Many parents think flying is over with a small baby. I thought the same until I had to make a transatlantic flight with a stopover with my five-month-old daughter. By the time Anna turned two years old, she had made a total of 14 flights. While flying with a baby is more complicated than flying alone, it is still more manageable than we use to think. Our tips on flying with a baby will help you to make it less stressful.
Flying with a baby is usually easier than with a toddler.
Airplane bassinet seats are extremely convenient. They serve as a small bed for babies that is fixed to the airplane bulkhead wall. Bassinets are available on the majority of long-haul flights and may accommodate kids up to two years old, depending on the size of the bassinet and the height of the baby. Airplane’s noise served as white noise for Anna, and she slept in her bassinet for six hours out of the nine-hour transatlantic flight.
Nursing will reduce your and baby’s stress.
Nursing baby Anna during flights made everything much easier and convenient. I did not have to think about clean water to make formula or warming up her solid food. If you do not feel comfortable with public nursing, take the window seat and use a simple scarf to cover yourself and the baby.
Safety considerations ARE important.
Children under two years of age are considered lap children, and you will not need an additional ticket for them. However, they will need to sit on your lap during the entire flight. The onboard staff is obliged to give you a special belt for the baby that you will attach to yours. If you are more concerned about the safety of your baby, you can explore options to ensure that your child has own seat. Some parents prefer purchasing a ticket to get a separate sit for their babies where they can put a car seat. Otherwise, you can look for a flight that is likely to have empty seats.
Protect your baby’s ears.
During takeoff and landing, the pressure changes in the air space behind the middle ear may cause a weird ear-popping sensation. Though it is a normal part of flying, babies may feel scared of that feeling. Sucking helps to relieve the sensation, so nursing or giving a pacifier or a bottle during takeoff and landing is important.
Look for child-friendly airlines and airports.
One of the best tips is to do a small research of child-friendly airlines and airports before booking a flight. The best ones offer nursing rooms, children’s play areas, child’s meal options, puzzles and coloring books for toddlers, and changing tables in the bathrooms and infant kits filled with diapers, bibs, and wipes for the little ones.
Take a well-stocked diaper bag.
Become sure that you are taking enough wipes, diapers, formula or pumped breastmilk, and solid food to get you through the flight that may have the hours-long delay. Usually, you can take more than 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of breast milk onto the plane, if you declare it at the security checkpoint. Scented diaper trash bags and a pacifier clip may be helpful too. Do not forget to take an additional t-shirt or pants for yourself to be able to change your milk-stained cloths during the flight.
Be considerate of other passengers.
Of course, you can’t please everyone on the plane, especially, if your baby does not feel very comfortable during the flight. But you can take some steps to reduce the stress of your baby and the discomfort to other passengers. First of all, make sure your baby does not stay hungry or sleep-deprived. Remember to protect his ears during landing and takeoff to avoid ear pain. You can avoid changing diapers in the plain on short flights by changing them before and immediately after the flight in the airport’s baby’s rooms. Believe me, it is much more convenient to do it there than on the changing table of the airplane’s lavatory. Changing poopy diapers on tray tables will look totally disrespectful toward other passengers.
Children, especially the small ones, can be absolutely unpredictable during flights. Some may fall asleep during the entire flight, others may stay awake and cry.
However, your kid has as much right to be on the plane as you or other passengers do. Focusing on what your baby needs is always more important than what other passengers feel.
What is your experience of flying with small babies? What helped you to make the flight more convenient for you and the baby? Share your experience with us.