’ll also want to bring your own blanket and pillow since the ones on the plane can be full of germs.
10. Feed Them During Take-Off and Landing
As adults, we’ve learned to chew gum if our ears are sensitive to take-off and landing. The jaw movement helps relieve the pressure. The same motions can help your baby adapt to the altitude changes as well. Feeding your baby during take-off and landing will move their jaw and help soothe them through the transition.
Ultimately, your mood and mentality will determine the majority of the outcome. If you can remain calm and keep your anxieties in check, your baby is much more likely to feel happy and secure. Little ones can sense when their caregivers are overwhelmed, and it’s discomforting to them.
Also, even if your baby ends up in a complete meltdown on the trip, the other passengers will see you’re doing your very best. Odds are you’ll run into more people who are overly helpful than ones who are rude. Just use these tips for flying with a baby, and you’ll be landing safely at your destination in no time.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
We would love to connect deeper with you!