Traveling with a baby can be somehow difficult or even frightening for some people, especially if it’s your baby’s first time flying or you’re traveling alone with a baby. My son was 3 months old when I hopped on a plane with him to visit my family in Romania.
Don’t ask me how I had that kind of courage, but I did it, I survived! We actually had so many other flights alone, just the 2 of us. Therefore, in today’s article, I’m going to share some of my travelling tips and other bits and bobs when travelling with a baby. I can assure you that you are going to find these tips helpful on your journey.
It can be very overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this! Soon I’ll be traveling again with him, but he’s a toddler now, so things are a bit more challenging. Toddlers can be a little bit harder to please, especially when they burst with tantrums when you least expect it. The older they get, the harder things can get when traveling with a child.
I have to say that at first, I was so nervous to travel with him being so small, especially because I was alone in this. But when I woke up that day I felt so confident. I immediately knew that I can do it and that everything will be just fine. So, don’t get discouraged, momma! I know you’ve got this!
For your convenience, I’ve created a cheat sheet that has everything your baby needs while he’s away from home.
Babies generally need less stuff than us and when traveling you tend to overpack. I’ve been there. I packed so many things “just in case”. Things that I didn’t actually need or use.
Are you in a hurry or you don’t have enough time to read? SAVE it for later!
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1. Avoid busy seasons
If possible, try to avoid travelling with a baby during a busy season or holidays. You will see that this will benefit both of you. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t travel during this time. It’s just a suggestion! It’s going to be cheaper too and it’s more likely to have more space in the plane.
2. Schedule flights during nap times
Another thing you should consider if you can of course. If your baby already has an established routine and the flight has multiple departures in a day, I would highly recommend you to choose a flight during your baby’s nap time. This way, he’ll be sleeping during the flight and you are going to have a relaxed journey.
3. Choose an aisle seat
Once I chose a window seat and for us, and I hated it, huge mistake!
If you’re traveling just with your baby it’s super inconvenient.
You don’t have enough space, especially when your baby sleeps on you.
You’d also have to bother all other passengers if you want to go to the toilet or have another emergency.
Plus if your little one is walking already and the plane is not that busy you could leave him on the floor or just walk with him.
At the airport
1. Get informed about the airline you’re traveling with
I can’t stress this enough. It’s a very important step. For being uninformed I lost a bit of money, so please don’t be like me and ask questions before you travel.
For example, the airline I was traveling with at that moment, allows you to have a free checked in luggage of 20kg. Unless you have a stroller or car seat with you.
It’s super convenient if you decide to leave your stroller at home and travel with your baby carrier only – you could have a piece of checked-in luggage for free. By the way, a baby carrier it’s super convenient when they are really tiny. They are warm, cozy and snuggled up, plus your hands are free and you don’t have to worry about your buggy.
If you do decide to travel with the stroller, you two options:
- leave it at the check-in desk or
- take it with you all the way to the airplane’s door, after boarding
Do whatever it’s best for you. But, don’t forget that if you choose to take it with you, you’ll need someone to hold your baby while you handle the buggy.
2. Passing through security
The airport where I was traveling from for the first time, didn’t have a lane specially designed for families like there are in the U.S. (so I’ve heard)
So sometimes you’d have to stay in long queues. It can be very difficult if you have a crying baby or a toddler that doesn’t have patience.
But I got lucky and some of the airport staff moved me forward so I didn’t end up in massive queues.
If you want a fast pass through security make sure that you:
- Put your baby’s bottle in a specially designed box (not all airports have them)
- Take out of your luggage all your electronics such as a laptop, tablet or camera
- Remove your boots and belt
- Empty your pockets
- Remove everything from your stroller – it also applies for toys, blankets and any other stuff you might have in it.
You’d also have to take out your baby and hold him while you pass through the metal detector.
Bad news if your baby is sleeping. I was so upset once. My baby was sleeping and I had to take him out of his stroller and then he woke up, obviously.
3. Easy-to-fold stroller
It’s a massive pain to have a stroller that doesn’t fold easily and if it’s a 2 piece it’s even more difficult.
We had one that was out of two pieces and I couldn’t fold it while holding my baby. So when I traveled alone, I used to leave it at the check-in desk. Fewer things for me to worry about.
After a while, we bought a lightweight stroller from Hauck (it’s more of a summer one) that can easily be folded with one hand. Huge difference!
4. Change nappy before boarding
This is something I’ve done lately with my toddler, but totally doable with a baby as well.
Since my baby isn’t a baby anymore, he’s much more active and won’t stay put until I change his nappy, I found that it’s easier for us to change it before we actually board the plane.
Of course that if he decides to have a poo I’ll go and change him right away!
This is also a good idea if you don’t want to leave all your stuff unattended. Besides, I don’t really like plane’s bathrooms. They are so tiny and the changing table is too small for bigger kids.
It’s perfect for a tiny baby though, but be careful! It has a weird shape and your baby can easily roll over.
So definitely another thing to keep in mind.
On the plane
1. Ask for more space
Not sure about you, but if the flight is not full, I always do it.
More space for you and your baby is just a question away, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Just ask your flight attendant if you could switch places after departure. Usually, they’ll say “yes”.
Ideally, it would be great if you could have 2 seats instead of one. This way you could put your sleeping baby on a chair and not on your lap.
Don’t forget to put a blanket first! Those seats are so dirty! haha
He’ll get better sleep and you’ll have some “freedom” to do whatever you want without worrying that you’re going to wake up your baby.
2. Nurse or bottle feed while landing
It’s no secret that some of us really suffer from our ears when landing.
That’s because of the pressure. And babies are no different. So to ease some of their “pain” I would recommend offering your baby a bottle or if you’re a breastfeeding momma just nurse your baby when landing.
That’s what I did with my little one and he didn’t cry or have any suffering at all.
I have proof that this really works because since I stopped breastfeeding him when we travel and the plane starts landing he cries a lot. Sign that he’s suffering because of the pressure.
The sucking motion helps them ease some of the pain or even get rid of that pressure that sits in the ears during landing. So, if you’re not doing it by now, definitely give it a try.
You’ll thank me later!
3. Turn the air off
It’s very important to turn that air off!
Usually, it can get very cold on board. Not sure the reason behind it, but you must protect your baby.
They are very sensitive when they are so tiny. Anything could be too much for them.
I always turn the air off above all my seats and make sure my baby has a hat on and some warm clothes. You should also dress your baby in layers, if, it gets warmer inside.
If he falls asleep I’ll cover him with a blanket just to make sure that he’s ccozyand warm.
4. Lots of snacks & fruits
This applies for bigger babies, so after 6 months.
I always carry food and snacks with me. No matter where I go.
Food is a great way of keeping your child quiet and occupied. Be sure that you’re packing healthy foods.
5. Bring new toys or books
Again, this applies to slightly bigger babies, but it’s not a rule. I know that tiny babies will sleep throughout the flights. Always a bonus, right?
Small babies can be very easily entertained with toys, especially if they are new and haven’t seen them before.
A last note
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful.
Do you have any other tips when travelling with a baby? I’d love to read them in the comment section!
Until next time take care & stay beautiful!
Don’t forget to SAVE it for later!