A few weeks ago (when Ralph was 7 1/2 weeks old), we took him on his first holiday. Now, I am not going to lie, I was SO nervous about flying with a new baby. As someone who has been on many flights where babies were crying, I was so afraid that would be me one day. I have never been annoyed with a crying/fussy baby while flying but I have been surrounded by (rude) people who whisper things under their breath. Whenever I hear someone say something nasty under their breath, I always have commented out loud ‘oh that sweet baby is so sad, I wish there was something to do to help the mother not be so stressed’. At the time, I did not have a baby but I knew one day I would be in that same boat and I only would hope that someone would make their seat mate feel stupid for something that a mother has no control over.
Prior to leaving on our trip, I asked ALL of my friends that have previously flown with a new baby and I also reached out on Instagram to get even advice from my followers. After getting an overwhelming response and tips that I had never even thought of, I felt MUCH more prepared. See below for tips, tricks and products that helped me (and baby Ralph) have a successful first flight (and trip).
- plan flight around when the baby eats: this was so helpful because I was able to feed him upon take off and give him his passy whenever we were decending in order to prevent his ears from hurting him
- valet your car at the airport: this was super convenient because we landed at a different terminal than where we parked. prior to baby it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to jump on a little bus to move terminals to get our car but after getting off of a long flight with Ralph, it was so convenient to just walk outside baggage claim and our car be waiting for us (the difference in price is about $7 a day..for us, it was worth it)
- book a more spacious seat: we flew first with the baby so we would have more room but if that is not in your budge, then I recommend paying the extra $30-$50 each way and getting a main cabin select seat which gives you an extra 4-6 inches of room (plus you will be one of the first on the plane, giving you time to get settled)
- check your car seat/stroller with your luggage: my sister is a flight attendant and told me to do this. she said that if you gate check your stroller, regardless if you are the first off the plane, you WILL be last to walk back into the airport. she explained that for some reason they are SUPER slow with retrieving your stroller post flight. we took her advice and this really worked out great.
- buy the doona stroller for travel: this stroller was a gift from my friends at my baby shower and it is literally the best stroller/car seat ever. it’s a car seat with wheels attached (they just pop down) and is literally the best thing to travel with. like I said previously, we checked this with our luggage and even used the travel bag that it flew in to store a few ‘over flow’ items. It was super easy to get in and out of ubers and also so easy to use when strolling around. I cannot say enough good things about this stroller/car seat combo. It really is the BEST!
- wear your baby: I was a little nervous to wear Ralph but it really worked out wonderfully for us. When we arrived at the airport, I just put on this baby carrier and he stayed in it until take off. It was perfect because I did not have to take him out of it to go through security, then once we got on the flight I took him out of it and we got to snuggle the entire flight!
- if your baby is fussy when he gets burped (Ralph makes noise because of his reflux), I recommend putting the passy in his mouth for burping! this trick kept ralph quite when I needed to burp him.
- put milk/formula/water in a plastic bag (all together), so you can just throw it in the tray when you go through security. It makes it go faster.
- wear a sweater/sweatshirt over your shoulders: this was great to prop under my arm while feeding Ralph and even for support while he slept on me
- bring an extra shirt for yourself: just in case baby spits up!
- bring two extra pajamas for baby (you never know..apparently blow outs are more likely to happen in the air!!)
- put aquaphor around their nose and above their top lip: this prevents germs from getting in your babies nose or mouth. a good friend taught me this trick!
- put plastic zip lock bag in your carry on: blow outs happen…especially at 30,000 feet
- there is a tray that pops down in the bathroom on the flight where you can change the babies diaper (who knew)
- AMAZON everything to your destination: this was so key. prior to arriving on Nantucket I ordered everything. Diapers, wipes, formula, diaper rash cream and even baby soap. It was so easy when we arrived to have all of our basic supplies for baby Ralph. Also, when I traveled I traveled with enough diapers/etc for a day (just in case).
- Rent other baby supplies from local companies: this was such a good tip, did you know that in the majority of places you travel there are now companies that provide baby products? I rented a crib, changing table, bathtub, playmat, and monitor. You can also rent everything from swinging chairs, pack and plays/etc. For Nantucket, we used Petit Travelers and loved it. When we arrived everything was set up and ready to go for us. it was so nice making Ralph feel as much at home as possible to prevent meltdowns.
- If your baby is on a schedule: keep to the schedule. This was so important to us to make sure that Ralph was on his normal schedule while we were traveling. Yes, it’s fun to be gone all afternoon enjoying a city but it is so not worth it to make him over tired. We kept our ‘outings’ much shorter to make sure that he got ample nap time and kept to his schedule.
- Bring something for the other passengers/flight crew: Yes, this is excessive I know but since my sister is a flight attendant I like to go above and beyond to show my appreciation to anyone working in the sky because I know how hard they work and I know how much they do that us passengers don’t even think about! I made these in-flight cookies for surrounding passengers. I know I don’t need to apologize for having a baby but everyone appreciated the kind gesture and the flight crew and captains even gave Ralph his first pair of wings and they all signed a little flight book that they made him. So sweet and for sure something that will be going in his baby book! (full disclosure: I highly doubt I will be doing this for my second baby but go big or go home for the first, haha). If you want to see the full post with what I gave the other passengers, click here.
If you have any tips/tricks for flying with a baby please e-mail me. I want to learn as much as I can.