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Flying With A Baby For The First Time Was Terrifying…
Frankly, I was TERRIFIED the first time we went flying with our baby, Adaline. I legit could barely sleep the night before. Then, we got to the airport and she was having a rough day because she was teething. She was crying inconsolably. Ryan and I began to feel stressed. We couldn’t make her stop crying, which was rare; she was typically a happy baby. I had a moment of fear when I thought of the four-hour plane ride ahead where we would be trapped holding a wailing baby. After ten more minutes of her crying, I had a moment of doom where I thought maybe my days traveling really were over for a while. The people around us at the gate were staring, unamused with our little bundle of joy. Ryan and I began to argue. It was a mess.
We were traveling with my mother-in-law who calmed us down. “Everyone who has kids has dealt with a crying baby before and has felt just like you right now. Stay calm. The baby can feel your energy and feeds off of it.”
That was exactly what we needed to hear. The moment that she said those words of wisdom from her experience of raising 5 kids, I calmed down and thought to give her Tylenol and Baby Orajel for her teething. Then, once she calmed down a little from the relief of the Orajel, I nursed her. We loaded onto the plane with a content baby who I fed during take-off to help her ears adjust to the air pressure. She struggled and cried for about 10 minutes during the flight and then fell asleep until we landed almost four hours later.
Now, she has been on 4 successful, low-stress flights and is still only 4 months old. We even have 4 more flights planned by the time she’s 6 months old. These are some tips we’ve learned while traveling with a baby that has made the experience less stressful and even pleasant!
Tips I’ve Learned About Flying With a Baby:
Make their long nap for the day during your travel time
This makes all the difference! If they are happy on the flight and just not tired, sure, that’s fine too. But if you can make their long nap during the plane ride, you can just sit there and hold them while you watch a movie yourself and not have to worry about trying to entertain them for hours in a seat. It makes life much easier and the plane ride goes much quicker!
If it’s a long flight (like one from the US to Europe), try to plan it overnight! Most of those flights are overnight anyway. If they can sleep for the night on the plane, it will hopefully help with the jet lag!
Keep them awake before the flight
This helps them to sleep on the plane! Our baby typically sleeps on the way to the airport, is awake as we get to the airport and go through security (you will have to take them out of their stroller to go through security), and then typically gets tired as we board. You want them tired, but also not overly tired!
Have them suck during take off and landing (it helps with the air pressure)
If our baby is awake during take-off, I feed her. If not, we just have a pacifier in her mouth or right by her mouth so if she needs to suck, she can. Some babies struggle with this more than others, and you won’t really know until you fly with your baby! Until you know, it is best to have your baby eat during takeoff because sucking AND swallowing helps with the air pressure the most and helps you avoid a baby screaming in pain.
Bring your carseat and stroller if you are going to need it often on the trip
Sure, you can rent a carseat and stroller. If you are, here is a great website for that. But you can also simply take it to the gate and then check it there. After the plane ride, you just wait a couple of minutes and it will be right there at the gate ready for you to use again! We like to do this because it saves us money rather than having to rent baby equipment wherever we are going, and it’s convenient at the airport to have the stroller.
Book an Aisle Seat
So you can easily get in and out as much as you need while flying with your baby.
If they start crying, stay calm!
I know it can be hard not to freak out about everyone staring at you and you being THAT PERSON with a crying baby. But everyone who is parents on this plane has been in the same situation in public at some point in their life. Think about what could possibly be bothering your baby (hungry, ear pain, teething, diaper change, etc.) and do what you can to fix it. The back of the plane is louder, so if you think that your baby might cry a good bit on the plane ride, sit back there and fewer people will hear you! If the seatbelt sign isn’t on, walking the aisles could be a great way to calm the baby down. When in doubt, I always try nursing our baby and it almost always works (and then she falls back to sleep, too).
I hope these tips help you out for flying with a baby!
Safe travels & have fun making unforgettable memories.
For more travel tips, click here.