Book your travel. If it’s a longer flight, don’t go non-stop. A nice 1-2 hour layover can be great for you and baby to get out and stretch your legs. Then purchase tickets for you and your baby. The safest place for a baby on the plane is in the car seat, according to the FAA and the AAP. We highly recommend purchasing a seat for your baby and using a car seat on the plane. Call your airline ahead of time and ask them about their policies regarding air travel and children. The baby carrier is great for navigating through the airport, once you’ve dropped your luggage at curbside check in. Be sure to bring cash to tip the folks who check your bags curbside check. Bring a couple $10 bills. I usually tip $5 per bag. Practice using your baby carrier before you travel with it. If you are breastfeeding, practice nursing in the carrier too. If you and baby are both comfortable with the carrier, it will make the day much smoother.
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
If you are anxious or stressed, baby will feel it. Make sure you have eaten and bring snacks and water for yourself. I love bringing a protein bar, or a packet of peanut butter and just sprinkling some Hemp Hearts on it for an extra protein boost. (Follow Manitoba Harvest for lots of healthy yummy recipes!) . Take your time. If you find yourself getting anxious, stop and take three deep breaths. Really breathe into your back, this literally tells your body that “everything is ok.” Take it slow, slow travel. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and stay relaxed. Say to yourself silently “I’ve got this.” The key to low-stress parenting (or travel with babies!) is to lower your expectations and go with the flow. Here are more tips to avoid stress during the holidays.
At the Airport
Use curbside check to check your bags. On the plane, bring a Convertible Diaper Bag in backpack mode and wear the baby on the front to go through the airport. It depends on the airport and the TSA agent, but in my experience I’ve been able to go through security with the baby carrier, but the TSA agents have swiped my hands. Once I’m through security, I only have my backpack, my baby in the front baby carrier and the car seat. If I don’t want to carry the car seat, sometimes I’ll use a stroller to push it through the airport, then check the stroller at the gate, and bring the car seat on the plane during family boarding. Once I’ve boarded, I ask the flight attendants to help me secure the car seat. If you do not have your car seat, be aware that it is against FAA regulations for baby to be in the baby carrier during take off and landing.
Ask for Help
Introduce yourself to your seat neighbors, that always makes things more friendly. Say hi to the attendant and ask them to help you put your car seat in or hold the baby if you need to use the bathroom if you are traveling by yourself. Most folks love to help.
See more travel tips from mamas who have been there before (and logged lots of air miles!) here, here and here. If you have an older baby, check out these toddler travel tips. Safe travels. You got this, mama!
The giveaway is on the original Facebook post here and ends on November 9 at noon PST.