Taking your baby on her first flight can be a stressful experience. It may seem like there are many hurdles to get through before you even board the plane. Then there’s the fear that your poor child will scream through the whole flight resulting in judging glares from fellow passengers.
Don’t worry. Many of these things can be avoided if you’re well prepared. Our list of top tips for flying with your baby covers everything from leaving your home to landing in your destination.
1. Have the Correct Documents
Some airlines may require you to present a birth certificate copy in order to ensure that your child is under two years old. If you’re traveling internationally without the baby’s other parent (if applicable), make sure you have them write and sign a note stating that they know where you’re taking the child and for how long. You may also need a paper boarding pass for your child.
2. Check Your Airline’s Baggage Policy
Similarly, every airline will have different baggage policies for strollers and car seats. Contact them ahead of time or do a quick search online to see what you’re entitled to bring aboard and what you need to check. This will save you a lot of stress and potentially money.
3. Leave Your House Early
Now that you’re packed and ready to go, it’s time to get out the door. Try to arrive at the airport half an hour earlier than you normally would. Remember that you’re traveling under special circumstances and with different luggage from most travelers, which can lead to holdups.
Related: Why We Travel With Our Toddler
4. Wear Your Baby at the Airport
Keep in mind that while you’re at the airport, you’ll be taking your ticket and ID out for multiple checks and have to rummage through your carry-on luggage and possibly remove your shoes at security. That can be pretty overwhelming when you’ve got a baby in your arms. Make your life (and your child’s life) easier by wearing them in your favorite baby carrier or ring sling.
5. Board the Plane Last
While airlines like to give people with small children a head start for boarding, The Bump says that this might be a mistake. If you anticipate that your baby will be fussy on the plane, do your best to spend as little time in the aircraft as possible. If you’re traveling with a partner, have them board early with all the baby gear, while you keep your kid engaged by the gate.
6. Feed Baby During Takeoff and Landing
Changes in cabin pressure during ascent and descent can be unpleasant for grown-ups, but we have the option to chew gum or consciously swallow to avoid discomfort for our ears. The best way to prevent your baby from having a tough time with cabin pressure is to feed them during both takeoff and landing. Not only does this help their ears pop, it’s also a good distraction from loud noises and turbulence.
7. Keep Baby Entertained
Make sure you bring lots of (quiet) entertainment options for your little one like books, dolls, and toys. Even if your baby hasn’t started shrieking, take him for a stroll up and down the aisle. The movement and opportunity to observe other people will likely be much preferred to being stationary with nothing to look at.
We hope these steps help lower your stress level on your next big adventure. Happy travels!
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