Traveling with an Infant? Read this first for the best experience possible

Traveling with an infant doesn’t have to be a tough situation. Learn the tips to make your plane journey as smooth as possible, especially if you have a baby with you.

Traveling with an Infant

Hey mommas, long time no talk! Between the holidays, a new job, and preparing for my wedding, I haven’t been able to write as much. But I’m now getting settled back into my old routines and very excited to start writing again!

With my fiancé being in school in the next state over, I have had to do a ton of traveling the last 6 months with my soon-to-be 1 year old. Wether driving or flying, I’ve collected my best tips to help save some of your sanity, time, and money!

1. Make a checklist a week before you pack

Starting a week or two before you pack for your trip start making a list of what you use daily or often for your little babe. Somethings slip out of you’re packing and you end up having to run to the store once you’re on the road to buy what you forgot. For me, sound machines, bulb suction//infant medicine, and purified water are the most easily forgotten.

I started writing down the things I use every couple days or even just once or twice a week. That way when I’m packing I don’t forget the easily forgotten necessities.

2. Invest in a portable DVD player or tablet

Some moms might not like the idea of their infant watching a movie but when you’re on a road trip or flight it might be necessary to keep your little one from crying out of boredom. Download their favourite songs, movies, or episodes to your device and play it in the backseat with them to give them something fun to watch! My little watches Disney’s Coco on loop anytime we’re on a road trip and it’s such a convenient hack for me.

3. Decide what can wait to be purchased once you arrive to your destination

I always pack just enough diapers and wipes to get me to my destination, then I run to a target and buy a small pack to get me through the rest of the vacation. That way my suitcase is half full from 30+ diapers. This also applies to baby foods and snacks. I find it’s easier to only pack for the travel and then buy what I need for the remainder of the trip once I get there!

4. Accept that you’ll still be doing laundry on vacation

When travelling with a baby it doesn’t matter how talented you are, you will still end up with a car full of baby stuff leaving little room for mom and dad’s suitcases. Especially when you factor in the extra clothes for baby’s messes. It’s easier to just bring 2-3 outfits for each person and wash them while you’re there.

5. Have snacks or a bottle ready when boarding the plane

Just like adults, babies ears hurt and need to pop when reaching higher altitudes. But unlike us, they can’t really pop their own ear with a simple yawn or jaw wiggle. That’s why giving them a bottle or snack to swallow can help save the both of you tears and stress. The swallowing motion will pop their ears and babies are typically happy when their eating anyways so they might to mind the turbulence or stale environment of a plane.

Massaging baby’s earlobes can also help with ear pain on flights. When your flight prepares to land, try covering babes ears with your hands or a blanket to help with pressure. Just be sure you’re not covering their face!!

6. If flying, gate check your stroller and car seat

Since having my daughter, we’ve flown on 4 United Airlines flights. When checking in you’re allowed to opt for gate checking your bags when you board the plane. This is very convenient because you can use your car seat and stroller at the airport until it’s time to board the flight then you leave it in the terminal and they have it waiting for you at the next airport when the deplane. This service is free on United Airlines and have been a lifesaver when travelling alone with a 10 month old. I can’t speak for other airlines, however I’m sure they all have similar policies! For lap infants you also get to bring your diaper bag in addition to your regular carryon. For breastfeeding moms, you can bring your breast pump and accessories as well in addition to everything else, no extra charge.

I’d also like to add that I had never flown with United until 2020 and I was nervous to say the least, since you hear a lot of bad things in the news about them. But I can say I had the absolute best experience flying United. They let families with children under 2 years of age board the plane first and the flight attendants were incredibly friendly and helpful throughout the flight!

7. Bring a couple of toys but leave the rest at home

As we already know, babies are like cats. Rather than playing with a new toy, they play with the box it came in. This can be really useful when you’re away from home. Empty water bottles, straws, and even spoons can be used as toys for a little one with a big imagination! I bring one or two of her favourite toys for familiarity and comfort but I mostly find new “toys” at our destination.

8. Consider leaving the stroller behind and opting for a baby sling instead

Just going to grandma and grandpa’s for the weekend? Perhaps leaving the stroller behind might be the best option for you! Wearing a sling when you need to go to the store with baby can be a good, less bulky alternative to a stroller. If you’re plans mostly involved staying in and relaxing a baby sling is a really wonderful substitute and can open a whole bunch of space in your trunk!

Regardless of where you’re going or how you’re getting there, just remember, traveling with baby’s is a learning experience and it’s okay to get overwhelmed during the process. It is equally hard on both mom & dad and the baby. Be sure to plan a rest day to recover when you get back from your trip!!

I hope this helps you and your family to have smooth and safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon can you travel with a newborn?

Doctors say it’s not a good idea to travel on a plane during the first week after a baby is born. Some healthcare experts recommend avoiding travel for the first few months. Usually, both babies and adults have an equal chance of getting sick from traveling. However, a baby’s immune system is still figuring out how to defend against germs.

What is the best age to travel with a baby?

Most people think the ideal times for traveling with kids are when they’re between three and nine months old, before they start moving around a lot. Another good time is after they turn two or three. The goal is to skip the challenging toddler phase and, more importantly, to steer clear of flying with very young babies, which can be risky, according to experts.

Can you breastfeed on an airplane?

Many American and international airlines say it’s okay for moms to breastfeed their babies on a plane.

How can I protect my baby’s ears while on a plane?

Make sure to get ear plugs or ear muffs made just for babies. This way, they’ll fit right and give enough protection. Chewing is also a good way to help babies balance the pressure in their ears during a flight.

How do you change a diaper on a plane?

If there’s no diaper changing table in the bathroom, you can change your baby on the toilet seat. Just make sure to keep a hand on your baby all the time. Use a disposable changing pad. You could also ask a flight attendant for permission to change your baby on the cabin floor if needed.


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