Tips for Flying With Baby and Toddler
Those of you who travel have surely heard or maybe experienced horror stories that come along with traveling with a baby or toddler. If you’re facing a trip with a tiny person yourself, you may be a bit apprehensive about how to tackle it, especially if it’s your first time. Never fear – here is a short survival guide to flying with a baby or toddler
First of all, you need to put some thought into booking your flight and choosing your seating. It helps if you know your child’s habits. Nap time is a good time to fly, since your little one will likely be snoozing and won’t need as much interaction. If your child does better in the morning than later in the day in terms of being less fussy, that would be a good time to book your flight. Seats are another consideration. If you’re breastfeeding and need privacy, the window might be your best bet, or if you will probably need to be up and down a fair bit with your child, you may have better luck with the aisle. You should probably avoid the back of the plane, since there is a lot of foot traffic, not to mention proximity to the restrooms.
Probably the worst part of any trip is negotiating the airport and security. This can be compounded when you travel with a young child. Be sure to bring proof of your child’s age. A stroller can be a lifesaver, since it can also hold things other than your child. If there’s one thing you’ll learn about traveling with kids, it’s that they need things. Sometimes, they need many things. You have to get everything from point A to point B somehow, and that stroller is just the ticket. For an infant, you may want to take a car seat. If your child is walking, consider getting him or her an individual little travel bag.
Your child will feel independent and involved, which may make your path through the airport a bit easier. Here’s something you may not know: you can take a spill-proof sippy cup through security without having to be patted down. If you carry packaged milk or juice for your child, you will likely have to go through the search, but it beats not having child-friendly drinks when your little one needs them. And finally, to avoid chaos, don’t be afraid to wait to board. Also, there are clear travel bags that you can get to show clearly what you’re carrying for your child. This may help speed you through the security process.
Okay, we know little people need extras of everything – clothing, bottles, pacifiers, you name it. So what exactly should you pack? Try to travel as lightly as you can, which still won’t be very lightly, in all likelihood. But here are a few must-haves for your trip: bring disposable bags of the type designed for picking up after dogs or containing used diapers. These are made to contain mess and odor. Bring disposable changing pads. You will find an extra, clean cup useful, since water in airplane bathrooms is full of chemicals and not well suited to cleaning baby bottles, etc. High protein snacks such as nuts or cheese are a good idea.
Avoid anything messy. Small toys are a must. Again, avoid anything that will create a big mess. Landings are hard on little ears, as the air pressure changes. Arrange for your child to have something to suck on or chew, especially during landings. Even breast feeding will help in this situation.
Finally, here are a few general tips for you. Try not to let sick children around your child before you fly, to avoid traveling with a sick baby.
Try to book an extra seat for your child, if you can. This gives you extra space to tend to the child and frees your hands. You may need to resort to earplugs. And finally, consider some sort of party favor-style care packages for the passengers immediately around you, so that they will understand that you are being considerate of their experience as well as your own. It engenders good will toward you and your little one.
Traveling with a baby or toddler need not be an exercise in frustration. A little preparation in advance can make the world of difference when you take to the skies. Happy travels!