10 tips for flying with babies

flying-tips

We made it home! I don’t know how, but we’re here and we survived! Actually, flying with babies isn’t as bad as you might think. Yes, I still get a little tense with anticipation but I’m trying to learn to take it easy.  It helps to have a great team partner to bounce off of when it gets a little stressing.

I just counted and Emila has already flown 12 times in her short life, often over the Atlantic and with layovers that make for really long days. This was Olivia’s 5th flight. The nice part about babies is that they fly for free until their 2 years old. The bad part is that means they’re on your lap most of the time.

starting-off
Starting out hopeful.

There is usually an option on the flight to get a seat with a fold our baby bed in front of you, but we’ve never managed to be that lucky. And we’ve still been fine. Sometimes the flight attendants will try to maneuver people to give us an extra seat to stretch out.

That happened yesterday and I was jumping for joy for a second until another lady on standby claimed that seat. Fortunately, she was extremely friendly and loved sitting next to the girls. She even complimented them for their good behavior throughout the 8 hour trip.

selfie-distraction-time
Here we are doing a quick version of selfie distraction time! It’s amazing the power that looking at yourself in the camera has over little kids.

So, from our experience we’ve gathered a few survival tips.

fly-with-babies

  • Run out their energy before boarding.

    Keep them active for as long as you can and try to time nap time once you’re on the plane. This doesn’t always work as their in a new and exciting environment and it can take some time.  But it’s worth the effort to try to make them tired but not so overtired that they can’t sleep without screaming.

  • Preparation is key!

    Make sure the bag with all your supplies  will fit under the seat in front of you instead of the overhead bin. We usually travel with a lot of luggage so we make full use of every carry on and checked bag. But keep the important things together and within hands reach.

  • Keep the kids comfortable!

    They might want to take off their shoes for the trip so make sure you double up on warm socks. Pack an extra set of everything because this is the perfect opportunity for kids to soak through a diaper. Pack sweaters or other layers for when the air conditioning comes on.

    tired papa
    Everyone was exhausted from a short night.
  • Make sure you have a drink for them at take off and landing.

    Most of the time, we haven’t had too much trouble with ear popping even if they’re sleeping. But a well timed bottle can make the difference when the pressure starts to build. Try to make sure they don’t drink it all before the actual take off because you’ll be sunk and stuck in your seatbelt.

  • Maybe consider baby wearing if it helps your child sleep.

    I tried this yesterday with Olivia and I know she was exhausted but this time she was also too aware of her surroundings. You win some you lose some, but our manduca has been a life saver in the past.

  • Make sure you know where the little white bags are in the seat back pockets.

    If your kid is prone to motion sickness like ours, whipping this out the second you notice them going white can prevent a lot of mess.

  • Don’t worry about what other people are thinking.

    I’m still working on this. We’ve gotten all kinds of reactions over our flights. There have been some nasty looks and rolled eyes where you can see people hoping that you won’t sit next to them.  Other people have been so kind and understanding that it just lightens your mental weight. I think babies can sense your anxiety and feed off of it to make them more tense as well. Stay calm and just breath through each situation. Mo is much better than this than me but it’s one of my goals. Either way, just do your best and forget the rest. You probably won’t ever have to see these people again anyway. 

taking-a-peppa-pig-break
Here’s Emila just making herself at home on our 4 hour layover in Lisbon.
  • Bring entertainment!

    Pack some NEW books, coloring books, crayons, comfort items like a teddy bear or baby doll. This is also not the time to be judicious with electronics and digital entertainment. If it keeps them occupied and quiet even for a little break, don’t be afraid to bring out the iPad with some pre-downloaded entertainment. There are tons of toddler apps that are perfect for situations like this. This is a great time to splurge on downloaded versions of Peppa Pig (or whatever your child prefers.) A lot of longer flights will have a personalized screen to each seat but don’t count on it. This last flight with Air Portugal was awesome because they brought two whole bags for the girls to keep then occupied. Emila’s had a pencil case, colored pencils, a coloring book, an activity book, playing cards that doubled as a matching game and warm socks. Olivia’s had a rattle, stuffed toy and plastic book. So cool! (but again, don’t count on it)

  • Bring food and drinks.

    While long flights often give you meals and snacks, flight attendants are busy and it usually comes on their terms. A quick snack when you have a fussy baby is the perfect distraction. Sometimes flights offer you baby food but often your flight attendant has a ton of other requests at the same time and it can take awhile, so think about your babies tolerance level for waiting. Also, bring bottles. While their are restrictions on liquids, babies are the exception. It your baby uses formula, the packaged liquid formula might be preferable. That way, they don’t need to be tested through security which saves you a bunch of hassel and time (if you’re running late like us and hear your name over the loud speaker twice.)

    finally-nap-time
    Luck us, she waited for the second flight and took a 3 or 4 hour nap. Amazing!
  • Be prepared for everything!

    Murpheys law is in full effect when you are flying with babies. Pack a full change of clothes in your easy access bag and another in your upper bin bag just in case. For babies, pack teethers, tooth gel, etc.because what better time could there possible be to pop out a new tooth than on a 8 hour flight when you’re stuck in one place. Pack their comfort blanket. A little taste of home can make the difference between a well rested baby and one that’s completely out of sorts. Besides that, airplanes often have air conditioning that you can’t control. Make sure you bring extra socks and sweaters. It’s no fun wearing shoes for that long and it can get really cold!

  • Don’t worry about what other people are thinking.

    I’m still working on this. We’ve gotten all kinds of reactions over our flights. There have been some nasty looks and rolled eyes where you can see people hoping that you won’t sit next to them.  Other people have been so kind and understanding that it just lightens your mental weight. I think babies can sense your anxiety and feed off of it to make them more tense as well. Stay calm and just breath through each situation. Mo is much better than this than me but it’s one of my goals. Either way, just do your best and forget the rest. You probably won’t ever have to see these people again anyway. 

coming-into-portugal
It’s the coolest thing to watch the sunrise from above the clouds.

So, the next time you’re thinking of flying with your little one or two or however many, remember to just breath and begin.

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I'm a traveling lady with my husband and two girls. Right now, we're working on the balance of bouncing between continents and loving the experience!
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About Me

I'm Kari, I blog about travel, faith, health, my family, etc.

I'm Kari, I blog about travel, faith, health, my family, etc.

Right now I'm working on a Culture Expedition project with my family to learn more about different places in the world and the people that live there.
I'm Kari, I blog about travel, faith, health, my family, etc.
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