If you’re a new parent, you likely already know how divisive flying with a baby can be. Even if you need a vacation more than anyone, flying with a newborn can earn you a lot of stares, and sometimes outright aggression.
Passengers these days are even advocating for child-free flights!
Still, everyone knows these ideas are ridiculous – after all, many of us were likely babies on a plane at some point in their lives.
When you’re on the go, don’t let the stress and judgment of others prevent you from flying with a baby.
Instead, read this post to figure out how to keep things peaceful on your flight.
1. Make Sure You Have Enough Formula
You know it better than anyone – a hungry baby is a loud baby. Even if your flight is scheduled to only a short time, always overprepare.
Especially these days, when delays, time spent sitting on the tarmac, and even outright cancellations are more common than ever, bringing enough formula is crucial.
Of course, formula is allowed on flights within reasonable quantities. You’ll just have to unpack it and show it to TSA agents at security. If you’re going with a powdered formula option, buy bottled water once you’re through security.
2. Mind Your Manners
Real talk: everybody on a plane is already angry, because they’re already on a plane, in a cramped seat, and eating bad airline food.
When a baby gets on board, we’ve all been guilty of rolling our eyes and crossing our fingers that they’re not in the aisle across from us.
While you can’t do anything about the person who keeps turning around every time your baby breathes, you can control your reaction to angry flyers. Don’t give them any reason to say “I told you so!” by doing your best to keep your cool.
It’s totally fine, even appreciated, for you to acknowledge the situation of your crying baby by apologizing to those around you when things get a little loud.
It’s also totally fine to ask the rude man behind you if he has any suggestions about how you can keep your baby quiet on the plane, or if he’d like to give it a shot.
Flying with a baby doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be walked all over.
3. Select Your Seat In Advance
During the reservation process, always let the person handling your tickets know that you’re going to be traveling with small children (bonus: you get to board ahead of everyone else!)
But telling an attendant that you’re flying with a baby isn’t just polite. In fact, there are restrictions about which seats can use the child safety restraint. So, the people making your reservation need to know to avoid confusion and scrambling the morning of your flight.
Most likely, you’ll be seated at a window, so that you won’t block other passengers.
If you have a baby that seems to always be on the go, ask your ticketing agent about the possibility of booking the bulkhead seat. That way, if your child tosses his/her toy (again) then it won’t keep landing on the person in front of you.
Also, since you already know that baby’s ears are especially sensitive when you’re up in the air, talk to your agent about booking a seat that’s as close to the front of the plane as possible. The back of the plane has greater vibration, which will hurt your baby’s ears even more.
Plus, the front of the plane is quieter, meaning that baby may fall – and stay! – asleep faster.
Pro Tip: Remember that there are lots of family-friendly airlines. Do a little research online before you book your tickets to make sure you’re going with one that will help you out the most – not stress you out!
4. Prepare For Baggage Ahead Of Time
If you thought you overpacked before, wait until you start traveling with a baby.
Between diapers, strollers, carriers, and a seemingly unlimited supply of baby wipes, you’re likely worried about overweight baggage.
Invest in a simple handheld baggage scale to make sure you don’t have to unpack half of your suitcase in the baggage line.
Also, think about what it’s possible to buy at your destination (of course, this will likely depend on how remote of an area you’re traveling to.)
If there’s an option for curbside check-in, take it: it’s worth the few extra dollars and will save you tons of headaches.
Trust us, when you’re lugging your baby, your spouse, and your ten pounds of luggage through the gate, you’ll really regret not spending that extra few dollars on curbside assistance.
As always, you’ll be able to check your stroller at the gate, so don’t worry about using it until the last second before you board.
5. Have A Sense Of Humor
When you’re flying with a baby, it’s crucial to be able to laugh at yourself. If your baby starts screaming, (because it’s likely going to happen) becomes demanding, or just spits up all over itself, laugh it off.
Even engage other passengers in your jokes to help ease the tension and form connections.
Most people on flights remember how stressful it was to travel with a baby of their own, and there will likely be far more sympathetic people on your flight than nasty ones.
Keep in mind, though, that your parenting skills are not on trial, here. As a parent, you know better than anyone that some things are just completely out of your control.
Smiling through a tough situation always makes it easier. Look on the bright side – at least you get through security faster!
You Can Handle Flying With A Baby
We know that air travel can seem like even more of a complete nightmare when you’re taking your baby with you.
Still, follow these five tips, take a breath, and remember: one way or another, your flight will be over soon.