Traveling Series: Going by Plane

Summer time means lots of things, but for us it means TRAVELING!  Vacations are a much needed break from the norm around these parts.  Follow along with me this week as I lay out some tips, tricks, and ups and downs of traveling with a baby!  Today I am talking about traveling on a plane with a baby…yikes!  We did it with baby boy when he was 6 months old, and it went better than anticipated!

Check out the other posts in this series:

  1. Series Index
  2. Traveling by Car
  3. Traveling by Plane
  4. Car Seat VS. Lap on Plane
  5. Staying in a Hotel
  6. Pinterest-ing Busy Games
  7. Peek Into OUR Vacation

traveling with a baby

Traveling Series #2: Going by Plane

What to pack for the plane ride

  • Bottles: Security makes exceptions to the 3 oz rule for formula and breast milk.  They may inspect it as you go through but they should let you bring it on the plane.  Bring on MORE than you think you will need…you never know what may happen!  It helps with ear pressure when given at take off and landing.
  • Blanket: If you are using your car seat on the plane it is handy to have a blanket with you that you can drape over the car seat to help your little one catch some Z’s.
  • Toys: It’s a given!  But maybe not bring the toy that repeats the same song over and over, for the sanity of yourself and the adults around you.
  • Food: I have said it before and I’ll say it again…if all else fails, feed the baby!  It works every time.
  • Videos/Movies: If possible download some baby videos to your smart phone that you can show your little one.  My son was not interested in this at that age, but it never hurts to be extra prepared.
  • Pacifier: Bottles or pacifiers are good for to create sucking when the plane is landing or taking off.  Bottles are perfect for popping their ears.
  • Puffs: If your child is able to snack on the puffs sold in stores, bring them on!  Great way to quiet a fussy baby.
  • Car Seat: You have the option of using your car seat (without base) on the plane or holding them on your lap.  We chose the car seat (more about that in the next post!).

Tips to keep your sanity on the plane

Most airports have a family security check in with a little more room (look for it!).  One thing that I ALWAYS try and remember when going through security is to have a place for everything.  There is a lot to think about when going through with a baby.  Here is my, only slightly OCD, list of where I keep everything

  • driver’s license: after it is shown at check in…back in the wallet
  • tickets: after we show the tickets they go right into my purse
  • full bottles: separate cooler/bag inside diaper bag so that it can be taken out quickly and shown to security
  • bag of liquids: separate zip lock baggie in an outside pocket of the carry on…quick in and out
  • stroller: carry the baby through and know how to quickly fold up the stroller (they want it on the belt if possible)
  • shoes: wear flip flops (and NO belt) so you don’t have to worry about tying your shoes after you take them off.

We found that it was a godsend to have the little guy fall asleep on the plane.  He is not a baby to fall asleep in our arms (except if I nurse him), so he fell asleep in the car seat.  We were prepared once he woke up (probably startled by something) to nurse him so he didn’t cry too much.

Just like the car trip spread out the distractions.  If he is happy playing with nothing for a bit, leave him be!  That way when he is unhappy you have things to go to (puffs, sippy, food, toys, etc.).

When that seat belt sign clicks off (and especially if you have a LONG plane ride) give baby a break from the seat and walk around.  Everyone loves looking at a cute baby, so don’t be afraid to let him crawl around a bit near the back.  I am sure the passengers would much rather be bothered by a crawling baby than a screaming baby!

We also found that we just needed to go with the flow!  Things happened unexpectedly, like my husband being patted down in a separate area, leaving me at security with baby, luggage, stroller, milk (being checked out), etc.  We just had to laugh about it and do the best that we could.  Who cares if others get upset or give you the “why-did-you-procreate” stare down.  Laugh if off and enjoy your trip!

traveling by plane with a baby

One happy baby on vacation

Any interesting tales from a plane trip you want to share?


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4 comments to Traveling Series: Going by Plane

  • Great tips!

    My husband just flew with our little man (for the first time) alone! I was a nervous wreck and wish I would have seen your travel series!!

  • This is great advice!! Thanks for the info on the family security check-in!! My husband and I will be taking our little guy to New York for a week this fall – will definitely use your advice here! 😀

  • Beth D

    I have flown with my little guy three times now and I totally agree with what you said. To future travelers, my advice is to take a deep breath and just do it. It’ll work out. I have had very positive experiences flying with my son. Everyone (in the airport, flight attendants, fellow travelers) was so nice and so helpful. The only problem I had was running out of water and having to deal with a screaming baby while the flight attendant got more. Ah! I definitely second the advice to bring LOTS of formula/snacks. Snacks were the perfect entertainment for my now toddler.

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