6 Secrets To Stress-Free Travel With Baby
We’ve all experienced it — the screaming baby or uncontrollable toddler on a flight. Perhaps you’ve even considered vowing not to travel until you’ve deemed your child “old enough.” But, there is no need to put aside your love for travel after having a baby. Infants can travel relatively easily, allowing you to enjoy a new destination or visit distant family or friends. A little preparation prior to your trip can help things go smoothly — and if it doesn’t, please remember that others have certainly been in your shoes.
1. Prevent ear pain
Pressure from changing altitudes at take-off and landing can really cause pain for little ears. To prevent any potential ear pain, encourage your little one to swallow, thus releasing any pressure. Pacifiers, bottles, or nursing are all great ways to relax your baby and prevent ear pain — certainly a win-win!
2. Consider hands-free carrying
I flew quite a bit with my son while he was under one. While he was light enough, it was really helpful to use a baby carrier or wrap so I could have my hands free to hold passports, tickets, and other travel necessities. Some babies also sleep really well being snuggled up so close to mom while in a carrier, and a sleeping baby makes travel even easier.
3. Check the luggage policy
Many airlines generously allow people traveling with babies and toddlers to check extra baggage and “baby equipment” for free! Baby equipment, for example, generally includes a stroller, travel crib, and/or a car seat. Typically, most airlines allow for two baby equipment items to be checked for free, but do check the airline’s policy since they all differ slightly.
Additionally, strollers can typically be gate checked, so if you or your child prefer to use a stroller through the airport, you can simply check it when boarding your flight and pick it up by the plane usually) after the flight. Simple!
While checking the luggage policy, don’t forget to look up the airport’s policy on the extra liquid allowance for bottled breastmilk, prepared bottles of formula, and baby food. Babies are allowed extra liquid allowances for liquid foods, but some airports are less prepared to suit your child’s needs than others. If your child is starting to eat pureed foods, consider packing a spoon, small bowl, and banana that you can mash when needed to prevent going over the liquid amount allowed by airports.
4. Bring entertainment
Let’s face it — flying can be boring for everyone, including babies. Come prepared with favorite toys, books, and a tablet or cell phone fully loaded with an entertaining kid’s show.
5. Pack extras in your carry-on
There is absolutely nothing worse than a poop-apocalypse without being prepared. Plan ahead for any stinky situations with more wipes, diapers, spare clothes — don’t forget extras for you too — and other necessities. Trust me, it is better to have extras than to be caught without.
Similarly, if you bottle feed with formula or your baby is starting to eat solids, it is best to bring extras because airports are shockingly ill-equipped when it comes to feeding babies. The vast majority don’t sell baby food, so come prepared with extras and non-liquid items that can be used to feed your baby, this is especially necessary in case of a delayed flight.
6. Take a deep breath and relax
Perhaps the most important tip I can share is to relax. Babies can sense if their parents are nervous or stressed, so if you emit a relaxed vibe, your baby can follow suit. And if your baby is the screamer on the plane, don’t worry! Many others have been in the same position — take comfort in knowing that many are rooting for you!