Flying with an infant can be an exciting and overwhelming time.
When my daughter was 7 months old, we flew to Disney World and when she turned 1 (year old), we went on a 5 week trip to Asia. I’ll be sharing some tips with you that we found extremely helpful for us as new parents navigating this world of travel with a baby.
Note: As we have a new normal now with certain travel requirements, it would be a good idea to look up what are the requirements for travel by air, especially with a baby.
As parents, there is so much to think about when it comes to travelling with our babies. We want to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. I hope that this blog post will help you prepare for flying with your infant.
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Here are 6 flying with an infant tips you should know:
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1. Deciding when to fly
There are a few things to take note of before you buy the flight tickets.
First, take note of when your baby sleeps and naps. If they will be asleep on the flight, then it might be easier for you. However, if they need their environment to be quiet, dark, and lack distractions, you might want to take them to the airport and flight after they are well rested.
Do note that you need to be at the airport an hour or more before you fly. Factor those things in together with their nap and sleep time to decide when best to fly.
If you are taking a long flight, then you’ll have to make the best decision of when would be the most favorable time to fly with your baby.
For us, we chose to fly an overnight flight to Asia so that she can sleep for most of the ride there. She was sleeping when we were on our way to the airport, woke up during the checking in process and while we waited to depart. However, she fell asleep shortly after we were on the plane.
You know your baby best.
2. Buying the Actual Plane Ticket
Two things to note in regards to buying the plane ticket after deciding the best time. You want to think about which seat you prefer and who is going on the trip with you.
Depending on whether your baby is mobile (crawling or walking), this might impact you.
I would highly recommend for you to get the bulkhead seats as those have babies who love to stand. You might need to call the airline to book those seats as you have an infant ticket.
Even though you may lose the storage space in front of you, it’s quite a bit of space for you to stretch and for your baby to stand on the floor if you let them.
If you are unable to get the bulkhead seats, you will need to decide whether you want the aisle or window seat.
It really depends on what you prefer.
The window seat is great for privacy and your baby can look out the window. However, the downside is that you’ll need to ask the person next to you to move every time you need to go to the washroom or stretch.
The aisle seat is great for you to move around if need be. However, there is no privacy as people are walking up and down the aisle to go to the bathroom.
Another thing to think about is whether you’ll be travelling with someone or by yourself. If travelling with someone, you can buy the window and aisle seats and hopefully you’ll get the whole row to yourself. If not, you can always ask to switch if needed.
3. Things to pack in carry-on
Now that you’ve bought your ticket and are starting to pack for the flight, there are a few must-haves you need to pack in your carry-on.
If you are travelling by yourself with your baby, it’s important to keep things compact and simple. One backpack is sufficient (unless you’re an over-packer then maybe a carry-on luggage too).
For the baby, you will want to pack these things:
- Diapers and Wipes
- Extra clothes and socks (2 Sets if it’s a longer flight)
- Water and bottles for formula (You are allowed to bring in hot water through the airport for baby)
- Books and Quiet Toys
- Plastic bag for dirty clothes
As for you, you’ll want to pack these for yourself (in addition to what you usually pack):
- Extra set of clothes (My daughter had a poop explosion and it was on my pants for the whole flight, not fun)
- Nursing cover (for feeding or just to create a distraction free space for baby)
- Baby Carrier (we have this one)
It’ll be good for you to know exactly where you put the items if you will be looking for them on the plane. Especially if you’re travelling by yourself and holding the baby, the easier it is to find what you’re looking for the better.
4. Night before flying with an infant
It is really important to get as much rest as you can the night before your flight.
Keep the same schedule with your baby and worry about switching the time zones after you get to your destination. This is because when your baby is better rested, you’ll hopefully have a happier baby on the plane.
Before you sleep, it’ll be good to look through your list of what you need to bring to the airport the next day.
This includes your carry-ons, stroller, chargers, things for the baby and yourself. Make sure that the list is complete so that it’ll be easy to grab what you need using the list the next day.
5. At the airport
When you are bringing your baby to the airport, you can gate check your stroller. What this means is that you can put your baby in your stroller after bypassing security and check in your stroller prior to boarding.
This is pretty helpful as it will help you be hands-free and save you some energy before the flight. If your baby insists on being carried, you can always use your baby carrier to give you great support while carrying your baby.
Related: ErgoBaby 360 Carrier Review
Also, at the airport, you should decide whether you want to board early with family boarding or later after everyone has taken their seats.
For those who need time to put the carry-on in the luggage compartments, settle down, and not feel rushed in finding their seats, you should board early. This will give you and your baby time to take in the new environment and put things where you need to be without other passengers rushing you.
If your baby could benefit from getting their energy out while waiting to board, then you might consider boarding last. However, you might not be able to find space to put your carry-on since you board later (unless someone in your party decides to go in first with the carry-ons).
6. On the flight
When the plane is departing or landing, it’ll be good to feed your baby to keep their ears from feeling the uncomfortable pressure. Whether bottle feed or breastfeed, do what you need to do to keep the baby and you happy.
If your baby takes snacks or food, it’ll be good to have some prepared for the flight. Long distance flight usually comes with meals. However, depending on whether your child has allergies or you have a preference for certain types of food, you might want to bring your own.
We can get antsy when we’re bored. It is the same with babies.
A way to combat that is with books and quiet toys. It is something for them to look at and play with without disturbing others on the plane.
Last but not least, poop explosions happen in the most unexpected places. For me, it was on our flight to Disney World. You want to be prepared if it does happen.
Of course, I did not pack extra pants as it was a short flight. I was not smart.
Had to sit on the flight with poop on my pants and on the Disney bus, and finally could change when we arrived at the resort.
So learn from my mistake and be sure to pack extra clothes for both you and the baby, and have extra diapers and wipes for the flight.
It was truly an adventure.
Thank you so much for reading my blog post on flying with an infant tips.
Related blog posts:
- Review: Flying EVA Airlines with a baby
- Breastfeeding Tips On The Plane
- How to plan a last minute Disney vacation
If you like this post, please pin the image below and share it with others who might find it helpful. Follow me on Instagram @makingdayscount for more mom tips and day of a life with 2 young children.