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Travel with baby – Tips to ease the stress

Travel with baby – how about tips to ease the stress and struggles of air travel. You’ve seen it on a previous flight; a family struggles to get onboard overloaded with baby, bags, carriage and car seat. Are there any tips to make it easier?

During my years of working as a flight attendant, I saw many families struggle with extra bags while safely handling the baby and in many cases other children too.  I saw tears and stomping of feet in frustration;  several times I was handed the baby and asked “help me! I can’t do it all!”  Although I don’t have children and have not had to personally travel with a baby in arms, as a flight attendant for 13 years, I saw it all.  I have a few suggestions to help lighten the load and the pressure of being the perfect traveling parent.

Book flights around your baby’s regular sleep time
Flights around sleep patterns may not be available or may wreck your budget, yet I strongly suggest you it check out. Planning to travel when babies are usually sleeping is worth a try to help them rest and make the flight easier on you too.  It’s well worth a try.

Here's what you want - child sitting in a car safety seat with seatbelt with her own seat.
Here’s what you want – you sweet child sitting in a car safety seat with the seatbelt fastened.       Photo credit:      Andrey Kekyalyaynen

Reserve a seat for the baby
The extra seat allows you to use the vehicle safety seat buckled onto the airplane passenger seat. When booking your flight, choose a bulkhead seat which is ideal because of the extra room, no one is in front of you reclining their seat and if you have enough clean blankets, a sheet, and pillows, you can also make a little bed in front of your feet for the baby to sleep.  When booking your flight, ask the airlines if they have a bassinet onboard for you to use. If they do, bring along spray Lysol to sanitize the bassinet to ensure it is clean. If in doubt, skip this option and rest the baby on the extra seat.  That’s why you got it.

If you are planning to use your child’s car safety seat, make sure you know how to buckle it securely. In the case of an emergency, your baby will depend on the seat and seatbelt to hold them securely.
Pack all the essentials in the diaper bag
This is a hard one, but worth a try as well.  Attempt packing everything you need in an organized and condensed manner.  You don’t want to leave any necessities behind, but you do want to bring only what you’ll need and use.  Remember you can purchase any extras once you arrive at your destination.  And, if you’re visiting family they may be planning for your comfort while staying with them and have purchased items to make your journey a little less cumbersome.

Pack any essential extras or just in case in a small bag. Keep it simple and light.

Bring an extra change of clothes for baby and you
Things can get messy and smelly, spills and spit-ups happen. It’s all part of the experience. But, you’ll want to look your best and have the baby picture-perfect for everyone to oooh and awe over when you arrive. Keep it simple, but plan for a change that is easy and does not require extra preparation and additional weight to your luggage.

TSA & liquids – arrive early to go over the baby’s food
As security requirements continue to change, it is a good idea to have a link to the TSA website. There is a ton of great information to help you plan and prepare for your trip, and assist in your being ready to inform the agents when you arrive. This step is imperative and crucial.  While agents will hate to take away baby food, they are required to follow very strict rules. Keep this link in mind and use it before you are packing things in the car to head to the airport. Plan ahead!  www.tsa.gov

Have the pacifier or sippy cup snack to suck during landings to ease discomfort
Oh, my!  This can be the time of torture and pain, and not only for the baby but anyone on the airplane. Landing causes a change in pressure on the plane. This change can be felt in the inner ear causing a sharp pain as the airplane descends for landing.  Adults know what is happening and can chew gum, swallow or suck a candy/mint, but babies are sleeping or enjoying their play time with no understanding of the mechanics of flying. Plan a quick feeding time to help alleviate the pain or hopefully prevent it all together. Sucking a pacifier helps too.

Bring toys for playtime
Playtime is a fun time for everyone.  A happy baby is a good thing on an enclosed airplane.  And, people love the sound of a baby’s laugh, converse the angry looks from nearby passengers when children are crying.  Bring their favorite toy or a new toy to increase their curiosity.

Board the airplane early to get settled while there are few people onboard.
Board the airplane early to get settled while there are few people onboard. Particularly useful with several children in the family.  Photo credit:  Tunedin 123

Be ready to board first. You’ll need and appreciate the extra time and the limited number of people. Another tip is to split up if you are traveling with someone else. Early boarding can be a good thing but can also create a small challenge too.  Boarding early is designed to allow parents time to stow bags and get settled in with the baby without a long line of passengers bumping you with bags as they board.  However, if you finally have the baby asleep or settled and now it’s time for early boarding, you may want to send your travel buddy onboard to get everything in the overhead bins and organized while you stay in the boarding area with the calm baby.  After most people have gone onboard, you can take your turn with a quiet baby, go directly to your seat and start the flight with less hassle.

Tag all bags, strollers and car seats. You can check them at the gate.
Sort out if you will need the bag during flight, if not check it at the gate.  Make sure you have everything tagged with your name and telephone number.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_radist'>radist / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
A mother with her baby is sleeping on the flight. Remember to bring a blanket for more comfort. Photo credit – Radist

Keep a blanket available for chilly flights
Comfort is number one for your baby. Make sure you grab blankets from your bag or the overhead (if available on your flight) to ensure the baby isn’t cold during flight and to keep you warm too.


Listen to the Travel With Baby segment from the Bill and Joel Morning show.

      1. Annita Thomas of Travel Bags-Traveling with a baby

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