Have you ever seen the movie Bridesmaids? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s hysterical & will probably give you a little break from all the panicking you have been doing about your upcoming trip with a newborn. Anyways, back to Bridesmaids – the food poisoning scene to be specific. Poop. Everywhere. Because if there is ever a time when your baby has an absolute blow out, it’s probably going to be when you start taxiing to take off on your 3 hour flight – which means you are stuck in your seat with a lap full of poop for 30 minutes. My point is not to scare you, but I need to real with you – shit happens, and that’s okay. I’m no rookie at traveling with an infant. My family lives over 800 miles away, so I actually travel quite often & most of the time its just me, myself & my baby. I want to share with you some tips I’ve learned the hard way, so that you can enjoy your first flight with your baby with minimal tears.
Booking your Flight- This is something you CAN control, so take advantage of it. When booking your fight, keep your baby’s schedule in mind. For instance, your baby naps at 11am and that’s about the time you will be getting to the airport/checking your bag/going through security – you are setting yourself up for disaster. Try to plan naptime either on the drive to airport, or on the plane. Obviously you are not going to be able to plan your whole trip based on your babies schedule, but do it as much you can.
Also, make sure you are giving yourself enough time between flights. If you have a connecting flight, make sure your layover is at least 30-40 minutes. That may seem like ample amount of time, but I assure you…it is not. It may take you a while to even get off the plane & if you have a stroller, you are going to have to wait at the gate until they have unloaded it. And again with the blowouts, perfect time for your babe to have one – plan for it. But even if a blowout doesn’t occur, give yourself some time to use the restroom, change your baby’s diaper, get a snack, be able to walk to your next gate instead of running across the airport in sheer panic. Yes, you can do all of those things on the plane, but let me put it this way…the movie Elf with Will Ferrell, the part where he is using the elf’s bathroom but cant fit in it – that’s why you give yourself a little extra time.
Packing- It’s like what? 25 dollars to check a bag? 100% worth it. The less you have to carry through the airport with a baby, the better. Try to JUST bring a diaper bag on your flight, well and the baby.
Side note – you can check a car seat, stroller, pack n’ play and other baby items for FREE on most airlines. Double check on your airlines website and see what they offer.
Pack the diaper bag accordingly. Pack an extra shirt for you…whether you are sweating profusely from postpartum hormones, or the baby puked all over you, or your boobs leaking again – whatever your cup of tea, pack an extra shirt. Also, pack an extra outfit for the baby…okay, you got that? Now pack another one. One day is not limited to one blowout – ya never know what’s gonna happen.
Baby Carrier vs Stroller- This all has to do with your preference and your baby’s preference. Some babies hate baby carriers, and others may hate the stroller. But I will say this, if your baby likes the carrier… USE IT. My kid would get in that thing and pass out the whole time I was walking through the airport. BUT, I also like to take the stroller with me even If I don’t have to. Honestly, I use it like a shopping cart. Carrying a baby, diaper bag, and my Starbucks gets exhausting (if you are traveling with somebody else, I would either check the stroller with your luggage or not bring one at all if you didn’t have to).
Feeding your Baby- If you are breastfeeding – perfect, that’s it…those udders go with you everywhere.
If you are using formula- pack a small empty thermos. (remember you cannot bring liquids over 3oz through security) Once you get through security hit up the nearest Starbucks, treat yourself & get a warm water to put in your thermos for the a baby’s bottle. You should also pre-measure your formula for making bottles easier.
If your baby is eating baby food – look into getting baby food pouches, if your baby isn’t quite ready for them, no biggie! Just make sure you’ve got your baby food of choice and a spoon.
If your baby is old enough for table food – pack LOTS of snacks. My favorite to pack is apple sauce pouches.
Boarding Time! – Okay, it’s finally time to board. It doesn’t matter what zone your ticket says, you are able to board with your infant/child with the rest of the people who need special assistance. (don’t be that jerk who cuts the little old lady off in the wheelchair. Just because you can board right away, still have a conscience and respectfully board after the people who actually need assistance board) This is just to give you some time to get yourself settled and get your baby settled. I used this time to place my stuff in my seat and then I rocked my baby to sleep in the back of the plane until it was time to start moving. Whether you are nursing your formula feeding, I suggest feeding your baby when you are ascending – it helps pop their ears (also if your baby take a pacifier, that works well too!)
Some People are Just Assholes – Not all people are, but yes…some people are just uncontrollably rude – but that’s okay, it’s not your problem. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how understanding people were on my first flight with my newborn…to the man on flight a319 who didn’t say a damn thing when the only comfortable nursing position happened to be my kids head & my boob resting on his arm – you are the real MVP. It’s a little intimidating sitting on a fight amongst 50+ business men…but honestly, most of them probably have kids of their own and have sympathy for you. Or, you may find yourself amongst somebody who doesn’t understand and is getting frustrated with your crying baby…but again, THATS OKAY, IT’S NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You do what you need to do…you need to whip your tit out in the middle of the aisle? you do it. You need to order yourself a vodka to get through the rest of flight? You do that, and offer one to the gentleman next to you who let you rest your boob on his arm – it’s the polite thing to do.
My hope for you is that at least one of my tips will help you with your first flight with your newborn. And even if it does help but something else went to shit, well…cheers to that, because sometimes that’s all you can do. Welcome to life with kids, it’s a beautiful & sometimes poopy thing.